Deck the halls...

Ok, lame christmas reference but it just seems so fitting...

What's 19 feet of decking between friends?

This week has been fraught with hacking and wheezing. Lily contracted pneumonia last Monday night so between her meds and my wheezing bronchitis, we've managed to dominate the pharmacy and get our own wing named after us. We're so proud.


The Iron Butt

Well Bryan's been put back together with gluesticks and is now the proud owner of a shiny new butt. Instead of a full hip replacement, he had a "resurfacing" done, the top of the femur is ground down (ew) and a metal cap is popped on top; a metal shell is then placed in the hip socket so they slide around easily and not ground the bone on bone like before. He's already itching to come home (after surgery two days ago) and will return from South Carolina tomorrow. He says there's only post-surgery soreness and the hip feels great, so cross your fingers he doesn't get thrown to the ground for setting off metal detectors tomorrow!


do do do do doooooooooo

Anyone else hearing the theme music to Alien? The girls went with me yesterday to Wormie's latest appointment and waved at the wee blob on the screen who kicked its legs and twirled for its sisters.

Meanwhile, school starts on Monday! We took the girls on a surprise 3-day trip to Kings Dominion and Monticello earlier this week, the looooooooongest ice cream run ever. ;) They had a great time and we wrapped up the summer nicely before Bryan heads for his latest hip surgery on September 7th.


WHY can't I craft?

I swear it's the bane of my existence. I'm surrounded by very crafty people, you'd think it would have rubbed off on me at least a wee bit. I am mess at Modge Podge, will invariably paint myself some odd color before leaving the house and have a craft closet stuffed to the gills with failed attempts at whatever the craft of the minute was. I think that's why I started graphics, at least then I could blame the computer. ;)

I'm going to crackling soon, talk me out of it now. All of a sudden I feel the need to having peeling paint all over the house. It's not particularly attractive but I feel that if I master the art of the subtle peel, I'll be accepted into the crafting fold and will be able to nod knowingly at the lowly masses that cannot mix glue and paint together and come up with this crap. I haven't decided exactly what to subject this torture too, the kids are too fast after that whole "curtain" incident and I don't have the money to ruin furniture at will. Hmmmmm, Bryan has some silly things he never uses in the basement.... muahahahahaahha

Stay tuned.


Mmmmm -- candles!


My best friend Lisa has opened up her very own shop! Featuring candles from our friend Noelle at Bramble Berry Hill, I can't get enough of their Graham Cracker tarts and candles! Lisa is also a talented crafter of primitive dolls, be sure to visit her during the Primitive Artisans Faire
( http://www.primitiveartisansfaire.com/ ) starting August 29th.



Need I say more??

(click on photo for a close-up of my cutie)

Fairy girls

My friend Rebecca from the Polka Dot Dragon made these wonderful fairy accouterments for Princess Lily and her ladies in waiting. Thanks sweetie!!


Da roof -- da roof -- da roof is finally finished...

With only a faint echo of Bryan's Goofy yell as he fell from the tippy-top of the roof still bouncing around the mountain, he finished the roof last weekend!


Ghost stories --- oooooooh

As some of you know, I've been ghosthunting for nearly 20 years. It started with a research paper in college and evolved into a mini-obsession to see if I could wrap my mind around things I have no control over. I focus on the science of the phenomenon instead of slapping a jewel to my forehead and channeling Elvis (though that would ROCK) but I'm open to all new experiences. I started writing for The Shadowlands (http://theshadowlands.net) years ago but gave it up recently to focus on other things. Below is one of my past articles from their newsletter:

Beyond the Pale
Copyright 2005 Stacey Graham

Ghost hunters are a funny breed. What makes us sit alone in a closet for an hour hoping for something to pop out? What are we waiting for? Floating heads?

You’d be surprised to learn that most of us didn’t feast on Friday the 13th movies while growing up, that many had experiences in childhood that they just couldn’t explain and it’s followed them into the twilight of adulthood. Many of you are familiar with Dave Juliano’s experience growing up in a haunted house, here’s an experience that started me on the path to sitting in that closet.

One of my early experiences with the paranormal came from visiting a ghost town in the northwestern USA while on vacation. Now, you’d expect a ghost town to come with the prerequisite residual hauntings or at least a spooky outhouse. This town of Garnet, Montana had its share of rundown buildings as it nestled in a wee valley in the mountains. A gold mining town, it once held the riches of the mountain in its palm and miners flocked to pluck it from between the fingers of the hillside. It grew fat and rich for a time but when the gold ran out, so did the miners. Leaving behind a hotel, a general store, small houses and large pockets dug into the nearby hills (plus the aforementioned spooky outhouses).

My family wandered through what was left of the town, along with other curious tourists, trying to get a sense of what it was like in its heyday. Imagining dirty, desperate men coming from inside a mountain wasn’t difficult, what remained of their cabins told the story better than any signage the BLM had provided. Ruined furniture, rusted pans left scattered about filthy cabins and the feeling of failure permeated the broken walls of the houses, why wouldn’t there be a haunting? It seemed as if that was all there ever was here.

I entered the hotel slowly. Once there was grandeur of sorts, now it looked like a woman ruined by too many men and not enough self-respect. Plaster flaked from the walls and heavy tables stood in the middle of the first floor dining room, looking strangely proud of weathering time and being able to show off their wounds left by drunken gunshots and the flying glass of old arguments. I followed my family upstairs to see the rooms. They were partitioned off by Plexiglas so you could peer inside but not enter. In some of the rooms, the windows were left bare, sunshine squeaked in through the dirty glass and fell onto beds salvaged from the hotel and covered with old quilts. In others, the windows were covered, dusty light shone through the boards that swallowed the glass. These rooms held what seemed to be 100-year-old garbage. It covered the floors and rose up the walls, it smelled like decay and made you want to turn away. I, naturally, couldn’t.

As I got closer, my heart started to beat louder in my ears and my nose started to twitch. I felt lightheaded and wanted to run. I poked my head into the room and at once felt something rushing towards me. I am not particularly psychic, just enough to know when to get the heck out of a place! If I could describe it, I’d say it was pain, screaming and confusion coming at me all at once. I backed away quickly and my investigational gene kicked in. I checked out the other rooms to see if I experienced any similar occurrences and casually asked my husband if he had seen anything out of the ordinary. This man is as intuitive as a brick. “Nothing that a dustbuster couldn’t help…” he replied. 

I knew what I had felt was unusual; I tested it again before we left the building. Again, my heart raced and my nose tingled but this time there was no attack of emotion towards me. I could feel that it sat huddled in the corner, amidst the rubbish and filth, and watched as I moved out of sight and down the stairs, escaping into the light.

To see more of my articles, please visit my ghost site:
Wee Ghosties :: A Beginner's Guide to Ghost Hunting

To visit a friend of mine who talks to dead people, pop over to http://barbmallon.com :)


This is ground control to Major Syenna...

Ohhh, this is too much fun...



I am having the best time with my newest psp obsession! I'm plucking my kids out of photographs and turning them into fantasy photos, a lot of free time on my hands, eh?

Today we went back to the zoo and saw fuzzy panda butt. Lily wasn't too impressed and was more enamored of her popsicle. At least this time Bryan didn't try to dunk a kid; the last time we all went together, Lily dropped her juice cup into the turtle pond. When no one came to help us get it out, Bryan dangled poor Wynter by the heel over the water so she could grab it. Unfortunately his hand slipped and... well, you get the picture... turtle poo.

This is a picture of Lily's best friend, Myk.


More crumbs :)

Well, my husband has done it again... I'm pregnant with number five!

I'm still recovering from the shock, you'd think I'd gotten this all down pat by now. We're due March 11-12ish, 2006. I'll get more excited after the first trimester. All I want right now is a cheeseburger and a nap :)

This is going to mean a few changes in business, however. I'm keeping the balms going (I think the villagers will revolt if I pull my Black Walnut Balm out from under them) and the ghost site but I will probably be phasing out graphics and cello bags eventually. So gettum while you still can!



I have very flexible children. I have no idea where it comes from, I can only guess they get it from their father whom, when falling from a roof 26ft above the ground, basically bounced.

Here are photos from their gymnastic debut in June--

That's Wynter in the pink and Syenna in her disco black--


Summer daze

WHAT possesses people to think summer break is a good idea? Mothers fool themselves into thinking they'll be able to sleep in 15 mintues longer when in reality we're just faced with more children sticking cocoa puffs up their noses (like one wasn't enough).

We're now in our second week o'summer love and I'm ready to throttle them. The toddler is so excited that the older three are home that she's skipping naps to be with them. Then around 9pm her head flips around and she spits pea soup at me screaming she's evil. By then, I have to agree. This morning - they've decided to have a dance party; they're dressed in every piece of floaty ballerina gear they could dig up from the toyboxes and are rockin' out to kid music on satellite. It's all fun until the flying dropkick by the 6yr old into the 10yr old, you'd think they watch wrestling with all these slick moves. I'm running out of frozen peas to slap on swelling bruises and we're still looking for Syenna's eyeball under the couch.

Lily just learned to say "Hannukah". That's brilliant except we're not Jewish and I don't see it coming up in conversation anytime soon since it's June. I'll probably be making paper dreidels by the end of the day...

My neighbor, Carol, is moving this week. She's given us a lot of things to help with filling the new house, I now have this house decorated in "early Carol" but am running out of space quickly. If I didn't think that raccoons would nest in the bookcases, I'd send some up there with Bryan! Speaking of Bryan and the house, his one-year accident anniversary was yesterday! Syenna kept walking around the house saying, "I hope he doesn't do reenactments..". And what was he doing? Finishing the roof (sans harness - he's a rebel) and being stung by hornets. Can you feel the enthusiasm to finish?? ;)

Till next time-
Fool on the Hill


Fool on the Hill update

As many of you may know from an earlier post, we're building a huge house atop a *mountain* (side snort from anyone coming from Oregon) in Virginia. I'll soon be making an extra blog for that whole hoo-haa but until then here are some photos :) We're about 55% finished and now are just doing the interior stuff (and waiting for siding). Whoops! We also have all the doors and garage doors on now too!

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Beatrix and me

My life has now turned into a Beatrix Potter book. Spring has sprung in my yard and I'm floating in wildlife! The girls are crazy for the pansy-gorging groundhog that took up residence under our front steps:

And the proliferation of bunnies in the backyard:

When we first found them about a week ago:
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The mama giving them a last nibble before sending them out into the world yesterday:
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The wee baby before she hopped off with her siblings:
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And my even more local wildlife (at the zoo while Rowyn and I were rafting):
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Bob the Elusive Mountain Cow

My life is rarely simple. Having a copius amount of daughters leads me to frantically schedule girl scout meetings amongst gymnastics and playdates. I have a bounty of boys in my front tree all calling for them to come out and play, I know these same kids will be the ones trying to take them to prom so Bryan's getting his game face on early and practices his gun-cleaning skills.

This weekend, I took Rowyn on a girl scout rafting adventure in Pennsylvania.

Being true Oregonians, we marveled at the beauty of the river and the carpet of trees in varigated greens. Then reverted to our wimpy state as soon as the rain started at 2am and I slept in a puddle. Who designs these tents? Edward Scissorhands? It reminded me of a time in college where I was in a class that met only one time at Crater Lake Park in Oregon. I broke my toe the night before so missed the informational meeting and decided to drive up anyway the next day. Never having pitched a tent before and more than hoping to find someone to pity me with firewood (never did), I found myself alone and cold but happily eating marshmellows that night and telling myself ghost stories at the campground. The next morning, I awoke to idyllic sunshine and stuck to my pillow. I had inadvertantly rolled onto the marshmellow packet and the baggie was stuck to my head. Imagine a woman with a swollen foot, frozen butt and marshmellows sticking off her head emerging from a wonky tent. I was magnificent!

The remainder of the day was spent searching for wildflowers (the original intent of the class) and talus formations (rocks I assume, I never really did find them...). As I traveled the crater, I noticed I was being followed, by cows. Immediately I'm thinking they want my marshmellow- encrusted hair, then I wonder what the heck cows are doing in a national park. I have yet to figure out the true reason for the bovine fascination but those dang things were everywhere! True to my pioneer spirit, I had a fabulous time the rest of the day and now think of this as one of my best camping trips ever. :)

Go ahead... call me Fool on the Hill for this blog entry...

Latah Vadah~



Well this is awkward.

I hate filling out the "meet your blogger" bios, it reminds me too much of the "what you did for summer vacation" essays. How often can I write, "I ate a bug."?

I have four daughters, four because I did not want five. My husband is currently building a house on a nearby mountain, I'll just refer to him as the Fool on the Hill from here on out; it's now going into it's 2.5 year of construction with no end in sight. Granted, we had a wee setback when he flew off the roof last summer and broke his butt so I'll give him a little healing time :)

At the moment, I'm a graphic artist (meaning I can draw a stick figure), writer when I feel like it and make fabulous salve to heal itchy skin. What can I say... it's a gift. I'll be posting here when new things pop up and whenever I feel the urge to post a ghost story.

Come on over and say howdy! What kind of salves would you like to see? Know a good ghost story? I'm compiling stories of objects that have ghosts attached so if you see grandma's mirror with an odd face in it, give me a hollah!