email: okaybyme at gmail dot com

View My Complete Profile

Compost Happens is a personal blog: part family, part garden, part crunchy green eco-writer. I'm Daisy, and I'm the groundskeeper here. I take care of family, garden, and coffee, when I'm not teaching and doing laundry.

Subscribe in a reader

  • The Garden Central
  • Your Garden Show Interactive Online Community
  • Hometown Seeds
  • Live to Garden
  • WormsEtc; composting, vermiculture, and more
  • Rion Greenhouses - modular kits
  • Rose Gardening A great source for pictures and information on roses!

    website metrics

    My Stats

  • Saturday, March 31, 2007

    How much is their compost?

    On a sign on a rural highway--

    "For Sale: Topsoil. Dirt Cheap."

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Friday, March 30, 2007

    Insomnia? Not if you're a bunny

    Amidst the chaos of normal life, in the middle of the laundry and the other scattered clutter, Sadie Bunny found an island of sun.

    I have cleaned up the laundry and the clutter, but I couldn't bring myself to move the pillow. It's a bunny place now.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Sunday, March 25, 2007

    If you don't like Wisconsin weather, wait...

    One month ago, our neighborhood looked like this. --->

    <-----Two weeks ago, we saw this.
    Now? Well, yesterday I drove to the lovely town of Winneconne in dense fog, so dense that I almost got lost on the way home because I didn't see any landmarks. Wait -- I couldn't see any landmarks on the way in! That's why!
    Today, I braved the remaining mud in our yard and raked old leaves away from the sprouting tulips and daffodils so that they can bloom and be beautiful. I looked in on a winter's worth of compost, too. Ooo -- it's beautiful, too. I have one more week of school before I get a spring break and the kids can start complaining that "Mom's playing in the dirt again!" It's okay; they say it with a smile. They know if makes me happy -- and makes them food.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Saturday, March 24, 2007

    A Working Saturday

    I judged another music festival today. Every time I do this, I come home with stories and quotes. Usually the quote comes from a student performer. Quotes in the past have included: "Let's go find site 25." "Let's go find where there's food!" and "My accompanist is Mrs., um, Mrs., um..." or "An interesting aspect of this piece is that it's short."
    Today I was stationed in a classroom normally used for teaching high school English. On festival day, the room gets rearranged and a piano moved in. The judge (me) moves a desk or table to the back of center and holds court there, filling out the criteria form for each performance. In between performers, I stand up and stretch, sip my coffee, chat with the volunteers, read the walls, and generally relax. If there's a comfortable desk chair, I nab it for the day. Today, the walls provided good reading. Besides the standard posters describing the writing process and the basic Six Traits, there were quotes on writing from writers scattered around the room. Here are a few samples.
    Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. --Red Smith
    Journalism allows its readers to witness history. Fiction gives its readers the opportunity to live it. -- source unknown
    And my favorite: A critic is a person who knows the way but can't drive the car. -- Kenneth Tynis
    That one is going on my desk at school. And look out, people, I can drive just about anything.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Friday, March 23, 2007

    Shoulds are bogus -- again

    The "should", the reality, and the end result

    I had a half day of school today, so I should have gotten some housework done.
    The reality: I came home, turned the self-cleaning oven to "Clean", and took a nap. A long nap.
    The end result: My oven is clean, and I feel well-rested. Not bad, really.

    I should have cooked a decent supper.
    The reality: I napped much of the afternoon and my oven was in its "Clean" cycle.
    The end result: Amigo and I met Husband at a diner halfway between his workplace and home. Mmm...Friday night fish fry.

    I should be gathering some professional reading for our upcoming grant meeting.
    The reality: I surfed Amazon for gardening materials and family-oriented books.
    The end result: I ordered Unstrange Minds by Roy Richard Grinker, an autism parent and anthropologist, and Let it Rot, a composting guide in its third edition. Hey, spring is coming! I can smell it!

    I should have started laundry tonight, since I'll be gone all day tomorrow judging another music festival.
    The reality: I didn't start laundry. I napped and then took Amigo to meet Husband for supper.
    The end result: I'll do it Saturday night or Sunday. If I'm really lucky, the family might start it tomorrow while I'm gone. Don't laugh so hard; sometimes they do!

    I should go to bed early, since I have to get up early tomorrow and drive to my festival. I have to be there by 7:30.
    The reality: I napped most of the afternoon.
    The end result: I'm hanging out online, having fun reading blogs and updating my own. I'll be plenty relaxed when I do go to bed. I'll sleep well.

    All in all, "Shoulds" are bogus, but all in all, it was a good day.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Wednesday, March 21, 2007

    When Love Thursday Goes Wild

    Simmer in Photoshop until ready.
    Season with captions.
    Enjoy. Serves many.

    (Photo editing by La Petite, of course)

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Tuesday, March 20, 2007

    Priorities. It's all about priorities.

    I picked Amigo up at school today for an appointment, and as we walked out to the minivan, I managed to tangle myself up in his white cane and fall to my knees on the sidewalk. I have two skinned knees and a little bruising/swelling, but it's nothing a little ice and ibuprofen won't cure. But as I went down so gracefully (not), I didn't fear breaking a bone. I didn't fear spraining an ankle or a wrist. I feared -- ripping a hole in my jeans.
    Jeans are hard to find for many women. For me, 5'4" and rather heavy, they're darn near impossible. I've been wearing jeans much too often because Mort has forced me into flat walking shoes for a while, and I just don't have enough decent, casual pants that work with my Avias.
    If my knees didn't hurt so much, I'd go shopping.
    Good thing I'm not training for a long walk!

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Sunday, March 18, 2007

    She can walk the walk, and I'm not "lion"

    Sara has reached her fundraising goal! If you are interested and have not yet made a donation, please direct a few dollars to her walking partner, Ellen Austreng. Here is the procedure.

    If you have a few minutes, please check out her web-page at
    To get there:
    1. Click on DONATE
    3. Click on CHICAGO 2007.
    5. Type in her name (Ellen Austreng)
    6. Her name will come up under Find a walker/crew member. Click on it and you're in!

    They walk for their daughters. Let's hope that our daughters no longer see breast cancer as a "mane" threat. Let's "roar" in support of these walkers and their cause.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Saturday, March 17, 2007

    Where's the bunny?

    Where's Waldo? No, where's Tiny? This little bunny moved into Amigo's room from his outdoor hutch when winter hit. Husband has been working in Amigo's room, remodeling and repainting, and the small rabbit has found new places to hide and hang out and do rabbit things, like bathe and nap. Can you find him?
    Okay, I give in. Here he is. He has taken this shelf, temporarily stashed in the middle of the room and currently empty of Braille books, as his own.

    Cute, huh?

    (Don't forget the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. )

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Friday, March 16, 2007

    The "mane" attraction

    Yesterday I mentioned my good friend Sara and her fundraising goal. To further inspire you, dear readers, here is one example of her creativity and caring. She worked with another artist friend to decorate this fiberglass lion, part of the Lions of the Valley project leading up to the arrival of a traveling Broadway production of The Lion King at our local Performing Arts Center. The lion's title? "Breast Cancer Survivors: Not an Endangered Species."

    For more lion pictures, click on the lion. To sponsor Sara on the Avon Walk, go here and follow the steps. I promise, I fixed the link so it works correctly.

    Did I mention that I know four of the women pictured on the lion? Eat your heart out, Jeff Probst -- these women are the real survivors.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    Love Thursday means these boots were made for walking.

    My dear friend Sara was diagnosed with breast cancer a little less than two years ago. She had a mastectomy, reconstruction, followed by a summer of chemotherapy and then radiation. The radiation destroyed the reconstruction, so she had to re-do it and reconstruct her existing (healthy) breast to match it in size.
    Amazing woman that she is, she took all of this as a sign to take control of her health and her lifestyle. She took up walking. I mean a lot of walking. She walked her first marathon last September. In June, she will walk more than just a marathon. She will walk the Avon Walk in Chicago, a pedometer-busting 39.3 miles in two days.
    Sara is looking for people to donate to the Avon Walk in her name. If you are interested, follow these directions. You can read more about Sara and her journey.

    If you have a few minutes, please check out her web-page at update: I double checked the link, and it works now.
    To get there:
    1. Click on DONATE
    3. Click on CHICAGO 2007. Click SEARCH FOR A PARTICIPANT
    5. Type in her name (Sara Wilda)
    6. Her name will come up under Find a walker/crew member. Click on it and you're in!

    Sara has posted a picture that's worth a thousand words: a photo of her with daughter. She plans to walk not for herself, but so that her daughter and other daughters will not have to suffer from breast cancer in the future.
    Yes, Mom, I had a mammogram. Now the rest of you, please consider sponsoring Sara. Remember, we're doing it for our daughters.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Sunday, March 11, 2007

    Funday Sunday

    (or Reflections on a fun Saturday night)

    We packed up our teddy bears and cowbell for a fun Saturday night. Trust me, it makes sense.
    We went to a minor league hockey game last night. Tickets are reasonable, the games are enjoyable, and this was a special promotion night for the team: the annual Teddy Bear Toss. The crowd brings teddy bears to the game and tosses them on the ice after the home team scores their first goal. Bears are donated to a local children's hospital.
    We left home with the ninth inning of a spring training baseball game on the van radio. The Milwaukee Brewers had come from behind and were leading by only one run going into the ninth inning, so we wanted to hear the last inning. They won, so we turned our attention from sunny Arizona baseball to ice hockey. (Um, yes. In March you can watch a baseball and a hockey game in the stretch of a few hours.)
    Parking was easy, and we entered the arena with teddy bears in hand and plenty of time to spare. I rewarded myself with a new and cozy Green Bay Gamblers sweatshirt from the shop. Volunteers handed us coupons for free Personal Pan Pizzas as a reward for bringing in teddy bears.
    Finding our seats was more of a challenge than we thought. We usually sit right by the glass because of Amigo's vision, but it's been a hassle in the past to help him down the narrow staircases to the seats. We decided to try the handicapped section this time. The first usher sent us "down the hall, take a left, and you'll be right there." The second usher looked at our tickets and sent us up the elevator. A third one said, "I know where these are. I'll take you there." She led us back down the elevator, where we ran into a good friend who works at the arena (Hi! Hi! Long time no see! Where are your seats? We don't know yet! Mom, hurry up!) and eventually were led down a side hall to the wheelchair ramp and our area.
    We (finally) found our seats, turned and waved to my friend on her catwalk beside her large spotlight, and then settled in for the fun.
    When the Gamblers scored their first goal, the place went nuts. You've heard of raining cats and dogs? It was raining teddy bears in plastic bags! And since we were sitting down front, we were getting pummeled with animals that didn't quite make the ice. We threw ours and at least twenty or thirty more. One hungry bear knocked over my popcorn, darn it. Next year, I'll wait until after the toss to get snacks.
    We left the arena minus three bears, plus a new sweatshirt, coupons for pizza and tacos (a promotion whenever the team scores five goals or more) and a radio t-shirt we caught when it was tossed into the crowd (yet another promotion). We'll add it to Amigo's collection.
    All in all, it was a Funday Saturday for the sports fans in our family.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Thursday, March 08, 2007

    Siblings and Love Thursday

    You can't see all of it, but you can see the results. This picture demonstrates siblings cooperating, a nephew enjoying a novelty gift from an uncle, and just an overall good time on the couch on a Saturday night.

    This is Amigo in his Radio Hat. He's taking his own picture with La Petite's camera while she looks on, just out of range. If you're noticing that it's not centered very well, remember: Amigo is visually impaired. He reads Braille and walks with a white cane. I mean, he can't see where the camera is pointing, so it's just a lucky shot that actually caught the corner of his head and hat.

    La Petite was home for the weekend, and they were bonding and giggling and taking pictures. He took more; the top one is my favorite. To the right is a shot he took of his sister's computer. That's a pillow reflected in the screen, by the way, not her screensaver.

    Happy Love Thursday, everyone.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Wednesday, March 07, 2007

    One Mother of Invention

    I give thanks for a relatively unknown inventor. Her name was Josephine Garis Cochrane, and she lived in Shelbyville, Illinois. (Ha-ha! No links. You'll have to figure it out for yourself or wait until the end of the post.)
    Mrs. Cochrane was descended from creative people. Her father designed bridges and machines, and her great-grandfather had built steamboats. Even though she lived in a time when women were not recognized for their industry, she put together a new and unique machine. She patented this in 1886 (guess it yet?).
    Amazingly, this tool was considered a novelty and even a gimmick, not essential, for decades. Not until the late 1950s did her innovative invention catch on.
    Need more? Mine broke down last summer. I replaced it, wishing it were a luxury, but knowing that in our two-income busy family we needed this item.
    Snowblower? Nope.
    Lawnmower? Not that, either.
    Microwave? Well, it's an essential in my home, but no.
    Coffeemaker? You know me too well. But no.
    HDTV? Give me a break.

    Josephine Garis Cochrane was truly a "Mother" of invention. She created and patented the first dishwasher.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Monday, March 05, 2007

    Super Mom Saves the World

    She can bring home the bacon,
    Fry it up in the pan,
    Get the kids to soccer
    In her perfect minivan...

    She's Super Mom, of course. Who else? Unappreciated, overworked, and unable to resist cleaning up after people, Super Mom gives us a peek inside our overachieving selves.
    In the midst of myriad work-related crises and home repair, it was a relief to lose myself in Super Mom Saves the World by Melanie Lynne Hauser. Birdie Lee, a.k.a. Super Mom, has her heart in the right place. Saving the world as she knows it, her hometown of Astro Park, involves watching her unathletic son survive Little League baseball, helping her daughter find a prom dress to complement her newly pink-streaked hair, and fighting off a desperate pass by her ex-husband, all while helping the PTA compete with the local Shriners in the quest to raise funds. And that's just in between shifts ridding the world of injustice!
    I identify with Birdie when she's cautiously teaching her daughter to drive and dealing with her son's adolescence, an experience that even homebaked cookies doesn't cure. Her discomfort with the transfer of funds from the arts to Astro Park's new sports complex is all too real in many school districts. But at the same time, I have to laugh at her motherly reactions.
    "Kelly Maria Lee, when I am done keeping the world safe for democracy, you are going to be grounded. Do you understand? You didn't use your turn signals once!"
    And as she and her family frantically separate for the final chase scene: "Be careful, don't talk to strangers, and look both ways when you're crossing the street!"
    Gotta love it. She's me, but in spandex, superhero cape, and high heels. Oh, yes, and minus the caffeine addiction.
    When I'm done cleaning up rabbit fur (darn those adorable bunnies) with my cool Swiffer duster, I'll bake some cookies for my oh-so-grown-up children and sit down with a good book. No Apron of Anticipation for me: just the anticipation of a good story that I can read and reread.
    Supermoms of the world, take a break and read Super Mom Saves the World. You deserve it.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Sunday, March 04, 2007

    Humor can raise spirits

    This all happened last night when I was overtired from a long, tough week and a long and tiring, though enjoyable, day. Husband has decided he wants a better blog nickname. La Petite was home for the weekend, and she joined in. Amigo (the former El Grande) stayed out of it, listening to a spring training baseball game. The conversation went something like this.

    Husband: What's my name on your blog?
    La Petite: You're El Husbando.
    me: No, it's just Husband.
    Husband: Boring. You can do better. I can do better.
    La Petite: How about the Mustachio One?
    me: What if he shaves?
    La Petite: He hasn't been in years, right? Don't worry.
    Husband: (grins)
    me: There must be something better.
    Husband: Kilgore!
    me: That's not fun. Not unless you enjoy the smell of napalm in the morning.
    Husband: He's cool! He blows things up!
    me: How about Tuttle?
    Husband: But he's imaginary!
    me: He's also cool. The women want to meet him, the men want to be him.
    Husband: But he's not real! And everyone important knows he's not real!
    me: He's good looking and smart and all those other amazing qualities. You could be Tuttle.
    Husband: Let's think of something else.
    me: How about something related to your model trains?
    La Petite: Mom, don't tell him he has a "cute caboose" again. That's embarrassing.
    me: You mean he can't be The Caboose on my blog?
    both: No.
    Husband: What's the name of the husband in the comic strip "For Better or for Worse?" He's a model train buff.
    me: Um, uh, the Mom is Elly, the kids are Michael, Elizabeth, and April, Michael is married to Deanna and has Meredith and Robin... I don't know the dad's name. He's a dentist! I know he's a dentist. And you're not.
    Husband (after a brief web search): Listen. "Elly's protagonist, John Patterson..." There you go!
    me: La Petite, we found a name. He's my Protagonist.
    Husband: No, no, no. I'm John!
    me: That's not your name, and it's boring.
    Husband: What do you call Husband?

    So he still doesn't have a new nickname. I rather like Protagonist, but we'll see.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Saturday, March 03, 2007

    And on the third hand...

    Today was Mixed Feelings Day. Not familiar with that one? That's because it doesn't exist. I could call it Of Two Minds Day, but that wouldn't cover it, either. There's too much going on. My mind keeps spinning, and I keep bringing it back before it spins out of orbit.
    On the one hand: I love my work teaching elementary school. I dread my job. I get stomach aches every Sunday night thinking of what may be waiting the next morning. It's not the kids; I teach some wonderful kids. It's not the co-workers; I work with a fantastic, creative, supportive team of teachers. It's a few noisy, nasty, know-nothings that make my job a living h-e-double hockey sticks. It has reached a point where I am reluctant to check my school email on weekends because it upsets me too much. Someone, but someone, needs to step in and tell these non-teachers it will do their children a lot more good to trust our knowledge and work with us rather than raise their swords and start a battle. This, I keep thinking, is what drives teachers out of their field.
    On the other hand: I spent today moonlighting in my other role as musician, judging a music festival in a small town near here. It was a wonderful, enjoyable day. The parent volunteers assisting in my room were supportive, polite, and positive. They went out of their way to treat all who entered, whether student or adult, with courtesy and respect. When I needed something (like a desk or table on which to write my critiques), I had only to ask, and it was provided. Eager middle school student volunteers brought around refreshment carts with water, coffee, and various snacks several times a day. The middle and high school performers played well, conversed with me, and in general, kept me smiling all day. This, I thought, is teaching at its best. It's the way teaching should and could be.
    But shoulds, as you know, are bogus.
    On yet another hand, I read this post today. I work closely with the special education teachers. I speak Spanish, while not fluently, fairly well. Students with special needs, behavior plans, and limited English skills are welcome in my class. These students need me.
    But on the other hand, how much longer can I put up with an administration that will not draw the line in the sand? How good is it for students, special or traditional, disabled or neurotypical, to have a teacher who is stressed-out to the point of illness?
    The answer is simple. No one can do their best work while feeling threatened. I need to feel safe, healthy, positive, and eager to go to work on Monday mornings. On one hand and all the other(s), extreme stress isn't good for anyone. Not my family, not my students, but most of all, not me.
    On all hands, something needs to change.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Friday, March 02, 2007

    Fifty Nifty Years of the Cat in the Hat

    Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss -- and happy birthday to his creation, the Cat in the Hat. What a wonderful legacy of reading pleasure he left with us.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Thursday, March 01, 2007

    Seuss on the loose -- the doctor is in

    I know it's a day early. Dr. Seuss' birthday is tomorrow. But for a Love Thursday post, what better way to honor his memory but to celebrate reading? Here are the answers to the trivia I posed earlier this week.

    If the answer's not right, it's an oversight.
    My files are at school, so memory's my tool.
    I'll make any changes in reasonable ranges
    After I check on your source, of course.

    1. How many words did Dr. Seuss use in writing The Cat in the Hat?
    2. Name one of Dr. Seuss' rare non-rhyming books.
    The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
    Bartholomew and the Oobleck
    (Are there more? Let me know if you know of another Sr. Seuss book sans rhyme.)
    3. The fox in Fox in Socks tries to interest what character in attempting several tongue-twisters?
    Fox in Socks and...Knox on Box!
    4. What is the name of the little boy in To Think that I saw it on Mulberry Street?
    5. (This one's a toughie) Dr. Seuss wrote a poem called "The Perfect Gift." What did he recommend as the perfect gift?
    the Fluff-footed frizzle-topped three fingered Zift
    6. Name the con man who talks the Sneetches out of their money by removing and attaching stars (upon thars).
    Sylvester McMonkey McBean, of course!
    7. Dr. Seuss did not illustrate this colorful book, published posthumously.
    My Many Colored Days
    8. Finish this phrase. "I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An ____________'s faithful, one hundred percent."
    An Elephant: Horton the Elephant, to be specific
    9. In The Sneetches and other stories, you'll find a story about a woman who named all her children this.
    Dave. The fun part is finding out what she WISHED she'd named them instead.
    10. How many hats did young Bartholomew Cubbins inadvertently wear?
    Oops, I gave this one away in number 2. He wore 500 hats.

    Happy Love Thursday -- and Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss. Thanks for the memories!

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Search & Win

    About 1 in 5 child deaths is due to injury. CDC Vital Signs


Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

    Copyright, 2003-2008 by OkayByMe. All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval without written permission from Daisy, the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. In other words, stealing is bad, and if you take what doesn't belong to you, it's YOUR karma and my lawyers you might deal with.