There’s a Moose in the House! – A Short Story

Once upon a time there was a moose. He was a very big moose. He lived in the forest, where there was plenty of room for him. Even with all the trees and rocks and other animals, there was still plenty of room for this big, giant moose.

He wasn’t any bigger than a normal moose, really, but have you ever seen a moose? Generally, all moose are rather big. Bigger than horses, and I’m sure you’ve seen a horse.

But being so big was what made this moose so uncomfortable when he had found himself lost one day.

He didn’t know how it had happened, but the moose had wandered far from his woodsy home and ended up in a town full of houses. There were hard, black roads, and fast, metal cars, and open, grassy spaces, and lots of wooden houses. None of that was particularly appealing for a moose, so he began at once to try to find his way home.

He didn’t feel like he was doing a very good job of getting any closer to home, when he spotted a nice knobby piece of wood. He thought, “Maybe just behind there will be the forest, or at least the way to the forest, and I can find my way back to my favorite copse of trees at last.” So he pushed on the friendly-looking piece of wood.

But it wasn’t an ordinary piece of wood, even though it looked very natural. It was, in fact, a door. A door into somebody’s house.

The first thing our moose saw was a living room, only he didn’t know that’s what he was looking at. He saw a couch and a coffee table. He stepped right over the ottoman and almost caught his antlers on the overhead light. He saw the fireplace with some old, burned up bits of wood inside and didn’t like the look of that at all. He stumbled away from the fireplace as quickly as he could and bumped into the piano which made a loud, if not melodious, sound. Confused, he walked on.

He walked through a very narrow opening, which we know to be a hallway. And somehow he managed to get into a very small and shiny room. It was a bathroom. It was a rather smooth room so the moose was able to slide back around, but in doing so, his rump bumped the shower faucet and a sudden spray of cold water splashed on his back and he yelped with surprise and shuffled out of the bathroom away from the sudden rain shower.

“What a strange place,” the moose thought to himself as he walked back down the hall in the other direction. He found another friendly-looking piece of wood, but it wasn’t the door that he had come in through and that he hoped would lead him back outside. Instead, it led into a bedroom.

There wasn’t much in this bedroom. There was a painting on the wall of a tree, but not any type of tree our moose had ever seen before. (It was a palm tree.) There was a desk and a dresser and a bed. Now, the bed looked big enough for a moose so our moose decided to investigate. He gently lowered himself down onto the bed and was pleasantly surprised by how soft and comfortable he found it. He nuzzled down in the soft, warm blankets and found himself so at ease that he fell asleep! He must have been tired; it was a long walk to the town from his home in the forest. He napped for two hours before he woke up, slowly opening his eyes and becoming very confused. He didn’t know this place or why he was there. Then he remembered that he had gotten lost and stumbled into this cramped space trying to find his way home.

Remembering his predicament made him even more homesick. He wanted more than ever before to get out of that place and back to the big, cozy woods with all it’s comforting sounds and lots of fresh mountain air.

So he carefully climbed out of the bed and wandered into yet another room in his search for a way out. And aha! He had found another door. He couldn’t push this one open, but had to pull it open by grabbing it with his big moose teeth. But instead of the opening to freedom behind that door, there was only a blast of cold air and some strange-smelling lumps (that’s food, to us). It wasn’t the way out, the moose sadly realized and nudged the door closed again.

But then, he turned around and saw another door! Excited, he trotted up to his and pushed with his nose. This time, pushing worked and he was greeted by another rush of air. But this rush of air was like a welcoming hug because it was fresh, outside air with the comforting smell of his forest home floating around.

The moose was very happy to the out of that tiny, cramped cave (which was actually a house) and outside again. He immediately started trotting along the road, up the hill, simply because going in that direction reminding him of climbing the mountains near his favorite copse of trees.

And it was a good choice, too, because after walking and walking and walking for a very long time along the road, the moose eventually came to his forest once more. He was delighted to see a familiar rock and then headed straight for his favorite spot from there. When he arrived, he felt so happy. And also very tired. He had walked for another long time since his nap and he needed more sleep. So he lied down on a nice, comfortable pile of crunchy leaves, soft needles, and springy moss for another nice, long rest.

 

The end.

Simple Pancakes

The weekend is almost here! Time for slow, relaxing breakfasts with the ones you love. (If you eat breakfast.)

One of my favorite breakfasts is pancakes. Chocolate chip pancakes, to be precise. Yes, I am an adult that enjoys chocolate chips on her pancakes. So does my father. We are German.

Here is my favorite pancake recipe. It is quite simple and also happens to be vegan.

Ingredients*:

  • 1-1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2  C water
  1. Mix dry ingredients.
  2. Add the wet ingredients.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Pour ladles onto hot pan.
  5. Flip once, when most of the batter starts to bubble.
  6. OPTIONAL: Add chocolate chips! and spread when melted.

Enjoy!

* C = cup
t = teaspoon
T = tablespoon

Discarding How I Track My Spending

A few months ago, I did a post on how I was changing the way I was tracking my spending. I had high hopes, but I’m writing today to admit that this way of tracking my spending did not help to curb my spending at all. It didn’t work for many reasons and so I scrapped it completely.

First, it was a lot of work. Trying to remember to write down every single dollar I spent added a lot of tiny tasks to the back of my mind which I just don’t have time for right now. Tying to account for every dollar my husband spent was even harder. And if I ran out of cash by the end of the week and I found I needed to buy something, like gasoline or bread, I would end up putting it on a credit card anyway.

Second, it just didn’t help me to spend less. Sure it was annoying, which may have encouraged me to spend less just so I wouldn’t have to track it, but I still needed to buy things. The “no spend days” didn’t work either because I would just spend more on other days to get everything I needed (or “needed”). I would just make bigger purchases at once.

Third, it was just kind of depressing to always see money going out, out, out. All I saw was negative numbers, in red, my money going away, away, away until it was gone. Not very good for morale, generally.

Also, the tracking didn’t help me stick to the “cash diet” at all. If I want to give myself $100 a week to spend, then that’s what I need to do. I need to be disciplined enough to ration it for only what the family needs. I need to leave my credit cards at home or freeze them or maybe even cut them up! Tracking every dollar gone will not help with that, especially as credit cards just allowed me to dip into the negative before the week was over.

I recently read a tidbit that claimed that most people who set up and advocate for budgets, don’t even keep budgets themselves. That thought jostled my whole brain. I had been reading so much on the internet for the past couple of years about the wonders of budgeting to help save money, that I thought once I got the hang of it, budgeting would be a sure-fire way to get ahead of our debt and save tons of money. But after 2 years of trying, I have to admit that budgeting is not for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally a proponent of spend-less-than-you-make, but the dividing and trackers of numbers just doesn’t seem to help me accomplish that. I was best with money, surprisingly, when I was 18 years old and wanted to buy a new car. I had no budgeting system at all; I just spent very little and saved as much as I could. It’s true now that with a family there are a lot more expenses to take care of, but the “save as much as possible” strategy still holds strong.

When I wanted that new car, I was focused. I put most of the money I made into a high-yield savings account and kept about $80 or less for myself for the week, with which I could do whatever I wanted. Yes, my current situation has quite a bit more factors, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be more complicated. I just need to be focused: schedule out all recurring expenses, use $100 cash each week for necessities (plus $15 with which to do whatever I want), and save the rest for paying down debt.

Responsibility and freedom rolled together in a simple system.

The Horse Who Wouldn’t Nap – A Short Story

There once was a horse who loved to run and jump around his favorite field. There were rocks and logs in the perfect places for running around and leaping over. He would spend hours and hours out there, never stopping to rest, even though his mother said he really should.

The little horse didn’t understand why he had to stop. He was having so much fun and didn’t want to stop. Nothing else was as fun as running and jumping around those rocks and over those logs in that field. His mother always insisted, though.

One day, the horse didn’t listen to his mother and wouldn’t stop. He refused to take a break and rest like his mother wanted him to. He continued running and jumping and jumping and running.

What the little horse didn’t realize was that he was getting more and more tired. He noticed that he was starting to run slower, but he just thought he needed to try harder. He also felt himself getting more and more frustrated with himself, which made him angry. He didn’t think that stopping and resting would actually help him.

Still he refused to stop and rest. And then, when he tried to jump over a particular log, he didn’t make it all the way over. One of his legs hit the log and the little horse fell to the ground with a loud whimper. It hurt a lot.

The little horse’s mother came running to help him. She helped him walk back to their stable so he could lie down in the hay in his stall. His mother comforted him and helped his leg feel better, but she also reminded him that he probably wouldn’t have hurt himself if he wasn’t so tired and that’s why stopping to rest was important.

The little horse didn’t like being hurt. He was able to run or jump for days while his leg healed. He didn’t want something like that to happen ever again. So ever since that day, the little horse did as his mother asked, and took a break in the afternoon to have a nice nap so that he was properly rested and re-energized to have lots more fun and feel good for the rest of the day.

 

The end.

Journaling as Self-Care

Reading self-help books and blogs and articles can be, well, helpful. Reading other people’s journeys towards enlightenment can be inspiring. Trying out other’s advice can be transformative.  Self-help writing can open our eyes to other ways of thinking, being, giving, and living. It can help us grow in ways we wouldn’t have or couldn’t have all on our own.

But self-help writing is still always external. No matter how much we read, we are always consuming. We may internalize some practices, but it’s like a mirror — reflecting back what we’ve taken in — without the added depth of our true selves.

Journaling, however, is the act of digging down to the spring where our own creativity and wisdom dwells. Exploring the deepest parts of our selves is where we truly find power, where we become comfortable with ourselves for exactly who we are — with all the knowledge we’ve absorbed and our most sincere, innate beliefs. And exploring this spring through writing is how these values bubble up to the surface and solidify into the strength of our uniqueness.

I’ve kept journals and diaries quite consistently for over 18 years. I really believe the practice has helped raise and stabilize my self-esteem throughout many different phases of my life. My journals have always been a place for me and only me — a place where I had no one to please or impress but myself, a place where I was silly and had fun, a place where I let all my guards down and was unabashedly, unashamedly myself.

We can write anything in our journals and diaries. It is so freeing.

In addition to recording and processing my days and experiences, I have also used my journals for more purposeful exercises: venting, gratitude, and intentions.

  • Venting. The earliest form of my learning how to cope, venting in the privacy of my journal has helped me process feelings and be mindful of how I wanted to act on them. It has allowed me to get hurtful thoughts out without sending them to another actual person. It has helped me get past difficult incidents. I vent and then I am better able to move on. I can leave it behind me once it’s written in my journal.
  • Gratitude. Years ago, probably in synchronization with The Secret‘s rise in popularity, I started keeping a daily list of what I’m thankful for. If you want to know the specific scientific benefits of this, I suggest you do your own research. But I can tell you from personal experience that practicing daily gratitude, actually writing it down, is great for perspective, self-esteem, and appreciating the life you have now despite how successful you are in any current endeavors.
  • Intentions. I’ve just started this recently and so am just starting to see how it affects my life, but I am noticing a difference. Like, on the days where I take the time to set my intentions for the days, I am not only more mindful of what I want, I find it just happens easier even without me actually thinking about it. For example, on days I set the intention to be patient, calm, and loving with my children, I find reserves of patience, calmness, and love that I might not have felt on a day where I didn’t set that intention. Even intentions like “All of Wingnut’s pee goes in the toilet” and “Dozer eats and digests well” seems to affect them, and thus me, in that I have less pee and spit-up to clean up. I also try to stay away from wishful wording and set my intentions in the present tense because, you know, wibbly wobbly timey wimey.

I know I said that we can write anything in our journals, but I also don’t think it is very helpful or useful to use writing to dwell on disappointments. Venting is one thing, but then I think it’s important to explore how we can come out of disappointments on top, even if it’s only by our state of mind. After all, what is a journal but a written state of mind? What is our whole life experience but a state of mind?

If you would like some tips on starting your own journal or diary, I found this article to be helpful in an open, simple way.

The Cat in the Garden – A Short Story

There once was a boy, who wasn’t really a boy. He was only 17 so he wasn’t a legal adult yet, but he was beyond boyhood. He never considered himself a teenager either. Being a teenager seemed to him to be a time of rebellious experimentation that he never got to experience. No, this boy, this man, had been living on his own since he was 15 years old.

His parents had died. Instead of going with the strangers from Social Services, he ran away. He didn’t run far, but they never found him. Maybe they never looked for him — there was no one around who would have checked in on the situation.

He’s been completely alone for over two years now. Two years may not seem like a long time to some people, but these years contained the growth of a new universe for this young man.

When he ran away, he didn’t go far. Just across town to the wooded area behind Public Works. He had grown up taking camping trips with his family and when he learned from Social Services that he wouldn’t be able to stay in his house, he figured the woods would be a good place to live.

He never stole anything, but he was still able to find everything he needed, even clothes. It was amazing what people just threw away. Especially people who lived in town homes. They had the most lucrative trash — he didn’t know why. Not only was he able to build a home for himself, he was able to provide his own food.

Picking old vegetables and fruits from the trash is dirty business, but he did what he needed to be done. The seeds stuck to the gooey flesh weren’t trash anyway. They had so much potential. He rinsed them off, gave them their own special plot in his wooded abode, and cared for them until he had a disorganized garden of tomatoes, berries, garlic, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and more, even corn.

He ate like a woodland king when the weather was warm enough. He ate like a city bum when the weather was cold, however. He frequented dumpsters much more often in the winter, especially those behind restaurants. He had no money and no way of earning any. But still he lived a life full of adventure.

One day in late spring, he came back to his home to see he had a visitor. As far as he knew, no person ever knew his plot existed, but this cat had come to find him.

“Hello there, furry little one,” the boy said, kneeling down.

The cat did not run away, but timidly approached and sniffed the boy’s outstretched hand. The cat then rubbed his head against the boy. It meowed and looked up, hopeful.

“If you’re hungry I’m sorry I don’t have much for you,” the boy said, opening the canvas bag of food he had just collected, mostly stale bread. “Definitely no cat food and no meat either.”

The cat stuck its head in the bag and pulled out a piece of bread that was soggy with some type of sauce. It then began chewing.

“Well, alright, if that suits you,” the boy said. He sat down and they ate their small meals together.

The cat stayed with him for almost a week. It stayed and napped for hours at a time. And sometimes it left for most of the day. The boy didn’t know where this domestic cat had come from, but he sure liked having it around. It had been such a long time since he had any sort of company, anyone to talk to. And the cat kept the squirrels and rabbits away from his crucial garden. On his “grocery runs” as he thought of them, he made sure to get something extra — fish or meat — for the cat, too.

On the sixth day, however, when the cat came back from one of its long outings, someone had followed it. The boy was napping in his hammock when he heard the rustle of footsteps approaching. They were too near before he could think of anything to do. He sat up, panicked and shocked, as a woman walked right into his secret garden.

“Oh!” The woman said, perhaps equally as shocked when she moved the branch from her vision and saw what, or rather who, was before her. “Oh! I didn’t expect to… Have you seen a big, grey cat? Oh, there you are!” She spotted the cat scratching its claws on a thick, rough tree.

“Come here, you.” She bent down and the cat immediately bounded over and leapt in her arms. “You’ve had us worried sick. Thank you so much for finding him,” she added, looking up at the boy. “He’s my daughter’s and she’s been so upset since he’s been missing. She’s on the spectrum and doesn’t have many friends…”

She trailed off as she took in the whole of her surroundings. The hammock, the old canvas tent stuffed with blankets, the fire pit, the handmade rain barrel propped up in a tree (so the boy could shower), the garden, the old pots and pans, everything that the boy had collected in the last two years. Her gaze lingered on an old blue speckled pot that looked very familiar.

“Do you… You don’t…” She kept looking between the things and the boy, searching his face for some kind of clue. “What is this place?”

The boy looked down and licked his lips. “It’s just a place I like to hang out. You know, to get away.”

“That’s a lot of food,” she said.

“Well your cat is good company, but can eat a whole lot,” the boy tried to joke.

The woman nodded, but didn’t look convinced. “This is Spaghetti,” she said, nodding to the cat. I’m glad he was able to keep you company.”

The boy only nodded.

“Look…” she started, looking nervous. “Thank you for looking out for him. Do you… Would you like to have dinner with us tonight? As a thank you. I’m sure Juliet, my daughter, would like to thank you, too. She’s 14. Maybe you two would get along. After all, Spaghetti seems to quite like you both.”

“I…” The boy started, but then the words got lost in his throat with a croak.

“No pressure,” the woman said. And she finally smiled.

The boy looked up and saw another entire universe in that one smile, one filled with love.

“Okay,” he managed. “I’ll come.”

“Do you have to ask your parents? I can talk to them if you want,” she said.

The boy looked down again. “No.”

The woman nodded to herself and left it at that. “You can follow me. It’s not a far walk,” she turned and gestured kindly, still holding Spaghetti firmly in her arms. “What’s your name?”

“My name’s Romeo,” the boy answered.

The woman almost stopped and asked “Really?”, but checked herself just in time. Instead she said, “I’m Emily. It’s nice to meet you Romeo.”

Romeo nodded again and tried out his own smile.

 

The End

The End of the Year Book Tag

I really don’t like to get ahead of myself — like thinking about the end of the year when summer isn’t even over yet — but I do like fun book-related things. Ariel Bissett created this BookTube tab, but I’m going to do it on my blog (because I don’t have the resources to make YouTube videos anymore).

Here are the 6 questions:

1. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish? I’ve been trying really hard to only read one book at a time. So the only book I have started is the one I’m currently reading and there’s a 99.99% chance I will finish this book by the end of the year. There are books that I started this year and decided not to finish, but that decision’s been made so I won’t be picking them up again.

2. Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year? Hmm… haven’t really thought of that setting-wise. There are a few books I want to read soon that have orange-y reddish yellow covers, but I don’t think any have any specific autumnal themes. Oh! Except Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray, which is the third in a supernatural series set in the 1920s that I’ve really been enjoying. It’s autumnal because creepy + spooky = Halloween-y and Halloween is in the autumn.

3. Is there a new release you’re still waiting for? Yes! Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson! I’ve been waiting 3 1/2 years for it. It comes out November 14 and I will buy it immediately.

4. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year? I want to reread the first 2 books in The Stormlight Archive before Oathbringer comes out. So that’s The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and Oathbringer. For a whopping 3,325 pages. I don’t really care about finishing them all before December 31 at midnight or anything, though. I also have, like, 15 more books I want to read soon, like, in the next couple of months <<blush>>.

5. Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year? I don’t know what may “shock” me… but I do have high hopes for Oathbringer and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Hmm… maybe a shocker will be Time and Time Again: A Collection by Tamara Ireland Stone because I don’t know much about it or the author; I bought it based on the cover and blurb. So, yeah, I hope I like it. It would be awesome to find it to be a new fave!

6. Have you already started making reading plans for 2018? Nah. It’s enough that I even planned anything for the rest of 2017. I guess I could consider “Read what I want, when I want” a plan. And I suppose I want to continue practicing reading only 1 book at a time.

So that’s the tag! I had fun with it. Enjoy the rest of your reading year!

Capsule Makeup Update

I wrote about my simple makeup collection before, but I wanted to do an update.

First, a picture! Here is a photo of my current makeup collection (minus the lipstick on the left):

Pictured:

  • Lipstick (from left to right)
    • Smashbox, Pout – I was unsure about this color after I bought it. I was stupid enough not to use the tester at the store (because I didn’t know how and was too stupid to ask) and so tried it out a few times at my house. It turns out I really don’t like it. I decided to let it go shortly after taking this photo.
    • Kate by Rimmel, 28 – A light, warm pink.
    • 100% Pure, Cactus Bloom – I love this color. I get so many compliments on it. Possibly because of its orange tone complimenting the orange-y-ness of my hair or something.
    • Kate by Rimmel, 104 – This is a good everyday color for me; it’s not too bold. It’s running low, though, which is why I got…
    • Lipstick Queen, Jean Queen – I wear a lot of denim and this color was formulated specifically to compliment jeans. So it seemed like a good choice for me. It is very similar to Kate’s 104, but perhaps a bit darker.
    • 100% Pure, Poppy – This is the bold “red” lipstick of my collection. It is fruit-dyed so it isn’t so synthetically fire-engine-y. Oh, this poppy pops, but it’s a natural kind of brightness. (And it has blue undertones which make my teeth look really white, as opposed to other reds I’ve tried that seemed to make my teeth look more yellow.)
  • Mascara
    • 100% Pure, Maracuja Dark Chocolate – Love it. Defo have to abide by the expiration dates for this eye makeup since it’s made with all natural ingredients; the shelf-life just isn’t as long as other mainstream formulas.
  • Eyebrow Powder Gel
    • 100% Pure, Taupe – I love this product. It fills in my brows in a very natural way. A very nice fit even for my red hair which doesn’t fall on the blond-to-brown-to-black spectrum.
  • Tools
    • atomizer – I use this for my current scent, which is now unavailable. I hope to make my own essential oil perfume in this one day.
    • 100% Pure, angled brush #8 – I use this to apply the eyebrow powder gel to my eyebrows. Fits the shape of my brows nicely.
    • compact mirror – with standard and magnified mirrors. I only use the standard mirror because magnified mirrors are bizarre.

You’ll notice there are a few more lipsticks in my collection since the last time I wrote. I am both happy and unhappy about this.

I’m happy about it because I like lipsticks. I find them to be beautiful and fun and a nice way to jazz up my simple wardrobe.

I am unhappy about it because even though I now have 5 shades (well, kinda 4 because the Jean Queen will be replacing the 104), I want more. Because I’ve given myself more options and I like it, I want even more options. It could be a slippery slope and I’m trying to stay on top of it. To help with that, I have “favorited” 4 more shades on the 100% Pure website, but I won’t buy them until I need to replace some.

One of the shades I have favorited is in anticipation of replacing Jean Queen (when it runs out of course) — I really like having that everyday shade and I also love the makeup brand 100% Pure — It is the only brand I want to buy.  (I really like how their products are transparently all natural, literally 100% pure.) Another shade I picked close to Kate’s 28, for future replacement. The other 2 I just think are pretty.

So the update on my capsule makeup collection is, in a nutshell, that it is still pretty small, even though I’m expanding on my lipsticks a bit. (I do generally tend to favor warmer lipstick shades in summer and cooler in winter, so my decision fatigue is still low day to day.) I still only do brows, lashes, and lips — or less — so my makeup routine is quick, yet still effective.

Beauty, I think, is best done simply.

Milo & Mira and the Lost Bunny – A Short Story

One of Milo and Mira’s favorite places to play outside was a little area behind the lake in their town. It was next to the boat ramp, had picnic tables and grills, and lots of little trails to walk.

One day, when Milo and Mira were exploring this little patch of forest, they stumbled upon a tiny baby bunny, all alone. They knew that the bunny was too small to be on its own so they figured it had gotten separated from its family and was lost.

“Oh no! This bunny is too small to survive on its own. We need to help it,” Mira said.

She leaned in like she was going to pick the little bunny up, but Milo stopped her. “I learned in school recently that humans shouldn’t touch wild animals, especially babies, if they can help it.”

Mira stood up. “Why not?”

“If we touch that bunny, it will smell like us – like humans. Then, if we find its family, they will smell human, not the baby bunny, and be too scared to go near it.”

“Oh. So they would just leave it?” Mira asked.

Milo shrugged. “Maybe. So it’s best if we don’t touch it.”

“Hmm… What should we do then?” Mira asked as she and Milo looked down at the little bunny. It was tucked into a small little ball, twitching its nose, and shaking. “It looks really scared.”

“I would be scared, too, if I was lost,” Milo said.

The two children thought for a while about how they could help the little bunny.

“Let’s see if we can find its family,” Mira suggested.

Milo agreed and they set off to search the small wooded area for a big mama or papa bunny looking for her or his lost baby. They decided to split up – Mira taking the north side of the main trail and Milo taking the south side – because they thought they would be able to cover more ground faster that way.

Mira didn’t bother looking in the water because she knew bunnies didn’t swim very often, especially if they had a new family.

Milo checked under all of the picnic tables and even in the disused grills.

Mira checked the bushes. It took a long time because there were a lot of thick bushes behind the lake.

Milo was also checking some bushes near a group of trees when he spotted an old log lying on the ground. He thought that might be a good place for some bunny rabbits to live. He crouched down very quietly and peered in the hole at the end of the log. Sure enough, there was one big bunny with three more baby bunnies huddled inside!

A huge grin spread across Milo’s face. He backed away from the log, slowly and quietly, and then ran to go find Mira.

“Mira! Mira! I found them!” He yelled as he reached Mira.

A huge grin spread across Mira’s face, too. “That’s excellent! Now how to we get the baby bunny back to its family?”

“Remember, we shouldn’t touch it with our bare hands,” Milo said.

They took a moment to think.

“What if we used some sort of basket?” Mira suggested.

“We don’t have a basket,” Milo said. “And if we got one from home, that would smell like humans, too.”

“Do you think we could make one?” Mira asked.

“Let’s try it,” Milo agreed.

They gathered some small, bendy sticks and reeds and a pile of nice, soft leaves. They helped each other to weave the sticks and reeds together. They couldn’t figured out how to weave the sides up so they ended up with more of a tray than a basket. There were a lot of gaps, too, so they spread out the leaves to make a sort of bed for the bunny to sit on without falling through.

Milo held the makeshift tray with both of his hands underneath, very carefully. They walked back to where they had originally found the little lost bunny and were relieved to find that it was still there. Very slowly and carefully, they scooped up the little bunny onto the tray. Mira had to help push it on a little bit, but she held big leaves in her hands so her skin wouldn’t touch the bunny. It was very skittish, but once they got it on the tray, it curled up very small again and hunkered down, shaking.

“Follow me,” Milo said as they started walking to the log where he had found the bunny family. They walked very, very slowly and very, very carefully so they wouldn’t drop or upset the little lost bunny.

When they got to the log, Milo pointed it out to Mira. She helped him keep the tray steady as he knelt down in front of the hole. The little bunny lifted its head and started sniffly around excitedly. Then, before Milo and Mira had gotten the tray all the way to the ground, the little lost bunny hopped down off the tray and landed awkwardly in the soft grass. Then it bounded right into the hole of the log.

Milo and Mira quickly looked at each other with a surprised, “Oh!” Then they crouched down as quickly as they could while still being really quiet and peer in the hole.

The little bunny had hopped right up to the big bunny, who was now snuggly the little bunny close. The big bunny’s and all four of the little baby bunnies’ noses were twitching like crazy. Luckily, none of them seemed alarmed that the lost bunny smelled like humans. Instead, they all looked very happy and excited to be all together again, especially the little lost bunny.

Milo and Mira stood up and backed away. They looked at each other and smiled. They had helped the lost bunny get back to the safety and comfort of its family.

Without needing to say anything, they were both ready to go home and spend some quality time with their own families.

 

The End

I Cut My Own Hair!

I don’t spend a lot of money on hair products. It can be tough to find a nice complimentary shampoo, and possibly conditioner, but I always used up the bottles of whatever I bought to try so I didn’t feel like I was throwing money away. I got my value, even if I didn’t find my true shampoo match yet.

I don’t spend any money to color my hair either. I love the color of my hair so I’ve never wanted to dye it. I never plan to dye it, even when it starts to go grey. Grey hair just doesn’t bother me. Shrug.

My hair is naturally pretty manageable. It’s thick and straight, except for when I have thin fly-aways or where it waves. Maybe I’ve just gotten good at working with my hair, instead of trying to torture it into submission. Or maybe it’s just plain accomodating — there’s never been a problem getting it to do anything fancy that anyone’s tried to do with it (cheer leading and dance competitions, proms, weddings, etc).

I also own few hair accessories. Just simple, standard hair ties, hair pins, a cloth head-band, and my trademark flower barrettes.

So, generally, I never spent a lot of money on my hair. Yet I’d still feel duped when I would go to a salon to get it cut and it would cost $50 (+ tip). I’ve heard and read of women dropping a hundo or more on their hair every two or three months, and I felt robbed if I had to pay $50 every year. It made me wonder: am I so cheap?

But, no, I’m not cheap. Or at least I don’t think I’m that cheap. I will pay more for diapers, for example, because they are more environmentally friendly, even though they literally get shat on and thrown away. But hair. I never left a hair salon and felt now that was money well spent, whether I spent $10 or $60. The money I had to shell out just didn’t match up with the value for me.

It was just hair getting cut with scissors. I cut my own fingernails — no big deal. My husband cuts his own hair and our sons’, albeit with electric clippers instead of scissors. They have and will be able to save hundreds and hundreds of dollars by cutting their own hair. I wanted in. So I tried it.

Just so we’re clear, I didn’t do very much research into this. Back in high school my friend and I figured that cutting hair from a pony-tail would create layers (we were right). A couple of years ago, I watched a couple of YouTube videos about it and didn’t find them very helpful. Also, to clarify, my long hair gave me a comfortable margin for error and I was prepared to go to a salon for a fix-up if any disasters occurred (they did not).

So. The Process:

I used a hair tie to put my hair into a pony-tail at the crown of my head. I put another hair tie around the tail and pulled it up away from my head to just below where I planned to cut. Then I took very sharp scissors and hacked away, straight across. (First I tried a butcher knife on my cutting block, but it didn’t make a dent. Either Mulan had a very sharp sword or I have hair like a steel cable.)

When I took my hair down from the pony-tail, it had the big, chunky layers I wanted and expected. I did a bit more trimming off the longest layer while my hair was down because I wanted it a bit shorter. I split my hair roughly down the middle and pulled it to the front, (like how you pretend to have a beard — you know what I’m talking about, other long-haired ladies), and just snipped away the ends until it was my desired length.

Now, full disclosure, this hair cut is not highly refined. It is not feathery; in fact, it is rather blunt. But it’s a simple hair style, which is all I ever wanted. I am very happy with how this procedure worked for my hair. Nobody has said anything about my hair since I cut it, like What? D’you get in a fight with your lawnmower and lose? or Did your kids cut your hair while you were asleep or something? or even Thank goodness, you finally did something about those split ends. It is a good 4-5 inches shorter, but still long, so I guess it’s hard for other people to notice when my hair just isn’t that important to them.

Perhaps I should’ve done before and after photos, but I wasn’t thinking of this blog so much when I did it. I was just hot and tired of carrying around a hair-blanket on my head. I wanted to save money and not have to get a babysitter so I could go out to a salon. I wanted to see if I could cut my own hair… and I could! I did! And I like it!

So this’ll be my hair M.O. from now on. Once every year or two should do it. Boom. Money in the bank.