If you are Facebook friends with me, you may have recently seen  where I was featured on The Eleanor Project.  The project is the brainchild of my friends Terry & Jen.  It promotes the idea that all women are beautiful, no matter what we look like.    I am humbled and flattered to be included.  I operate under the assumption that like newborn babies, there is something beautiful about everyone.  I see the problem of women not seeing their own beauty as a confidence issue.
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Projects and pizza.

When answering the question “What are you up to” over the last few weeks, my answer has been a curt “busy”.  Busy is a gross understatement.  I’ve had a number of projects on back burners that all seemingly reached a boiling point at once while having several fantastic opportunities fall into my lap, with everything needing my attention these last two weeks. It’s been a juggling act like I’ve never had.

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Talking the talk.

That little free lance project that kept me so busy for the last month? It’s out today.
18 articles on 18 subjects.  Short articles, but each one took research to write.  I know I’m good at juggling and multi-tasking, but this one definitely kept me on my toes.  I knew I could do this, but actually getting it done was a totally different ball game.
You might notice a few projects that are near and dear to me & mine.  I’ve always preferred to walk the walk – live green and not talk about it, but a paying gig to talk about a number of things we do around here (swaps, rain barrels, kudzu crafts, DIY storm windows, school gardens) and get paid to learn more about things we are interested in doing (Beekeeping, fermenting, solar power)? Fine, I’ll talk green.

I have to thank my dear husband for his inspiration and assistance – especially with the kudzu piece.  That Friday that was a sprint to the finish line, with me cranking out 4 articles and Pat finishing up his boat before heading to DC started out with us heading over to McIntire Park to harvest kudzu as the sun was just coming up through the trees.  I had never before harvested kudzu for craft projects – he’s always been the talent behind those projects, so he took a few minutes to show me what to do, pointed out poison ivy (because yes, I’m almost 43 years old, highly allergic to it and still not completely sure what it looks like), started me off and then went off to do his own job. 
Although really, he is far more inspiration than a few articles I could write.  He’s worked environmental non-profit his entire career and I like to say that it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle.  It’s walking the walk, so that you can teach others, so that you set an example and not just talk about it.  This is not to say we are the greenest folks on the block – there are certainly things we could do better and he is always challenging me to be thoughtful in my approach to our enviroment.  I like to think that a good bit of what we do around this house is just supporting what he does for a living, which pays for this house.  We are used to complete strangers stopping by to ask about our rain barrels, our compost bins, our boats, Edie’s bamboo playhouse and more, so the reality is, I do talk about these things, I might as well get paid to write about them too.

Checking in.

We lost internet for a few days after that derecho came through here last week.   Surprisingly enough, our neighborhood fared really well in that – no huge trees down, no crushed houses, and power was back on Saturday morning at 7 am.  I’m convinced it’s from the karma we’ve built up over the years of ALWAYS being the last neighborhood to get power, always being the worst hit neighborhood in the entire area, time after time after time.   Most of us walked around all weekend pinching ourselves wondering how the heck we got off so lucky this time. 
Spending a few days offline pre-mini-vacation was a good way to get prepped for a few more days offline while we hit the lake with friends for the Fourth of July.  It was a great trip, always a good time with the Smileys.  I have a few hundred photos to sort through and post, but as we are only home for a few short hours before hitting the road again, it will have to wait until next week. 
Waiting for me when we got in this afternoon were a few packages, much to the dismay of Edie.  Thanks Lesa for the book, I am looking forward to reading it.  I also got my new copy of “Joy of Pickling” so I can return Melissa’s.  And, excitement upon excitement, I got an advance copy of a dear childhood friend’s first novel to be published in October, which I am about to go sit down with inbetween laundry cycles and repacking the car.  You will definitely be hearing more about that in the coming months.
I finally can shout from the rooftops about the little project I spent most of June working on.  The Hook’s Restaurant Week Special Section is on local newstands as of today. I did some Q&A’s with local chefs, collected some recipes, wrote an article to go along with it and even snapped some photos along the way.   Pretty darn tooting exciting.  I wanted to keep pretty mum about it until it was all said and done and in my hot little hands.  When I went to their office last week to proof read a draft, I was ecstatic when I saw they had used some of my photos too.  I definitely think it might be time to upgrade from my point and shoot to a real camera. 
Oh, and those pickled peaches I made last week?  They are good.  A little sweet, a little sour, a little spicy from the ginger and cinnamon.  I will be making more.  Edie thinks a pickled peach pie is something we are definitely are going to have to try and I think she’s onto something…..