Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Kids are more important than blogs, but not as much fun right now.

I know I owe you an update of our wonderful weekend, but right now I am busy parenting. Kids are in the middle of teenage angst, and I am in the middle of tomato staking. Sigh. Say a little prayer for me. I will be back to the blogging world as soon as I can. Ugh.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Folklife Festival, day 1

It is 10:30, and the kids and I just walked in the door! After an impromptu visit and chick-drawing session, I had my physical therapy, then the kids and I headed for Folklife. We enjoyed Native American folktales from the Olympic Peninsula (thankfully the storyteller was under a canopy, because it rained hard), Bosnian folkdance, Northern Indian and Southern Indian song and dance, belly dancing (!!), and 2 drumming workshops. We also enjoyed Polynesian chicken kebabs, curly fries, samosas, and 2 rounds of mango lemonade! We shopped a little, and danced and sang. A great evening was had by the three of us. Tomorrow we leave early and take Papa with us! I hope it isn't raining again!

Baby chicks are doing well, and are really getting used to being held.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Baby Chicks Update!

The Girl is so very excited. She has been reading books on chickens for over a month now, learning as much as she can to prepare to be the best chicken caregiver she can. We are still trying to find a big appliance box to be their brooder- until then, they are living in the top of the car-top luggage carrier, lol.

We drove all the way out to Enumclaw, where she ended up purchasing two kinds of Wyandottes- Silver and Golden-laced. Here is a picture of a golden-laced hen, and one of a silver-laced hen. Of course, we are doing our best to call all the chicks "she" and "her" to manifest as many females as possible, but there may be a cock or two in there. That is why we bought 10, when she only really wants 6.

Here also is a picture that the store owner gave the Girl when she saw how interested she was in all the chickens. Girly wants to hang it on her wall.

That is all for now- I need to get them going on lunch, and the Girl needs to practice piano before her lesson today.

I'm here, really!

Sorry for the lack of bloging this week- there seems to be some of that going around- many of my fave blogers haven't had much to say this week. I suspect, that like me, they are busy living life and not as available to write about it!

I will try to catch up later today, but suffice to say, we have been busy buying, tuning up, and licensing a van (yes, Pamela, we found one!), having nature study/art lessons, watching ravens, buying school books, visiting Grandma, cleaning living rooms, house and dog-sitting, having a mammogram, and an after-play cast party where all too much sugar was consumed, quilting, eating, sleeping, headache fighting, etc.

This morning we plan on adding baby chick purchase to the list, so I best be going and will try to update later today.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Yay! I finally got it done!

With the help of Papa and the Girl, I got the last of my seeds in. Planted as of today: cantelope, yellow and green zucchini, yellow crookneck, spaghetti squash, white and orange pumpkins, and lemon cucumbers. yay!

Everything is starting to come up, and much of my root bed needs to be thinned and weeded. Soon.

The Girl is now making fresh lemonade to take to her new piano teacher's recital tonight. The Girl isn't performing, as she just started working with the teacher this week, but it will be fun to go listen to her other students.


Belated Bird of the Month

I know we are 3 weeks into the month, but it has taken me this long to be inspired by a bird this month. I was thinking about making the Robin the BOTM, due to his beautiful singing keeping me company in the garden, but then something amazing happened. We were visited by a raven. I had never seen one before in all my 41 years. He was regal in his sleek, calm way. Very beautiful. Then he visited us again, and then again. So the Raven is now officially the BOTM.

Enjoythe day. I am heading out to the garden.

What I am listening to

My daughter is happy again. She has a new wonderful piano teacher who is driving her hard. And that is just the way my Girly likes it.

I get the wonderful priviledge of listening to her practice Fur Elise, Opus 14 no 2, the first and second movements, all by Beethoven, and the Opus 36 no. 1 by Clementi.

I also get the priviledge of hearing the Mozart Horn Concertos, played on a new mellow-sounding french horn.

Sweet sigh. Life is good, so very good.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ten things my mother taught me

From Diane over at Circle of Quiet.

Ten things my mother taught me: These are in random order, and it surprises me how many of them she taught me by telling them to me, but not following them herself, and allowing me to see her mistakes. I love my mom. I really do. I am so thankful to have time to spend with her each week. Let me know if you do this.

1. To watch the clouds, and enjoy looking at the sky.

2. How to make use of what you have available.

3. That you can do whatever you set your mind to if you believe in yourself.

4. That smoking is very bad for you, and you should never start.

5. To always be on time for appointments and meetings.

6. That it is important to make time for your art.

7. How to make a bed with hospital corners, and how to fold a fitted sheet neatly.

8. How to enjoy yourself while digging in the dirt.

9. That hate doesn't hurt the person being hated, but eats the hater up from the inside out.

10. How to build a fire, and light it without burning yourself.

What I do

I AM: Short and voluptuous, and like myself that way.

I SAID: Aaaggghhhh! I can't think of anything to write here!

I WANT: The mini-van we are looking at tonight to be "the one".

I WISH: My kids would do their chores on their own with integrity.

I HATE: The word ain't.

I MISS: My friend Shi, and living an hour from NY City.

I FEAR: Climbing the last rickety ladder up to the treehouse.

I HEAR: Water running, the Boy coughing, the computer humming.

I WONDER: Who is William Hung?

I REGRET: Not attending church with my kids on a regular basis.

I DANCE: Every year at Folklife Festival to the marimba music.

I SING: folk songs and nursery rhymes, Jimmy Buffet, and John Prine.

I CRY: At the drop of a hat, and sometimes even when I am happy. Hormones.


I MADE: A salmon leek quiche today.

I WRITE: better than I think I do, but not as well as I would like.

I CONFUSE: My son. A lot.

I NEED: A foot massage and a back rub.

I SHOULD: Do a little quilting tonight.

I START: My day with a long hot bath and a book.

I FINISH: My day kissing my kids once for every year they are old, and saying "Sweet dreams".

I BELIEVE: That my kids have the power to be polite caring grownups someday .

I KNOW: That I can do whatever I set my mind to.

I CAN: write with both hands.

I CAN'T: Roll my tongue or roll my R's.

I SEE: a table full of legos and boxes of books I am supposed to mail to Dy.

I BLOG: Almost every day.

I READ: Children's fiction more than adult.

I AM AROUSED BY: A certain pair of blue eyes giving me "that look".

I FIND: Cat barf with my bare feet at 2 in the morning.

I LIKE: The warm sun on my face.

I LOVE: The sound of my children's laughter.

I got this one from Laney over at Press On. Let me know if you do it, or leave it in my comments.

The Thespian success

The Boy was a huge hit last night in his thespian debut. He ennunciated well enough for his deaf mother to hear him, which was a big deal, so many of the other performers just mumbled their lines, his guestures were good- not too much, not too little, and he kept his French accent all through the play.

The drama instructor from another middle school sought him out after the performance to complimnet him on these things, too. That meant a lot to him. All of our guests, both the Godparents and my friend David, are all involved in theatre, so thier compliments really meant a lot to us.

So now, in addition to all the other things I am trying to provide for the kids, an all year drama course is in there too!

We have food bank deliveries today, but no morning classes for the Boy. I am hoping we actually can get to some schoolwork- with one thing an another, we have done very little over the last two weeks.

I am fighting a headache this morning- I think it is the pollen blowing around, so I am going back to bed for an hour or so. I'll check in with you later.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Break a leg, Boy!

The Boy has his play tonight. They are doing the King's New Clothes. Yeah, I know, it isn't Shakespeare, but the Boy is excited about it, so that is good enough for me.

He will be playing "Guy", the brains of the 3 evil tailor dudes who convince the vain King whose kingdome is crumbling that they can make invisible clothes that only smart people can see. Of course, they want the king to give them the last of his gold for this service.

We have all been helping him read his lines, and listening to him rehearse so much over the last couple of months that if the Boy has any trouble with his lines, the threee of us can shout them out for him from the audience, lol.

His Godparents, and our dear friend L (the one who always takes the kids out for their birthdays and buys them books), and her son David, my cooking buddy will all be there to support him, too. I will be helping out by selling tickets before the show.
Break a leg, Boy!

A side note, my appt. went well this morning, but I will be taking even more meds than I am now. Three different kinds of thyroid. Whew! I went out and bought myself one of those weekly divided pill cases with spots for am and pm. Kinda made me feel old. Anyhow, he thinks my hot flashes, the mystery illnesses in Nov and Feb, and my female troubles are not due to early menopause but to lack of thyroid functioning and impoper meds. We shall see, we shall see.

Gotta go make an early supper and get the Boy ready to go.

Teenage survival mantras

Whose to say whether the following mantras are for my survival or his.

I can do this.

I love my job. I love my job.

I am peace and inspiration.

I am calm, cool, and collected.

I am cool as a cucumber.
I am a cool lake.

I am an iceberg.
A huge, very cold, freakin' iceberg. Breathe.

I am a glacier. I am cool. I am calm. I am chilled. I am freakin' enormous and I will wear down anything in my path. I am cool. I am calm. (I found it! It was from Poppins, not the Crib Chick, though she helps keep me sane, too! Click here and scoll down to Sept. 21st to read the original post.)

I will not throttle my 14 year old, because that would not be very cool.
And I am cool.
As a cucumber.

Keep repeating any or all of the selected mantras when throughout your day your 14 year old gets whiny, demanding, or downright rude. And as Dy says, "Keep loving him through it."

That's all I got for now- got to hang some wash out before it's time to go to the endocrinologist.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Weekend update

Well, we all made it through the weekend. The birthday party went well, except for one tense moment when a certain Boy we all know and love decided to escalate the water balloon fight by putting red food-colored water in the water balloons. This plan was thankfully discovered before executed, his red hands being the tip-off. Sigh. Can you just see me trying to explain why the guests' white t-shirts (or even worse, their faces!) were covered in red splotches of color?! Reminder to self: The next time we do water balloons, there needs to be a big target down in the field, so balloons are not thrown at people.

Other than that, we had a nice visit with my Mom yesterday, Papa spending most of the time digging up plants to add to his cottage garden. I got more potatoes and tomatoes planted- I now have 36 tomato plants! My goal for today is to get the pumpkin, squash, and cucumbers in the ground. I transplanted some lettuce, too. This is the first time my head lettuce has actually headed up. It looks so cute and yummy at the same time.

Oh- Pamela- he dug up this beautiful sedge plant that would look fabulous near your pond. It likes water. Would you like some of it? We really thought of you when he was digging it up.

While I was planting potatoes, some ants crawled into my kneepads, and bit my knees! Little biters! Ouch!

I was craving Indian food again yesterday, so made a wonderful feast of Rogan Josh, dry cauliflower, cucumber raita, saffron rice, and wonderful lassis made with leftover homemade coconut ice cream from the Boy's party. Yummy good food.

Oh- the Boy is in his final week of play frenzy. They perform for the students today, and then do the evening performance tomorrow night. He will be supported by several friends and loved ones in the audience. Should be great fun. I will get to sell tickets before the show. He is nervous and excited. Break a leg, Boy!

Other than the play, and gardening, and my visit to the endocrinologist tomorrow, the Girl will have her first lesson with her new piano teacher this week. She is very excited to get started. It has been hard for her to work independently these last 6 weeks.

Okay, that's it for now, gotta go hang out the wash- it is supposed to 85 degrees out today- I need to take advantage of that and hang as much wash as I can today.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Where I'm from

I am from the big blue quilt, from Velveeta "cheese" and four-inch thick sandwhiches loaded with MiracleWhip I made for myself after playing outside all afternoon.

I am from the red and white rambler on 75th street; the bedroom I painted purple from whose window I watched the evergreen trees waving in the wind, their branches changing shape in the shadowy moonlit night to look like wolves or flying birds.

I am from the huge thistles we collected from the vacant lot and brought back to Mom to put in a vase, the plum and cherry trees in the back yard whose branches I climbed and whose fruit I consumed.

I am from looking at the night lights of the city and appreciating the clouds in the sky with my Mom; and my little sister and I crinkling up our pug noses when we giggle, from feeding ducks with Gramma Gladys and sitting on her counter eating cinnamon toast while she mopped the kitchen floor on hands and knees, and swinging on the branches of the willow tree, being Cheetah to my brother's Tarzan.

I am from high cheekbones and stick-straight thick hair. From "You are built just like your Gramma." and "You can do anything you want to if you set your mind to it."

I am from Seventh Day Adventists and Methodists; Vacation Bible School, and Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam. From keeping the Sabbath on Saturdays and singing Bible songs with a family of gypsies.

I'm from Tillamook Oregon and the Umatilla tribes of Pendleton, from the Tillamook Cheese Factory and walks to 7-11 with my sister for Slurpees.

From the story of how I was born so many weeks early and wasn't supposed to live, and was small enough to fit in a shoe box, and how I slept for the first year of my life on my mom or dad's chest; from moving the furniture and rolling up the rugs on weekend nights and dancing on top of my dad's feet to Glenn Miller, and getting a lesson from my mom on how to "shimmy" to Elvis or Rockin' Robin.

I am from trips to Oregon to visit my grandparents, from the family pictures displayed on my mother's hallway walls, from playing down the dead-end road with my sister, from traveling to Europe all by myself, from so many children whose nanny or teacher I have been; from meeting my true love at work and trying to memorize the names and birth order of his 9 siblings.

I am from the cabin under the mountain where my first child was born, from the sounds of music wafting through my farmhouse. From the future I know not yet.

Hat tip to Amy, and Dy, and directions for doing one of your own here. If *I* can do it, so can you! Let me know if you do it, or put it in my comments if you don't have a blog.

Just a tidbit for you before I toddle off.

Just found the link to this wonderful blog-article all about reading aloud to children at Circle of Quiet. HT to Diane.

I'm feeling much better now.

I really am. My massage therapy went better today, and I made sure I have been drinking tons of water since I got home- makes all the difference in the world. So did not having to listen to country music. Don't get me wrong- I can dig good soulful twang with the best of them, I just hate the stuff they play on the commercial stations. It all sounds like, "My wife left me for my best friend and she took my dog with her." to me. Give me the good ol' sounds of Buffet, or John Prine, or K.D. Lang, maybe some Bonnie Rait.

Anyhoo, I digress. I feel better, and the Boy has been acting better. He spent almost all of his saved up money on grapes, berries, water balloons, rock salt and ice today. Then he folded about 5 loads of laundry, carried all the living room furniture downstairs, vaccuumed, made his own cake, de-stemmed and froze grapes, and did the dishes. He has several of his games ready, and will do the rest of them tomorrow. He did his chores without fussing, and the backtalk was tons less today- almost non-existent. Almost. Baby steps.

The Girl just walked in the door- we let her go to a Tacoma Raniers game with some friends tonight. They won, and there were fireworks. The Boy didn't get to go, obviously, and he didn't fuss about it at all. Maybe it is sinking in after all!?

Now that my baby Girl is home, I am off to bed. I need all the rest I can get if I am going to supervise 10 kids at this party tomorrow. Everyone else is out by the fire ring, visiting and enjoying the cool but clear evening. I will settle for enjoying watching the full moon from the rocking chair set in front of my bedroom window for a few minutes.
Have a good night,

The uphill climb of parenthood

I apologize for not blogging much this week. To be honest, I have had thick, itchy fingers, and have had a grumpy, rude 14 yr old to contend with. Both these things have sucked out much of my newly returning energies. After several doses of grog-inducing antihistamines, and a long, gut-wrenching family meeting last night, I am a bit better, but feeling very tired and worn out. Why oh why did no one tell me about the similarities between children at 2 and 3 years and the same children at 13 to 14 years old. Whew!! Demanding and beligerent, pushing me away one minute, and clingy and full of I-love-you's the next! As Dy would say, Gaaaahhhh!

This morning's chore ritual went much smoother, thankfully, than it has for weeks. We now no longer have seperate chore lists, but instead, all three of us pitch in and do the chores off of one list until they are done, and as they are needed. We have been working towards this for awhile, and it is time. We realize we can not coerce them into being the responsible, kind, and caring people we want them to be, we just hope they choose it. Cooperation works so much better.

The Boy has his birthday party tomorrow, and he is now fully responsible for it. We were very close to taking it away completely, but chose this action instead. I will be taking him shopping after classes today during which time he will use his own money to purchase the remaining items for the party. Then he will come home, rearrange the living room, thoroughly vaccuum and dust it, and then get the games and contests for the party ready. I will most likely have him make his own cake, too, though I might relent on that front. I know parenting isn't easy, but sometimes it is downright difficult. Hard. Challenging. Not fun. Poopy. Sigh.

As well as errand running and birthday party prep, I have my physical therapy today. It really hurt last week, and I am going to have to be an advocate for myself this week- no country music during the massage, thank you very much. And could we please start the massage with me on my stomach, so that if you are going to work on my back, that you are not doing it from the underside of my body? Very uncomfortable, and not nearly as effective. Sigh. I am feeling very small (another Dy-ism) today, and so wish I could crawl into bed and stay there.

Now I shall paste on my happy face, go upstairs, and get on with the day. Wish me luck, and a calm peaceful feeling inside me.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The wonders and perils of nature

Yesterday was a good day. I was productive on many fronts. But I want to start by telling you about nature study. We have been studying water habitats- the oceans/tidepools, marshes,streams, and rivers, and yesterday was ponds. We went to Camp Long, and I did my usual pond study- take all the loups, magnifying glasses, microscopes (Thanks J and L for bringing those!), petri dishes, tupperware containers, nets, and eye droppers you can find, and set the kids loose at the pond. There is an awning set up over two picnic tables a few yards from the pond, so the threee moms set up there, supervising the microscopes, and trying to identify the critters the kids bring to us. The big kids worked well with the two littles, coaching and teaching without even knowing that is what they were doing. We saw whirligig beetles, who are NOT the giant diving beetles, but are related to them; mosquito larvae, water striders, water spiders, and water fleas (L and J- that is what the shrimp-like creature was). We also looked at duckweed, the world's smallest complete plant, and lsitened to red-winged blackbirds. When we were done at the pond, the kids hit the climbing rock while the moms planned the next nature study. This part of the post was about the wonders of nature, obviously. Now on to the perils.

While we were at the pond, I noticed I had a welt on my index finger on my right hand, and that my fingers on that hand were itchy. Then my throat started to feel like it was closing up. Hmmm. Must be reacting to something around here. By last night, my throat and ears were so itchy it was hard to get to sleep. This morning, I had to take an antihistamine- my eyelids are swollen and itchy, my nose is running constantly, and my ears are itchy deep inside. My fingers on my left hand are so swollen, it was a struggle to get my ring off, and there are huge welts on three of them. Hmmmm. What did I find yesterday at the edge of the pond that is so disagreeing with me?!

Oh- Dy, the pies were yummy- very yummy. There is only about 2 pieces left! I may have to make more very soon. I think I am going to try the biscuit dough today, and get a cobbler done. We shall see.

I spent yesterday afternoon doing something other than napping! I do feel like I have more energy lately, and that I am willing to actually do something with it. This is good. I moved furiture around from my room to the living room, and visa versa. I am moving my sewing area to our room, so Papa can start working in the basement, installing the furnace and things like that. I think I may make it a no cats place, too.

Okay, time to roust the Boy and get him to classes.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The ADD gardener

I am still working on where I am from, but I know one thing I am, and that is an ADD gardener. It was a beautiful day out yesterday, not too hot, breezy, with a few sprinkles of fresh rain now and then. I set out with the intentions to get everything planted that I had meant to be planted two weeks ago, but I would start one task, and then flit to another one. I did get the turnips thinned- did I tell you about that? Right after the accident, I wanted to get the seeds in, but could barely lift anything or do anything with my right arm, so I had the kids plant for me. Well, the Boy was fussing and fuming about helping, and lost interest fast. In a nutshell, he scattered two very full packets of turnip seeds in an area about 12 inches by 36 inches. Too funny- that part of the garden looks like a chia pet. A thick, luxurious chia pet. Even after thinning.

I also cleaned up around the compost pile, and around the apple tree. We have this weed that looks like sweet woodruff, only is is sticky, and gets these little round burr-balls on it. I pulled up 3 wheelbarrow loads full of it, as the burrs haven't developed yet. That was good.

I still have punkins, squashes, cukes, and melons to plant. It is my goal to get them all in the ground this week. I also have lots of annual flower seeds Papa wants me to sow for him. We shall see, we shall see.

About 2 pm yesterday, we got a call from the B family- the same ones we are doing the garden project, and from whom we got the railroad ties to build the new garden bed. They were having an "We have too much rhubarb, so come over, the kids will pick it all and make crisps, and then we will take the rest of it to the foodbank" party. So Papa and I took quick showers, and we headed over there and had a wonderful time. That was good. Last night we played UNO again. We have been playing a great deal of UNO this weekend, and it has been lots of fun. We have listened to three Jethro Tull tapes while playing. The kids loved it.

Let's see, what else has been happening during my blogging hiatus that I haven't told you about. Oh- the Boy got a new french horn. It was pricey, but it will last him longer than the cheaper ones we had been looking at. This one should take him through his first year of college. Hopefully we will have it paid off before then, LOL.

The Girl's piano teacher quit at the beginning of April, and we finally found a new one today! She is a board member of the Seattle Music Teacher's Association, so will be able to do the adjudications and competitions with/for the Girl. And, she committed to working with the Girl for at least 4 years. This is a very big deal, and we are very excited. She also has a nine month old, and wants to use me for homeschool consulting, as we charge the same for each of our services per hour, we should be able to barter at least a little bit of our lesson fees that way. Girly is very excited to finally have a new teacher, after a month of working on her own. Yay!

We did a bunch of baking in the last few days, making a huge quadruple batch of banana muffins (we used 13 bananas!), and squash muffins and pies, too. The squash came from this huge football shaped squash they gave us at the foodbank last week when we volunteered. IT was bigger than a watermelon. It baked up nicely, and I pureed about 10 pies' worth. There are two of them on the counter right now. I can't wait to taste them. The squash is a beautiful orange color, and very sweet. I used half the sugar called for in all the baking, and so far, everything has just been delicious. This is more baking in a weekend than I have done in several months, so I feel good about it.

Oh- I think I saw a raven today. Sassy Kitty was sitting in the kitchen window this morning, and doing this funny little chirpy mewing while gazing out the window. I looked out, and saw a huge crow-like bird sitting in a top branch of the plum tree. It was so large, it was bending the branch over! My friend David was over today, keeping me company while I was baking and doing laundry, and he told me he thinks it was a raven, and described them to me. The more I saw crows today, the more I think he was right. How cool is that?!

It's funny, I have was thinking this weekend, that although I like blogging, that I always think there are others who are so much more lyrical, poetic, funny (insert any other adjective here) than I am, and maybe I should just not do it anymore, because the last few entries have seemed like do lists or finished do lists, but so many of you told me you missed it, that I must be doing something right, and you at least find it interesting, so I will keep going, and am glad to be back.

Okay, gotta check the roast and get started on the rest of supper, so that will be all for now.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I'm here!

Did ya' miss me?
My laptop died, and the Papa Dude has ressurrected it, but without internet capabilities. And on top of that, our main internet connection was down, too. But I am here now, typing on the old monstrositity that lives in the unfinished basement. I still do not have email yet, but I seem to be able to be back in Blogland! Whew! If it weren't for Dy's phone calls I may have gone a bit mad. I missed all y'all.

I will post again later today if I can- we now have a fourteen year old Boy in the house, and have been celebrating most of this last week. Today the Godparents are coming over, so I need to help Papa fix a late breaky, wake the kids, and tidy the living room before our guests get here. Glad to be back, and talk to you soon.