Sunday, September 19, 2010

Insomnia, You are a cruel mistress...

If you are the type to read titles/subject lines/the fine print on contracts, you may have gathered that I can't sleep. Not only can I not sleep, I am gripped with that insane, eyes-wide open horror of insomnia. I took a little nap today in which I felt that I didn't sleep at all, but ninety minutes passed so finally I gave up and went downstairs (the fact that Scout was napping on top of me most of the time and finally collapsed his legs underneath him and put his neck across mine to say, in no uncertain terms, "I'd like to merge my soul with yours... please..." may have contributed to my lack of sleep) where upon I called a friend who said, "Oh, you will never be able to sleep tonight now." Jinxed? Freudian? Anyway, it's three a.m. and I've:

#1. Eaten an obscene amount of cheese & crackers and Greek yogurt
#2. Watched three (3) episodes of "White Collar" and then saved them on the TiVo for the husband
#3. Followed Jeremy Davidson's (the actor not the footballer) career online and even watched a short independent film he starred in
#4. Had horrendous heartburn
#5. Culled all of the blogs I've missed for the past two weeks and sent the "best of" to my best friend who, even on Pacific time, is already asleep (P.S. You're welcome...)
#6. Saved the life of a (bridge &) tunnel spider who was streaking across my living room at the witching hour
#7. Woken up the spaniels (and vizsla) no less than ten times... without guilt, because they ruined my nap
#8. Ate four dark-chocolate organic peanut butter cups from Trader Joe's that I've been hoarding for my husband when he gets home
#9. Calculated how much wallpaper it will take to paper my closet, with the options of all paper, paper and paint, my own tears because I haven't slept in so long, etc.
#10. Prayed, begged, and cajoled for sleep. Twice. Then I read the first two parts of Gulliver's Travels.

I am about to try once more, but let me tell you... I feel about as happy as Atticus in the picture that opened this post. It's hard out here for a finch... Hasta la vista...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A "Whole" new magazine...

I may have a new favorite magazine! Whole Living, a Martha Stewart publication (I have always secretly, or not so secretly, loved Martha...) may be my new mecca!

Apparently Body+Soul magazine changed to Whole Living in June 2010 but the former publication has been in print since 1974. I think I picked up a copy of Body+Soul on a plane trip once or twice but was never convinced that its content was anything more than fluff until I saw its rebirth as Whole Living... and now I have a subscription! I just received September's issue today so I thought I would share a little about the last issue before I dive into a new one...

After perusing the Whole Living website, I found their ten tenets of Whole Living and you can see why I like the magazine's content (at least the content that adheres to these tenets!)

1. Happiness is a choice. Make that choice today and every day.
2. Good health isn't a gift; it's a habit you cultivate.
3. A healthy, fit body is not enough--true fitness engages the spirit.
4. Think more about what you should eat than what you shouldn't.
5. Laugh at yourself. You're funny.
6. Nurture your spirit. It's your source of strength.
7. Stay connected to the natural world. It will feed your soul.
8. Believe in yourself. Your intuition is rarely wrong.
9. It's never too late to take the first step toward your aspirations.
10. What you pay attention to will thrive.

Here's a quick rundown of what I loved and disliked from the August 2010 issue of Whole Living:

LOVED: Cute little blurbs on low-VOC paint, gardening, healthy snack foods, etc.; barefoot running; article on cutting out sugar (though, the author eats packets of raw sugar... that's a little more excessive than most); blueberry recipes; summer canning article; healthy sustainable eating tips and recipes (even if some of the tips were a little obvious...)

NOT SO MUCH: Ads (not more than usual in a women's magazine, but still... ads...); first person editorials posing as articles (not terrible, but not amazing...); working out outdoors article (it was just your average Cosmo workout article... we know how to work out triceps on a bench/chair/couch/curb now... thanks... they look awesome...); several articles/blurbs on lack of self-esteem (maybe we could focus on self-actualization instead of hating ourselves? Or skip it all together?); a financial horoscope (Ugh...) and again... ADS! For things that have nothing to do with health or whole living! Annoying...

Overall, 3 stars out of 5 thus far... I will post an update after I read September's issue. Happy Reading!

Monday, August 30, 2010


sol·ace/ˈsälis/Verb: Give solace to.

Noun: Comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness: "she sought solace in her religion".
As seems to be the case all too often here lately at High Cotton Home, things have happened in the past few weeks that have left me a bit sad, a tad reclusive, and once again seeking solace in time spent quietly at home with family. I apologize for leaving you all behind without a real explanation or anything else for weeks... Here is my resolution, to try to begin posting regularly again, whether it's something little or something long... just begin posting again. From our home to yours... thank you and here we go again... together this time!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dog Bed, Schmaug-med...

Who needs a dog bed when you have luggage you haven't unpacked yet?  Dogs and kids, always keeping you on your toes and helping you see the world in a whole new way that you never imagined... Thank you.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sometimes Nature is just a little too... Natural...

Wellington looking a bit nervous...

It's been a long and busy week here at High Cotton Home and I was happy to see the weekend come... but it was as busy as every other day this week! Saturday was spent helping out with a transport for English Springer Spaniel Rescue Society of two adult dogs, Wellington and Jessie, and two ADORABLE puppies! The puppies have retinal dysplasia and they will be blind by the time they are a year old so they need to hurry up and get to their new homes so they can find their way around before they loose their sight completely.

Jessie, my over-the-shoulder "backseat driver!
The two tri-colored spaniels were just so stinkin' cute that I had to take one out and cuddle with him for the last twenty miles... and then cuddle with his brother... I almost hid the little brown one in the trunk and claimed, "Second pup? What second pup? I don't know what you are talking about!!" when I got to the next stop on the transport. But I was a good kid... and didn't steal a puppy! ;P
Wouldn't you be tempted to steal one too?
For some reason I had a crazy case of insomnia of Saturday night so I read a book until 4am, napped a little, and then got up when it was light out and started working on homework for school this coming week. I can't believe it's the fall semester already... CRAZY! It's still so hot out and yet it's "fall!" But it is my favorite time of year, so I can't wait for the cool autumn chill to kick into high gear, even if we are in Florida! But Sunday I woke up and Cali was really feeling sick; hiding, shaking, just looking terrible. I couldn't figure out what was going on with her, but I went outside to investigate if she had eaten something she shouldn't have.

It was stormy and ominous outside so I was trying to do a little detective work, turn the compost pile and get back in the house as soon as possible. I found some mushrooms so I was certain I had solved the mystery but then I saw this hole next to the garden and I noticed a cord dangling down into the hole. Now here's where I admit that, though I documented all of this in photos, I had the camera on the wrong setting and once I figured out what was going on I was too shaken to check the photos and they were all lost. So I see this weird, banded cord hanging down and I think, "Cali... if you ate the in-ground plumbing, I may just feed you to the gators..." but I pulled on the cord and something was just not right. "Wait, a minute... this kinda looks like..." I peaked over the edge of the garden and I had been PULLING ON THE TAIL OF A DEAD SNAKE!!

I literally almost threw up (and I'm someone who likes non-venomous snakes... really... I used to take the snakes in the Biology lab home over Christmas breaks in high school) but no one else was home and I had to do it. The snake was all intertwined with bird-proof netting and I didn't want to touch him really (when I tried to pull him loose, a scale flew off and hit me in the arm and I just couldn't take it...) so I decided to cut him out, along with a nearby stake and the watermelon tendrils that were there. After I got him out, I pulled a little C.S.I. Panhandle and determined that I thought he had probably died because he was being chased by Cali, got all caught up in the netting and then as she dug and chomped on his tail (which is why it had a blunt end and looked like a cut cord), it was all over for our intrepid little garden visitor. I felt kinda bad for him, but the whole situation still made me want to vomit. Honestly, sometimes nature is just a little too... natural. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Guilt is absent when the act is justified.”

Scout feels the need to be in literally EVERY photo....

I have had two rescue dogs and I have raised two purebreds from puppies... the rescue dogs are infinitely easier and better dogs from the get go, hands-down. But in one aspect, my purebreds take the cake. My rescues have no conscience. None. Not even a glimmer.

Not even the least bit chagrined...

This morning I woke up looking for my flip-flops (cheap ones that my mom knits padded straps for out of organic, bamboo yarn.... HEAVENLY)... rather, looking for the one that wasn't sitting by the back door where I'd left them. And I finally found the missing mate, who ended up being on top of the dog bed, missing part of its top and bottom due to someones teeth. 

The victim...

Now, because I've never lost a shoe to a dog before (and I've had my other dogs for two and four years respectively) and since I have a new rescue in the house who likes to destroy little cloth animals, my powers of deduction tell me it was Cali. Beyond that, my two spaniels have what my best friend likes to call "An over-developed sense of guilt" which means they will confess to just about anything... both of them will confess to pooping in a hotel room when it was clearly only one dog... the pantry door fell off its hinges and both spaniels confessed even though they were both clear across the room and had nothing to do with it. I worry that I am a bad mom that comes down on them too hard, but I think that it's probably just a symptom of the breed... Springer Spaniels are worriers, through and through. Anyway, Cali gave me a blank look when I asked about the shoe as did the spaniels, so either my new rescue has no conscience as well... or I have a phantom chewer...the mystery deepens...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pay No attention to That Dog Behind the Curtain

Always the economical home remodeler I try to do everything on a budget... and by that I mean I try to do everything I want/need to for our home while still keeping us afloat, eating food, paying bills, saving money... etc, etc. My husband and I jokingly watched "The Money Pit" when we bought this house, laughing at Tom Hank's antics and the wild adventures of his fictional home ownership.

The living room while the home belonged to the previous owner...
 a little crowded, no?

Now, two years into being home owners, we've: replaced the same ceiling twice; found out that half of our second floor was leaning on a non-load bearing wall and causing our home to slowly implode; ruptured a well pump; nearly had a jacuzzi tub fall through the ceiling from our master bath into our living room because all of the floor joists had been cut by a previous owner (why, Geoffrey? WHY!?!); walked on bare concrete and tack board for three months due to a carpet mix-up; overflowed two backed up air conditioners flooding an entire closet below (which I tried to fix with ingenuity and pots & pans but botched horribly in my husband's absence) and generally suffered a host of other home related maladies and disasters. It's not a joke people. The money pit is real.

Knocking out the archway. You can start to see where we are going with the project.

   Anyway, in the few rooms that I feel are getting close to finally being "done" after two years, my living room has been limping towards completion for about nine months now. It started out as two rooms, a formal sitting room and a family room, and we knocked a huge archway out; stenciled the walls; and put down new carpeting. The windows were a problem because, now that we had a great room, you could see from the street directly through the house especially once we had some awesome recessed lighting put up to light up the place. I had thought I would be remodeling the dining room first, but due to a massive water leak, the living room moved up the priority list.

Walls painted (soon to be stenciled) & carpet waiting to go down...

     I'd bought goldenrod curtains on clearance from JCPenney's for a shockingly good deal, but due to only having two windows in the dining room I'd only bought four panels and the new living room had three windows. Undeterred, I created one "giant window" flanked by one panel on either side for one set of windows and devoted the other two panels to the remaining window.

The curtains in between stages, after we added the extra silk at the top.

Oh, and did I mention the curtain were way too short for the living room and the curtain rod hole was much to narrow for my "$60 marked down to $9.99 plus a 20% Off coupon" wooden rods from Bed, Bath & Beyond, so I had to get Mama to add a 4-inch tube of chocolate silk to the top of each one? Yeah... miserable...

The finished product...

    Now, to the problem of sheers. I bought sheers from JCPenney; they were awful, so I returned them. I bought clearance sheers from West Elm, they ran out mid-shipment and I only received four instead of the six I needed; returned as well. And then I lusted after these sheers from West Elm for months... months... and finally last month I thought, "Every budget, and every wife, has their breaking point" so I logged on (thankfully they were running a special for $10 off each panel... it's the little things) and finally more than $200 later I am pleased. I know it's not true economy but sometimes, you can only be so thrifty and still keep your sanity.

"Ugghh... these curtains are really cramping my style..."-Atticus

   The only downside to the new curtains is that Atticus, our oldest spaniel, likes to use the front window as a vantage point to lay down and observe passersby with the sill as a chin-rest. These new curtains really put a crimp in his style and he was none too pleased.... "Can a dog catch a break around here?" he says... nope, sorry... Mama needs her sanity... and her privacy... but I still love you, Atticus. A lot.
"You're killing me, Smalls..."
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