Friday, March 31, 2006

I can see clearly now

It has been an emotionally tough week for me, and I am glad it is Friday night. These are the kinds of weeks when I find music calms and soothes me. Here is the one that gives me comfort today. This is originally by Johnny Nash, but who is it that sings the version on the radio? Is it Carole King? I tried Googling her in connection with this song, and I couldn't find it. I wanted to post a link so you could listen to it. If someone knows, please let me in on it.

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun shiny day

I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I've been prayin' for
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun shiny day

Look all around, there's nothin' but blue skies
Look straight ahead, nothin' but blue skies

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun shiny day

FYI about comments

Just a little tidbit here. In the comments section of Dave's blog, which was frankly both hysterical and thought-provoking today, I was bemoaning the fact that he gets tons of comments and I don't, when someone brought to my attention that only people who are registered with Blogspot can comment. So for now, I changed the settings so anyone can comment. Now that I have done this for a few months, I am willing to give this a try. I am a bit leary, but we will try it and see. And for the record, I used to post anonymously all the time before I had a Blogger account, but I ALWAYS signed my name. I think that is only fair.
So Dee, Diane, and the kids' Godmother- all y'all can comment now, and I really hope that you do!

The Blue Bowl

Here is a wonderful poem I found at Sparrow's blog. I need to live this one a bit more than I currently am.

The Blue Bowl
All day I did the little things,
The little things that do not show;
I brought the kindling for the fire
I set the candles in a row,
I filled a bowl with marigolds,
The shallow bowl you love the best-
And made the house a pleasant place
Where weariness might take its rest.
The hours sped on, my eager feet
Could not keep pace with my desire.
So much to do, so little time!
I could not let my body tire;
Yet, when the coming of the night
Blotted the garden from my sight,
And on the narrow, graveled walks
Between the guarding flower stalks
I heard your step: I was not through
You came into the quiet room
That glowed enchanted with the bloom
Of yellow flame. I saw your face,
Illumined by the firelit space,
Slowly grow still and comforted-
“It’s good to be at home,” you said.
- Blanche Bane Kuder

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thursday pm

Well, I made it through the day without turning into the wicked witch of the northwest. Meaning all of us got through the day without any emotional hormonal outbursts, which is a big thing when you have a 13.5 yr old Boy, an 11 yr old Girl, and a 41 yr old woman with a funky thyroid living in the same house, believe me! A heartfelt thank you to Dy for your phone call today- when it comes to talking someone down, you do a damn good job.

At the moment I have 4 tweenagers in my living room, watching Princess Bride , giggling and folding my laundry. Good deal for me! Hey, is it just me, or did Peter Falk just do an amazing job as the Grampa/storyteller in this movie? Of course, I think all the actors did just fabulously in this one. Just one of the best movies of all times. It stuck to the story line in the book, was humorous, and adventurous.

Did you know there actually is a place called Guilder, and that there really are "Cliffs of Insanity", and a giant, etc.? They have a museum and everything.

Okay, that's all for now, mostly just letting Dy know the kids were still alive, lol. Now to make myself stay awake till the B girls' parents get here about 11 pm.


Healthy and yummy Indian food versus not so healthy but yummy pie

Donna is asking this morning for our fave healthy dinner to cook, and a not so healthy fave. I will start with not so healthy. Every year for my birthday (except this year, cuz I was sick and trying to eat better) Papa makes me a luscious lemon merangue (sp?) pie. For his birthday, I make him the thick rich one of a kind Atlas Cheesecake. The Girl likes an apple pie, and the Boy, chocolate cake. The neat thing is, these are the birthday person's special treats, and they don't have to share if they don't want to, though they usually do.

I am not sure I can narrow my healthy fun meals down to just one, but I will try. How 'bout Rogan Josh (a wonderfully spiced beef stew), Eggplant in a saffron cream sauce, Stuffed spiced okra, saffron rice, with homemade tomato onion raita, cucumber raita, lime pickle, and a mango lassi to go with the meal. A nice light lemon sherbet to cleanse the palate. Yum.

I have two Indian cookbooks. This one by Madhur Jaffrey, is my fave. I have made many of the dishes from many of the regions of India. If I want something very traditional, I reach for Jaffrey. All of her cookbooks are wonderful, but this one is nice for a sampling of regional fare, and the pictures are lovely.

The other book I have, which happens to have a really good Rogan Josh recipe, is called The Complete Book of Indian Cooking edited by Veronica Sperling and Christine McFadden. It is Indian recipes with more of an English flair- very basic recipes, good to springboard off of. Again, if I could only have one Indian cookbook, I'd choose Jaffrey, but the two work well together.

That's it for now, I am off to the tub for my morning listening soak, and then on to our day. Plans for today involve one last trip to In the Beginning, where the prices are now 75% off, or the whole bolt for $2.50 a yard; a short visit with Grandma, play rehearsal, and picking up the girls from the B family. We are watching them tonight, and the kids are very excited to get to play together. Schoolwork? Well, we will try to at least get latin, math, reading, and grammar in there today, and I think much of it will be car-schooling today.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The unseen listener

Have I told you how amazing it is to have musicians in the house? It is just amazing. I love this house, because you can hear the piano in every single room. Even in the bathroom with your head under water. So very cool.

The Girl practices her piano every morning after the Boy goes to his morning classes. I am usually in the tub during this time. She plays and plays, and I just get to listen. Happiness.

I don't want you to think I am favoring the Girl's instrument over the Boy's. I love the french horn, too, don't get me wrong, but practices are still frought with battles and frustrations, that it is hard to really just sit back and enjoy it, though I do my best. I love to listen to the Boy during his lessons with his teacher. She can motivate him so much more easily than I can, and they sound so good playing together. And I also love to hear Papa practicing on his guitar every night, but he is still a real beginner, and it is different, although still exciting, when he plays something I can recognize,lol.

Here is what I have been being treated to lately when the Girl has been practicing:
Bach: Inventio I & II, Musette
Bach: Bold Spirit
Beethoven: Fur Elise, Op.12, no. 2, Romance
Chopin: Prelude no. 4
Haydn: Konzert F-dur

She is also playing some Schumann, Grieg, Schubert, and a medley of Beattles songs (you would love to hear these, Dave)

Music is good, life is good. Listening to Genius being born while soaking in a hot bath is unbelievably good.

Is homemade dairy free ice cream still ice cream?

I am getting requests for my dairy free ice cream recipes from the WTM boards, so I will post it here. This recipe was originally from How Cooking Works. Papa and I modified it years ago, so the kids could have ice cream for their birthdays. You are only limited on variations by your imagination.

The basic vanilla coconut milk ice cream
4 cups coconut milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar (Papa likes superfine)
pinch of salt
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise, and scraped*

Stir the coconut milk and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved. Add the salt and vanilla and freeze in an electric or hand operated ice cream freezer.
Yields about 1.5t quarts

*throw all of your scraped beans into a jar, and fill it with sugar. Vanilla sugar is wonderful to bake/cook with.

Okay, now for some variations.

For more of a coconut flavor, lessen the vanilla or leave out the bean, and add some coconut. Yum!

For orange sherbet, instead of vanilla, add 1 TBSP of orangel oil, and some orange zest. If you make a batch of this, and a batch of vanilla, you have the makings for a Creamsickle! THe kids love this combo.

You could also use lemon oil and zest, throw in berries, etc.

We always do this in our old fashioned hand crank ice cream maker, and it is just wonderful to be able to have the real taste of ice cream, without the dairy.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006


That was a long day! Lots of time in the car- always makes it feel like a long day to me. Points of interest today:

1. Dr.s visit. Want the good news first? I do not at this point have any rheumatic illness. No lupus, no rheumatoid arthritis. Big huge sigh of relief. When the Dr. told me this, I must have smiled, for she informed me that good news that that is, that I am still very sick, and there are some concerns. Bad news is, although my thyroid meds keep being lowered, my TSH levels keep rising, which apparently means my body isn't excepting the meds. So I have a referal for an endocrinologist (Ironically, she referred me to the same endo. I asked my Dr. to refer me to over a year ago, and he refused.), and a referral for a female Dr. to be my primary care Dr. So, I still have a ways to go before I am healthy, and we need to get these hormones and thyroid leveled out so that I don't start having seizures again, our main concern. It would also be nice to not be so irritable all the time. At least I have a direction to follow, and a game plan. Whew!

2. Spent the whole afternoon picking kids up from Papa's work, dropping one off at Play rehearsal, then the other one to Piano lessons, then back to pick the first one up from rehearsal, then pick the other one up from piano lesson, etc. Big Whew! that I don't have to play taxi driver like this anymore than I already do!!!

3. We pulled into the driveway this evening just as Papa arrived from his walk from the bus stop. We grabbed our work gloves and headed out again. First to Kidd Valley for hamburgers and garlic fries for supper, then over to the East Side, to our friend's the B family. Mr. B. has a huge pile of old railroad ties that we are gleaning, to use to build more garden space. We are terracing the back yard, and this new level will run the width of the whole yard, and give us approximately 2/3 more room for veggies than we have now. I had about 20 tomato plants last year, I'd like to go for 40 this year. Papa will probably go over again tomorrow to get more ties. THe B's also have a nice big pile of horse doodoo. We want to get some of this too, but I still haven't even got my garden ready yet!! Whew! Lots of good work to do!

3.5 I didn't tell you about our new community service project did I? I know, I know, not another one! But like I keep telling myself, learning how to give freely of one's time is as important as Latin, Math, and History, if not more so. Anyhow, we went over to the B's on Sunday, to barbeque, and to talk about this project. Mr. and Mrs. B. also have a huge garden, and always experience a lot of extra produce. Now, as much as I loved coming home last summer from a visit to their house with a huge basket of zucchini, carrots, and many heads of lettuce (so much, that most of which I gave away), Mrs. B's plan is to keep each other inspired to garden, get the kids involved, and do kind of a community pea patch thing in her garden for those who don't have one, and ultimately to donate our extra produce to the food banks. Our food bank was on her list, which had all the food banks in this area listed, with the days they like their produce delivered, and the various veggies they do and do not like to receive. Cool, huh?!

4. We got home after 8 pm, and once everyone was washed, brushed, and flossed, we all snuggled into our bed, and I read 2 chapters of Drift House. This is a good story! We only have 3 chapters left! Papa has been suffering from a headache for the last 2 days, so before we read, I dosed him up with all my migraine meds, and he was snoring by the time I finished reading. Now all are tucked in except me, and my turn is now. I have been waking up at 6 this week, it takes me a while to actually get out of the bed, but it is a start. I have also been reading in the mornings again. I missed that.

Okay, there is more I could share with you, but I need to get to bed.

No Child Left Behind??

There was an interesting article on NPR this morning about how No Child Left Behind is affecting schools across America, specifically in relation to the quality/quantity of instruction in the subjects of history, science, and the arts, as opposed to the much-tested subjects of reading and math. Interesting.

It's Tuesday.

Bits of yesterday:
We went to the nursery, and got blue seed potatoes, a lemon balm plant for my beginning herbablist, and tons of seeds- everything from climbing vines for the fence in the front yard, to parsnip and beet seeds. The garden isn't even worked up yet- I really need to stop procrastinating (I have gotten so little accomplished lately, I am working on not feeling guilty and just moving on.) and get on with it!

While we were at Grandma's last weekend, Papa loaded up the trailer with wood and lawn mowers she wanted to get rid of. Last night, the 4 of us worked fast and furious, and got the wood stacked under the back porch. It is all very dry and will make good kindling for next year.

After beginning the evening with 13.5 yr old hormones, a bit of a temper tantrum, and a headache (Papa's turn), we ended up salvaging it with snuggling all together in the big bed while I sang the kids their nursery rhymes/love songs. 14 and 11 and they still love to be sung to sleep. The hard part now is that they are as big as I am, and I have to get them safely down the stairs and into bed. Funny.

Today's thoughts:
So today I have the followup appt. with the rheumatologist. I am curious what will happen there, but not nervous like I was last time. When you think you are going to be told you have a debilitating disease, you take your hunny with you. When you think you will get info on how to begin managing your transition to the crone stage of womanhood, you drop the kids off at your hunny's office, and enjoy the time away. Funny how a couple of weeks can change your whole perspective.

The Boy has a play rehearsal today. I should be able to get done with my appt, swoop by and pick them up from Papa's, then get him over to school. Other than that, we have a quiet day. Not nearly as much schoolwork as I would have liked got done yesterday, but I am hoping they will get some stuff done today.

Other than wanting to get to Dread Meyer's to see if they have any seed potatoes left, and buy some clothesline (I appropriated the clothesline last month when they wanted to sail the little boats Santa got them, but didn't want to lose them forever in Lake Washington.), that's it. It is supposed to rain, and looks like it will, but I hope it backs off this afternoon. So much to do!

Monday, March 27, 2006

A recipe for fake rice krispie treats

This is for Dy, even though her boys can have marshmallows, and for anyone else who, like my kids is allergic to corn, and can't have real marshmallows.

Date Balls
1/2 cup butter (I use cocnut butter)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 pound chopped dates (Santa was so sweet to bring me a new food processor for things like this!)
1 beaten egg
1 TBSP milk (I use rice, almond, or coconut milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts (or dried blueberries, coconut, maybe m & m's if you can have them)
2 cups rice krispies
1/2 tsp salt
choice of coating (nuts, bits, coconut, etc.)

Cook butter, sugar and dates until boiling over low heat. Add beaten egg, milk, vanilla, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook 2 minutes, cool. Add chopped nuts and cereal. Form into balls the size of a walnut. Makes 3 doz. Roll in nuts, coconut, melted chocolate or powdered sugar.
I got this recipe from Shelly in Il, from the WTM boards.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Warning: Curricula talk in this post.

So I finally got around to ordering the last of this year's curricula last week. This is the first thing I have received: How to Speak Politely and Why by Munro Leaf. This is such a sweet book. And no, it isn't too young for my kids. I think all of us, no matter what our age, can be helped by this book. My own usage of our language (yeah, wanna, gonna, etc.) needs some improvement.

Here's what's coming, in no particular order: CW Homer Instructor's guide and 2 workbooks. I know, I know, it hasn't been long since I bought Classical Composition, and never used it. I just do not feel confident in my study of progymnasmata/rhetoric/socratic dialog enough to teach this one. The point of using CC instead of CW was that we could get through all 14 progym. in 2 years. I guess I am just going to have to let go a bit, and go with CW, where with the help of the workbooks, I think I can do this. Now, does anyone I know need CC? I have enough for 2 students.

I bought an extra workbook for MathUSee Epsilon. I had thought the kids would breeze through this, and they could just share the textbook like they have in the past, but not so. They are really struggling right now with multiplication of fractions.

I also ordered the bundle for Latin for Children Primer B, and an extra activity book. Kids have watched the last video lesson, and are reviewing Primer A now. We will take MomBob's advice and do the chant cd all the way through this week for our end of the book review.

Also put in an Amazon order. Henle Latin Grammar, How to Behave and Why, also written by Munro Leaf, and Logical Thinking Skills, a book recommended by Jill, OK in VA, aka Crib Chickie Extraordinaire. Hopefully, this will do it for buying books for a little while. We have tons of good fiction and literature choices in the basement library now, we just need to get through the texts asap now.

Tweenager sibling rivalry

Moments in time today when I was noticing how the kids are being aroung each other:

I am loading up the dryer yet again, when from the kitchen I hear the boy singing "Rotten jellyfish spewing out your nose and on the floor.", in a rapping sort of manner, accompanied by the Girl chanting "spew, spew, spew", while stomping out the beat. I shake my head but say nothing, because they are in the same room together, working together to take care of the lunch dishes, together, without fighting. I am gonna go with that.

Later, I am trying to talk to my friend H on the phone. I give the kids directions, head upstairs and just begin to talk when the kids start SLAMMING DOORS AND SCREAMING AT EACH OTHER AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS. I hang up to do triage, then call her back 15 minutes later. We say 2 words and her daughter interupts her, needing math guidance.

A couple of hours later, the kids are supposed to be in their own rooms doing school work, and I hear giggles coming from the Girl's room. When he hears me in the hall, the Boy crawls through the connecting closet from the Girl's room to his room.

They love each other so very much, but are really struggling to get along with each other right now. The ups and downs of siblings in puberty at the same time.

It is amazing to me how much they are fighting right now. These two kids have always been extremely close, but right now it is all I can do to leave them in a room alone together. I have to admit, I never read any of the sibling rivalry books, because my two were so close, people used to mistake them for twins on a regular basis. They loved this, and enjoyed fooling grownups. One time, someone asked me how old my twins were. Again, not if they were, but how old. I didn't skip a beat, just pointed to the kids and said, "That one's 6, the other is 9." The look on this woman's face, tee hee. The kids giggling because she thought the Boy was a girl, and that they were they same age. Priceless.

Anyhow, puberty isn't helping thier relationship at all. But, from the above tidbits, it is good to be able to see that they do love each other, and have enjoyed each other's company. We just won't talk about the fact that they weren't studying, okay?


Thursday, March 23, 2006


It is spring here! It is still cool and wet, but it feels like spring!

I really need to start being integrity, and being up earlier. This is the time of year it gets easier for me to actually get up and function in the mornings. It is a challenge not being a morning person. I am not good at being smiley and warm and sunny first thing. Cheerful parent smoothly controling the morning routines and rituals? Not. It just so happens that the cheerful one leaves every morning. But I can do it, and want to be it. I have been doing the reading at night lately, and I am enjoying it, and it makes me want to get back to reading aloud them in a regular fashion. I miss it, and think it might help the way our mornings are going if I were to ease them into the day a little with reading and hugging on the couch. Now the hard part will be to train myself to do it without tipovers!

Off to take the Boy to his morning classes, and then they want to go work at the foodbank. Not sure when schoolwork is going to happen. I wish it wasn't a 30 minute drive- I would just come home and work, but I may end up helping out today. We have really been looking for ways for especially the Boy, but for both of them, to be out in the community in safe ways. The food bank is a good place for them to do it, I just wish it was a 5 minute drive. There is an Indian man working at the food bank, who has noticed I wear Indian clothes. Yesterday (Yes, we delivered food yesterday, after a month away from the foodbank!), he asked me if I liked Indian food, and 20 minutes later, he has me talked into coming and cooking Indian food for them for lunch someday soon. Too funny!! All I had to do was mention stuffed okra or curried eggplant and this man's eyes rolled to the back of his head. You know, you read that phrase in books, but I hadn't seen it in a while. Not today, today we will just hand out food, but maybe next time.

The other factor about volunteering is schoolwork. As important as volunteering is, isn't school supposed to be more so? Although I have to admit that it seems like the kids and myself are gaining many more insights into good character than we are declining latin. But there is just so much to be done, and the Boy has play practice twice a week in the afternoons, in addition to being gone for 2 hours every morning. I cannot wait for next year. Whatever else we do, we won't be doing it through the school district. Just got to manifest a french horn. As soon as we have one, he can quit band. It isn't that the teachers aren't hardworking or anything like that, but more that his horn teacher thinks he would be learning more in a small group of other french-hornists than he can in a middle/high school band experience.

Okay, rambling now. Off to do some more laundry, pet a kitty or two (and lift them off of laundry baskets), and pack snacks for the day. Have a great one, and yes, I will try to blog regularly.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Vacation catchup.

Hi! We're back. We have actually been back since Saturday, but I haven't had dsl service at all till just now. We had a lovely time in Portland. Staying at my sis's house was a great idea. They made us feel quite welcome with towels laid out over clean sinks, the remote controls, all five of them, labeled with operating instructions, etc. The kids watched way too much poor quality television, but we grownups had fun. We listened to music, watched a movie, cooked and ate, and read.

We also finally made it to Powell's Portland store on Thursday - the biggest of 5 Portland stores, if you can believe it, and then 5 wearhouses to boot! It was 5 stories of new and used books. We bought several new kids books, and a couple of history titles for Papa. I didn't get the one book that caught my eye- Quilting with Japanese Fabrics. Not sure why. I was actually disapointed in the books in the education section. After checking out the huge homeschooling section on the website, I expected to find more to interest me than I did.

After four hours in the store, where some of us sat and read, some researched new titles, and some of us wandered and explored the entire 5 stories of the building, (going from one familiar face to another, declaring his immediate famishing starvation) we decided to move on. We didn't even overspend.

In order to head off teenage starvation, the Boy actually asked the parking attendant where good food could be had, and navigated the streets of Portland (okay, so he only had to go around the block) to find Henry's Tavern. The food was great, the waitress very nice to the kids, and it was fun to eat in a fancy restaurant. And bonus- next door to the restaurant was a Whole Foods store, where we found desert choices for all of us, including Baklava, complete with dripping honey, and allergy-safe coconut macaroons.

On Friday, Papa left early in my sis's Miata to navigate his way to his Cytometry meeting. I slept in till a luxurious 8:30 am, showered and started breakfast, then got the kids up and told them to do a quick tidy so the house would be clean for their Aunt and Uncle. I noticed the Boy was whiny and didn't look good. Turns out he read way to late, and ended up sleeping with the light on, and felt like it. I sent him back to bed, and enjoyed some time with the Girl, watching her play the piano that belonged to her paternal Great, Great Grandmother, brushing her hair, and reading side by side on the couch. Then I napped while she piano-ed some more. It was great that my sis got home later than we had planned- the nap was great for both the Boy and the Mama.

The afternoon was laid back and relaxing. My brother in law and I simultaneously cruised the internet on our laptops, while I made morrocan chicken stew. I filled a favorites folder for him while I was there- all classical, latin centered stuff. Funny- this man just got his teaching degree, and has barely heard about the classical education model. Sad. Very sad. I have been trying to get him to read The Well-Trained Mind (at the very minimum) for the 3 yrs I have known him. He keeps asking me how he is supposed to read this stuff. I showed him my current books of study, and it seemed to really scare him. Hmmm.

Back to Friday afternoon- my sister's daughter and her two kids came over in the evening and had supper with us. It was fun to visit and the cousins enjoyed seeing each other again. Papa got home about 8 pm, and over a glass of wine in the quiet living room, he told me about his day, and how he was not going back on Saturday, as most of the meeting was by the venders. Salesman smoozing. Not as important as scientist smoozing. Which meant he could come with us on Sat.

On Sat, my sis had to work, so Papa, the kids and I all followed Uncle J's car into Portland again, to visit the OMSI. We had a great time, except for the moment in the snack bar where I was trying to find ANYTHING healthy to buy the starving teens (who had left the nuts in the car), and one of them was lobbying for a pretzel, and Uncle J was trying to make suggestions, and Papa had walked back to the table, and I realized it has been hard for me to function in crowds lately. We pulled it out and had a great time. The kids enjoyed it as much as the last time we were at OMSI, also with Uncle J.

From there, we headed onto I-5, and home. The kitties did fine while we were gone, and even acted like they missed us.

And here it is, a week later, and I am almost caught up with the laundry, and I actually unpacked the suitcases yesterday.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Yes, vacation.

I am signing off, we are an hour or so from takeoff- car is loaded, just waiting for the horn teacher, Papa, and ice, in that order. I am packing significantly less books, but still 3 bags full,lol.
Have a great weekend,

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


And we're off to Portland. Well, we spent all day packing for it as a start today. I have not one but four bags packed. Books on classical ed to nature sketching, to quilting, and about 5 sketchbooks, all my art stuff, and books to sharewith my brother-in-law, a new public school teacher. Also a rubbermaid tub of food.
It was all I could do to not bring fabric or my machine. I may yet rethink this. But it is supposed to be a vacation. We have plans to visit the zoo, Powell's, spend one day with my sister, and Papa will be attending the NW Cytometry Meeting, and doing a lot of smoozing. I struggle with this: The kids are poopy, are not working up to speed without complaint, and are really suffering hormonally right now. Do I want to push reading good books (that they have supposed to have read weeks ago, and really need to be read before we start Vol. 4.), or do I have them pick 2 r 3 they would like to read, call it good and then move on? Aarggh. The pains of being responsible for your kids' education. It is good, just challenging at the moment. Do I force them to read while we are there? What else are they gonna do? That's what *I* want to do. Do I just let them pick whatever they want at the bookstore?
Okay, nuff of that. Sounds like Papa needs re-enforcement in the kitchen.

So, I am not sure about

Monday, March 13, 2006

Early Memories

Dave has a neat story on his blog tonight, talking about his earliest childhood memories. Got me to thinking about my own first memories. How far back can you go? Isn't it amazing how our memories arre linked to our senses. Anyhow......
The very first 3 things I can remember all relate to my Grandma Gladys's house in Milwalkie, OR. The very first one is laying on the floor, I think having a diaper changed, at about the age of two. My head is near a low bookcase/shelf/piece of furniture, and I am looking underneath it, examining the texture of the wood.

The second memory is sitting on my Grandma's counter, eating cinnamon toast while she mops the floor on her hands and knees. Maybe three yrs old.

There was a huge willow in the backyard, near the back deck. My big brothers used to braid several branches together, then swing out off the deck, giving a Tarzan yell as they flew. Sometimes I got to be Cheetah, and would hang onto their backs. Maybe 4 yrs old.

Let me know if you blog about your early memories. Cool. Thanks, Dave.

Monday's post, cont.

It is almost 10 am. I have the bills sorted, some taken to P.O. already.
Laundry keeps going round, but lots to fold.
Will pick Boy up in an hour, head to East Side, stop at TJoe's, picking stuff ujp for Mom and to fill our bare cupboards.
Maybe a stop to the curricula store if time.
Mom's appt is at 2 or 2:30, hopefully kids will study compliantly while the 3 sisters focus on Mom and her evaluation.
Will check in later. Yeah, I am okay, tired but okay.

Sorry to keep you waiting so long.

It took me a couple of days to digest all the info from the Dr., and then my DSL was out all weekend.
First off, the good news: I do not have Lupus or any other rhuematic illness. Nothing degenerative.
Apparently, what has been going on is that I know my body, an d whether my Dr. thinks I am too young to be experiencing the joys (not) of menopause or not, that is what appears to be causing all the pain and agony. So after a little delay where I let a Dr. I don't really want to be using convince me that I have an illness, when what really needed to be happening was an overhaul of my hormonal system. If I had a penny for every time I tried to tell this may I was experiencing menopausal symptoms........

The bad news: and really not so very bad when you think what we were going in to hear, is that we need to get my hormonal system back on track, fast. Regardless of the cause, month long headaches are not good.

There is tons more stuff going on here, since Thursday, and on into this week. We are supposed to leave for Portland on Wed, and I have bills to pay, laundry to do, decluttering, not to mention teaching the kids, and being at my Mom's today while she has an appt. with the Community Services for the Blind people.

I will try to post more later,

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Too much going on to blog about.

Lots of stuff going on here. Lovely gifts from the universe, school, life, etc. I know I owe y'all a big blog entry later today, but for now I am focusing on getting the kids ready for their day, and me for mine. Today is the rheumatologist appt. so think positive thoughts. I am taking Papa with me, for support. I have lots to tell you, but will wait till later.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hard to do justice with words to such a good day.

What a wonderful day yesterday!
First, I slept in till 10 am. Wonderful and necessary when you aren't sleeping well at night. Kids took it upon themselves to make pancakes. They came out fat and heavy, but I sweetly choked one down and praised them well like a good mama.

Ran to the Dread Meyer to buy everyone new gardening gloves. Stopped back at home and threw them out the car window towards Papa. Then I went back to the fabric store- the one that is having the closing sale. I bought even more than I had on my birthday, but the good news is, I now have a wonderful palette of Japanese fabrics to work with!

I stopped by the Hangout for a quick lunch of F & C, and was able to sit and talk a little bit with OFWITWW (our favorite waitress in the whole world) between her customers. Good to connect with her.

After that, I came home and did some work in the garden. Just for the record, I really do not like to garden, but I do love fresh fruit, veggies and flowers, so I do it anyway. I got the tomato beds, the asparagus bed, and the little patch where the grapes are all weeded yesterday. None of them huge beds, but the good part is that I was able to do it much faster than Saturday, with much less resting. Feeling stronger every day. I think today, I may move the asparagus to the old tomato beds. We are planning on building new beds for the toms this year, and the asparagus just isn't doing well where it is. I need to get some manure to put in all these beds, but the store I usually get it the cheapest at didn't have any yesterday. Well, as everything is still pretty much dormant, it can wait a few days.

After a nice simple supper, we had a fabulous time. Can't really put it into words, but I will try.
Papa put Soft Parade on the stereo upstairs, and turned it on loud, so all could hear it through the house. Kids came up and the three of us took a dance break- danced with wild abandon till we about dropped! I can't even remember the last time I had so much fun with the kids, and felt so free. Hard to verbalize, but was really amazing. Music soothes more than the savage beast! It also helps strengthen the sickly ones!

Then we got back to our routine, albeit a bit late. Got the Girl in the tub, and washed her hair squeaky clean. Hard to do it yourself when it is so very long. Meanwhile, Boy was upstairs doing some computer research for a paper I am having him write. Then Boy's turn in the shower, and Papa braided Girl's hair. While the kids and the Dude were thus occupied, I spread fabric all over the bed- I think I have ideas now for all 6 panels of the screen I am planning. The Japanese fabrics are so rich and luscious, I know I am going to love working with them. My creative juices were flowing for the first time in a year. Boy did that feel good!

After everyone was bathed, brushed, and flossed, and I had quickly sketched and then put away the fabric piles, each parent grabbed a kid, and we all snuggled in, listening to Coleman Hawkins do his thang the way no one else can. It wasn't stories, but every once in a while, spontaneity is a great thing!

Kids were helped downstairs and tucked in, and then so were the parents. I did not sleep again last night, mostly due to another case of night-time hives, but I didn't fret about it either. Instead, I designed about 20 quilts in my head. Just layed there and let the ideas pour in and waft out. It truly was a productive day, and a wonderful evening.

Today's plans:
1. I have to get my paperwork in order for my rheumatologist's appt. on Thursday. Tons of past med. history forms, and an illness diary from this last round. Hey if it helps, I'll do it!

2. Want to do a bit of gardening today. Need to start weeding the main veggie bed.

3. I need to study up on the subject of Latin and why it is a good thing in a classical education, so I will be prepared to lead tomorrow night's Classical Homeschool Support Meeting.

4. Kids and I will meet, and plan their school week in their planners. I am also hoping to make time for some reading aloud to them- not enough of that happened while I was sick. Also have to remember to get Boy to his play rehearsal this afternoon.

5. Also want to do a bit more design work on the quilt, and get the portable design board made today.

6. Need to spend some time figuring out my digital camera. I have so many pics I want to post, but I am such a computer/techie wus it isn't even funny!

7.. Oh yeah, plan and execute a dinner that uses the eggplant or okra that need to be eaten. Best get out my Indian cookbook for that! So much to do, so little time! Best go get started!

Have a lovely day, all. Enjoy it!


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Blueberries are in!

I went to bed with my head pounding, and woke up with it still feeling that way, even with the Vicadin I took. I thought about being melancholy again, and considered just staying in bed all day, but the sun beckoned me out, so I decided to just work through it. That was a good plan. Good choice!

I worked in fits and starts, resting often, and it took all day, but I got the whole blueberry bed (6' X 16' at the widest point) weeded, and the new bushes planted. I have room for a couple more bushes. The Sunset Garden Book says to allow 2 bushes for each person in the household. They don't know how much I love blueberries, I guess. I have 6 now, I'd like about 6 more. That ought to do it for a family of four don'tcha think?

I didn't get the sweet peas or the lilac in, but I still have time. Patty tells me that the traditional time to plant sweet peas is St. Patrick's Day, so I am okay for a couple of weeks.

The sun felt wonderful, and I was a good kid and wore my new sun hat all day. It fits well, doesn't get in the way, and best of all, doesn't look dorky. Cool. At one point, it was warm enough that I was just in shirt sleeves. The robins were singing, too. I enjoyed that.

Papa made oven-fried chicken and potato salad for supper, Girl did the dishes, and now they are all outside by the fire pit. I think I will bundle up a bit and go join in the fun, as much as I would like to just curl up in bed with the Count.

Bizarre American Holidays

You can find out what wierd holidays are shared with your birthday at this site. Hat tip to Carrie for this wierd but fun link.

The Girl's birthday is National Handwriting Day, National Pie Day, and Measure Your Feet Day

My birthday is Old Stuff Day (What exactly does that mean?)

Papa's birthday is Friendship Day and National Raspberry Cream Pie Day

and the Boy's birthday is National Honesty Day


Friday, March 03, 2006

Gifts from the Universe

I don't know if it is the fact that I have recently realized how wonderful it is to be alive, or that I have been slowly decluttering the house and clearing space for new things to come into my life, or what, but the universe is seeing fit to present me with many wonderful gifts right now.

First there were the birthday treats yesterday- lunch and a hot drink, that I didn't have to pay for. That was such a treat!

Then my sister bought a new digital camera, and decided to gift me with her old one. I need to read all the instructions, and figure out how to get it to talk to my laptop, but I am hoping I will be able to post pictures on my blog very soon. I think being able to post my creative endeavors will help me in creating them. This was cool.

But here is the really cool thing that has happened this week. I have been reading the blogs of about 20 art quilters on a regular basis since I got this laptop 3 months ago. One of my faves is Melody Johnson. Her quilts are amazing, beautiful, and inspiring to me. Her dear husband Dave, has only been blogging for about a month, but already he is a daily read for me. He has a delightful humorous style, and like myself, is prone to spontaneous poetry. How could I not love that?

To get back to the story, early this week, Dave had a contest (Scroll down to Friday, Feb. 24th for the details), and I won! Read the details and see the pictures of the grand prize here. I kept it a secret from Papa till yesterday, when Dave sent me an email with the tracking number. He is so very excited. Just pickled tink, as Patty would say. I am so pleased for him. He has needed a guitar for a long time, and it was breaking my heart to see his 6 ft. tall frame bent over the kids' toy-sized guitar. He never once complained, but he is so excited about this beautiful gift.

So, for whatever reason, I seem to be learning to be open to gifts from the universe. Cameras and picked up lunch tabs are great, but friendships are the greatest!


The Birthday

Yesterday was a swell birthday. I got to sleep in till 8 am, and was immediately wished "Many happy returns of the day" by the Girl, and given my gift of a new hairbrush (she took mine to Cal and left it there). Then up comes the Boy, who flops on my bed and says, "Happy Barf Day." Lovely. Papa fixed a lovely breakfast, then I went outside for a bit. I am not sure why, but I woke up very sad yesterday, and at first, I made myself feel guilty for this. It was very blustery, but sunny all day. It almost always rains on my birthday, so this was a nice gift from the universe (gifts from the universe needs to be the topic of my next post). Papa joined me outside, I had a little cry, and he broke out in song with "It's your birthday, you can cry if you want to..." and then the kids trickled out of the house, blowing bubbles in the wind. My sadness just sort of evaporated right then and there.

We went over to our old neighborhood, hitting the nursery first. Not only did I come home with two blueberry bushes and a lilac bush, but several little plastic pots of treasures- miniature daisys and creeping thyme (I want to make a miniature garden in a pot), some other flowers to add to the cutting garden, and several packs of heirloom sweet pea seeds. While I was looking at seeds, Papa found a wonderful floppy brimmed sun hat for me. I am supposed to stay completely out of the sun, and this will really help keep it off my face. I was continually pleased with punch yesterday at how often the Papa Dude thinks of me.

Our next stop was to our old fish and chips hangout. As we pulled into the parking lot, a huge red truck (with flames painted on the sides, and those mudflaps with a chrome Barbie leaning back tattooed on them) pulled in behind us. A chorus of excited "Yay, it's Mr. Brown!!!" 's ensued, and the kids rushed to get out and greet our old neighbor, Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown is fairly young in his late 60's, but has been crippled by various spine, back, and hip injuries and arthritis for as long as we have known him (13 yrs now). He is a crusty and grumpy old man on the outside, but has a sweet inside. I cannot tell you how (or why, really) it made my day to see him! We hugged and chatted, and I kissed him on the cheek about 10 times. He headed inside the restaurant to chat with the other "old guys", a group of 8 old-time regulars. The kids ran around and played a bit while Papa and I walked out on the dock, stopping now and again to neck a little. More of the melancholy melted away.

We headed inside and the kids headed straight for the old guys, chatting and reciting their current poetry memorizations for them, and old tradition we have. We then hugged our Favorite-Waitress-In-The-Whole-World, and ordered a small lunch- just fries for the kids, one piece of fish for me, and chowder for Papa. FWITWW tells us Mr. Brown already picked up the tab. Another amazing gift from the universe on my birthday! Another kiss on the cheek for Mr. Brown, a hearty chorus of goodbyes from the old guys, and we were off.

We headed home, for Boy had a play rehearsal he couldn't get out of. As we walked into the house, the phone rang, and I was serenaded with a conference call from the kids' Godparents. Talked to Godmother for half and hour, which I thoroughly enjoyed, then I climbed into the tub and promptly fell asleep. Felt good. Got out and changed into my new birthday outfit, complete with the black capey thing I bought last month, and off we were again.

We dropped the kids off at J's house, one of the nature study moms. I had given my kids a choice as to whether they wanted to stay alone, go to Grandma's and watch mindless tv and play video games, come to dinner with us, or go to J's to play with her 4 and 7 yr old boys, and that's what they picked!

We had a delightful Chinese meal, one of the best I have ever had, and then headed to In The Beginnning, a wonderful quilt shop which is going out of business. Yesterday was the first day of their clearance sale, and all fabrics were 25% off. Papa was so good, carrying my coat, holding bolts of fabric, giving me color opinions- all the other fabric hounds in the store were very impressed, complimenting him (or rather, me, on my choice of him,lol) left and right. I came out with a large bag full of Japanese prints, and let's just say I saved $30.

At this point, J called to ask us to stay out longer,lol. We hit a Starbucks, where the lady behind the counter treated me to a caramel apple cider! Another birthday gift from the universe. Papa and I chatted about school goals for the kids, and then we headed back to J's to pick up the kids, who had had a wonderful time. Got home about 10 pm, tucked them into bed, and headed upstairs, where my wonderful man tucked me in and showed me again how much he loves me. All in all, a very lovely birthday. Character lessons were learned, tears were shed, laughs were had, sunshine was felt, kisses given, Happy Birthdays sung. The good stuff.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to me.
Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday,
Happy Birthday to me.

I woke up in a melancholy way. I have tried to blog 3 times so far, but nothing comes to me. So I am off to spend the day with my super family. We are off to pick out my birthday blueberry bushes now. It is a great day.