Thursday, May 29, 2008

picts are up

here is a sampling. more can be found here.

la casa grande retreat, utuado, pr
our room overlooking the pool and the mountains

el yunque forest, pr
el yunque rain forest

el yunque forest, pr
one of several towers we climbed in el yunque

arecibo observatory, pr
arecibo observatory (the world's largest radio telescope)

old san juan, pr
old fortress walls around old san juan

old san juan, pr
awesome band along the street/waterfront in old san juan

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

it's almost showtime

cutie bumblesnatch

good luck in cali, guys!

we are back

i've not posted anything about our trip yet but i wanted to let you know that we're back. i know you were worried we'd never return from our vacation!

as you can see, our "mountain retreat" was so relaxing we really didn't want to leave. i'd highly recommend it if anyone is looking to get away, la casa grande mountain retreat in utuado, puerto rico.

so we're back and in the swing of things again. i'm in the mists of uploading the pictures now but probably won't have them organized or anything tonight. so i'll post a link when they're all set.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

vacation daze

for the past 2 days i've been technically "on vacation," meaning i've not been going into work. so far it's not really felt like a vacation, honestly. but it's still been good.

i spent the day yesterday cleaning the house* and doing some cooking. one of the families that we stayed with 2 years ago during our trip to tanzania have been in town and we had them over for dinner. it was really nice to see them again and i was happy to reciprocate their favor and open our home to them, even if only for one evening.

mrs. and mr. mashiku

i spent vacation day 2 by starting to paint our back room. that's actually not quite accurate. we started painting the back room when we spackled it 8 months ago before we moved into this house. but until this point, that's as far as we've gotten. so i took today to try to tackle another big chunk. i'd say i got about 2/3 of the way finished. hopefully it won't sit another 8 months before we finish!

our real "vacation" vacation starts tomorrow! i'm looking forward to being away from home renovations, cats waking us up at all hours of the night, and all the rest of the hum-drum everyday stuff. hopefully this'll be the ticket to getting us relaxed and well-rested!

(*talk about a fruitless effort. many of you may know that we live very close to a factory which churns out a lot of dust. i spent 1/2 the day yesterday sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, and mopping the house, plus washing sheets, blankets and our bedspread. when it came time for bed i padded in my bare feet into the bedroom, walked by the window and felt a whole lot of grit under my feet! urgh! frustration!)

Monday, May 19, 2008

happy birthday x

today is the birthday of malcom x. he would've been 83 had he lived. if you have not done so, might i suggest you read the autobiography of malcom x as told to alex haley? i actually recommended it as a good read just barely over 2 years ago.

spring is in the air

(even if it feels like summer)

saturday i was trying to make another dent in the vine situation along our fence. i was pleased to find blackberries growing in a few small patches. it's my hope that once i clear out all the other crappy vines, maybe the blackberries will come in full-force. ymmm!

however, i have been temporarily way-laid due to this little discovery.

cardinal eggs

this was situated right inside a big mess of kudzu and grape vines. luckily i realized it before it was too late and walked away without harming the nest. i was worried i got a little too close and scared away momma for good. but she spent the better part of the afternoon and sunday sitting on her precious eggs, despite our comings and goings while doing remaining yard work.

the bad news is that i can't take those vines out right now. the good news is i don't have to worry about taking those vines out right now! so i've pretty much wrapped up that project (for now). woohoo!

drunken slugs

whoever invented putting beer out for slugs really had it spot-on. i knew something was eating some of our plants but had previously suspected beetles. but when we were digging around yesterday i found a few slugs in the tomatoes. so i thought, "oh, beer! that's what i've always heard works for slugs." chris suspected it was a ploy to purchase myself some beer. but no, i convinced him. "i hear this really works." of course there was the added bonus of me being able to finish off the remaining 5 in the 6-pack, but that doesn't take away the fact that it works! check it out!

dead slugs!
that's alotta slugs!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

team reid

i spent another weekend outside working on our yard and garden. this time i was joined by my husband, who is now finished with school (for the summer) and has a bit more time to lend a hand on household projects. we did some really fun stuff and i took some pictures. but i'm too tired right now to post anything detailed about that. i just want to sit and veg out to my show.

oh, and one day until vacation. and 4 days until vacation trip. woohoo!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

happy mother's day moms

mom goofing around at ice cream parlor


(and all other moms too!:)

Friday, May 09, 2008


i just went out to water the plants and saw a few little bursts of zucchini life sticking out of the ground where i planted seeds last week. there's something about growing a plant from seed that feels so fulfilling. transplanting is okay; but from seed is real growing.

Monday, May 05, 2008

the great outdoors

i spent most of the weekend outdoors, which was great.

saturday i finally followed through on my promise to take a small group of my somali kids to pick strawberries. we had a great time, despite the fact that a lot of the strawberries were a little too far gone for my tastes. and a few of the kiddos fell in the mud. oh well, at least they didn't fall onto the plants, which i kept nagging them about.

isnino picking strawberries, may 08
(this was taken before the fall into the mud!)

after the picking, as is now tradition, we went to congaree swamp for a hike. this was short-lived due to some immediate bathroom needs of one child.
ikra and mohammud at congaree, may 08

but we were able to pick up some junior ranger books, which most of them actually enjoyed filling out.

the gang at congaree, may 08

the remainder of the weekend, i spent in our yard. there was much to be done on this front, and are still not done. but we made a nice dent. not only have we not mowed the lawn since we moved in (in october!) but there are a bouquet of ivy trying hard to take over. i found honeysuckle, poison ivy, wisteria, kudzu, and grape vines, just to name a few. my husband cut the grass while i wrangled some of the ivy. (stay tuned for later posts to see if i break out from the poison ivy.) plus i planted zuccinni, cucumber, and barlotti pole beans. here's a picture of our garden now that the grass is low enough to actually see that we have a garden.

our garden, may 08

rutgers heirloom tomaties