Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dear Husband got in from California last night about 8.  By 9:30 it was lights out in our house.   At 8:30 this morning he is still asleep, I'm leaving to go milk the cows, and its 30 degrees outside.  Its good to have everyone tucked in, home, and warm.  And I predict a cold snowy winter for our southerly state this year.

Its hard to move the cat off my lap and get dressed.  But I know the cows are waiting for me with their fullness and warmth, milk will steam into the pail as jars fill, and no more flies until summer.  Fall has always been my favorite season.

Friday, October 28, 2011

 First high heels -- more trouble than perhaps they were worth.  Lovely, nonetheless.
 The bride was gorgeous.
 So was the groom.
 The ceremony was perfect in a tiny warm church on a lovely fall afternoon, a cool mist blowing, soft grey light filtering through wavy old windows, and an atmosphere of love all around.

Also, these scallowags got to hang out a bit, which always makes me happy. 
 Very serious young men, on a mission to grow up.  And doing a good job it!

Well, today it happened.  I had to ask my daughter if I could borrow some of her makeup.  I really thought we had a few more years before this sort of sharing began.   But, no.

My sister is getting remarried this afternoon in a small not overly formal ceremony.  But we are going to try and squeeze in Darling Boy's computer class from 2-3, before getting to the church at 4:30.   So now, before class, we are all clean, have our clothes set waiting, and my makeup is done.

I bought new makeup when I got married in 1995.  For my 10 year anniversary I decided to get fancy.  I pulled out my makeup and realized it was the same stuff I'd worn at the wedding!  So, I actually threw it away!  (Proud of me?)  And bought new.  Which is now six years old.   Oy.  I really don't wear much makeup.

So this morning I had a brainstorm, asked Darling Girl if she happened to have any tucked away secretly in her room.  And, naturally, she did.  But even better, all of colors which luckly work for me.  Well enough, in any case.   Thanks, kid!

I can't wait to see everyone all dressed up this afternoon.  An exciting happy day!   Pictures to follow.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Homeschool Community Service Group met today and made paper mache tiger toys.   There will be happy tigers tomorrow.   It took the kids about an hour and a half to crank out 21 toys.
 After these are dry they will be stuffed with meat, closed at the end, and tossed to hungry tigers.  I think this is going to be a really good volunteer organization.   They do fun projects and the kids are, naturally, a nice group.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Transitions can be discombobulating.  Disorienting.  Often ungraceful.   
You may feel a need to stop and check yourself over.  Are you all there?  Have you lost any necessary parts?  Is everything working, even as chaos descends?  
During times of transformation and change, sometimes the best we can do is be still and wait.  Change is inevitable, often unwelcome, and even when its for the best it can leave us feeling ruffled and worried.   All normal feelings.  "Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes," keep the faith, courage mon ami.
Dad reports from work today:

Special Collections just had an 'open house,' celebrating that they've finally re-opened the reading room after a long renovation. They had pulled out and displayed a bunch of cool, rare old books plus a selection of documents with famous signatures -- the signatures were really moving. Among others, they had:

Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Helen Keller (!), Georgia O'Keefe, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Jimmy Carter.

So cool! The documents themselves were mostly nothing, just thank you letters or memos or whatever, but how cool to see Albert Einstein's small and careful little signature in blue pen on an old letter.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"To teach is to create a space in which the discipline of truth is practiced" ~ Parker Palmer

Friday, October 21, 2011

Yesterday Dear Girl's bffs, Maddie and Sadie, were rather bored and messing around at the local homeschool park day.  So the girls grabbed sticks and started casting spells on unsuspecting muggles.   They approached a young woman playing tennis on the courts, looked at each other and as one raised their wands, pointed them at the young woman and shouted, "Avada Kedavra!"  Like a stone the woman dropped and lay crumpled on the courts.  Maddie and Sadie just looked at each other in astonishment.  Then the young woman jumped up, grabbed her racket, and chased the girls as fast as she could screaming, "Expelliarmus!"

How wonderful is that?  What jolly good fun!  Big points to that woman, so willing to play.  Can you imagine what was going through the girls mind's when they must have wondered for the briefest of seconds if their spell had worked?

Its nice to remember today that humans can be so delightful sometimes.  Though, there is no accounting for taste.  Avada Kedavra?  Accio is the spell I find most useful, though Alohomora is useful as well.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

From your father's facebook page:

Me: "Girl, you're getting a little too big for your britches."  Daughter: "Then I guess you should get me some new britches."
I rest my case.

Keith H. and 5 others like this.
Belinda L. She's got just a little bit of her mama in her : )

Later he added: She is, as they say, a piece of work. This quoted scene ended with me turning to look at her incredulously, her eyes getting big as saucers, then her turning and running screaming and laughing down the hall. 11 years old. Probably one of the best kids ever.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fw: Invitation to join the Homeschool Teen Community Service Group

Word!  We've been invited.  Their first project for the year is happening next Thursday.  We are meeting to make paper mache Tiger Toys.  What is a tiger toy?  Its a brown paper mache ball filled with meat.  The lions and tigers down at our local reserve get served their meals as such.  So they can "kill" them, ripping and shredding, before eating.  You can just feel how satisfying that might be for a big bored cat.

I asked our Africanner friend Elsje to explain to me how its okay, growing up in a land where lions and tigers live.  She was dismissive.  "Oh sure, you get used to it.  You learn to deal with them.  For one thing, you always hear the lion roar when he's moving into new territory.  And that sound travels for miles, so you know if you're near a lion.  Also you watch the springboks and other animals.  They'll let you know if predators are nearby."  Right, I was slightly unconvinced.  

So she went on to explain, "For instance, once our class (of middle schoolers) was taken on a fabulous camping trip.  Oh it was so fun!  We saw all kinds of cool things.  Then we set up tents, built a fire, and put meat on the barbie.  Then, uh-oh, we heard the lion roar.  So, all the bushmen hired to take care of us told us to 'hurry children, into you your tents AND DO NOT COME OUT'."   Here, I was very unconvinced.  I ask you, in your TENTS?   

"Sure," Elsje says, "And then here comes the lion and we are in our tents and the fire throws his shadow onto the walls of our tents as he walks by. Oh, it was SO COOL!  Then he took our meat and left and that was that.  They really are lazy old boogers, those lions."   Now I am dramatically unconvinced.  But pish posh to lions, Elsja basically says.  Then she adds thoughtfully, "but a pride of lionesses?  Now they scare me."  And that was the full story of growing up on the African plains in Namibia with big cats.  Are y'all as reassured as I?  
I took this picture of myself because I'm the one who is always holding the camera.  And I don't want my kids to arrive in old age with tons of pictures of themselves and none of me.  Because I have no pictures of my Grandmother Julia, and that sucks.  She believed allowing a picture was an act of immodesty.  She was wrong, it was an act of self erasure.  She was lovely.  Wouldn't it be cool if I had pictures of her to show my kids?  After all, its because of her that I spent a big part of my childhood on the coast every summer.  And its because of her, I'm brash and speak my mind.  And I see her teeth in my daughter's mouth.  And she is our history.  So yeah, I took my own picture.  Which should be cool -- should guarantee a good shot.  This was the best I could do.  And as I snapped the shutter (do digital camera's have shutters?) I was confident I had a happy content friendly smile on my face.  I felt happy and content and I was trying to smile.  Do I look happy?  Or do I looked kind of pissed off?
Yeah, I thought so too.  Well, no surprise as I am often feeling generally pissed off.  I mean, if you aren't angry, what are you thinking about?  Even Jesus was angry, Very Angry.  Or as my brother said, "I breathe anger."  Dear's one of the both of us in much more innocent times.  We were young and we were improving.

Monday, October 17, 2011

 We had a great time.
 Then waved goodbye to the ocean.
And we headed home.  Its good to be going home.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

 We got up early to welcome the sun back to North America this morning, sunrise over the Atlantic.
 It was chilly, the moon was still up, and not everyone was enthusiastic.  There were some complaints.
 But it was peaceful and snuggly and the sun rose pretty quick.  Also, it was gorgeous.
 Eventually we left the stairs to see if the beach was less breezy, a bit warmer.  I think it was.
And everyone piled on Dad in celebration.  Good morning sun!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Relaxation plan working.  Polished off Salty Dogs this afternoon, before realizing we'd forgotten to add the vodka.  Tried again, got it right that time.  Then naps.  Then a long walk on the beach.  Weather perfect.  Shabby beach front motel perfect.  Frozen lasagna heating in the oven perfect.  Sponge Bob Squarepants Marathon perfect.  Sunset perfect. Full moon rising over the ocean perfect.

 The view from dinner.  Ahhh, yes.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Birthday Breakfast.  We are so glad you were born!  We love you, Booster!   Now, to the beach!
BDL (Big Daddy Lion) is on vacation this week.  An obvious perk of homeschool is freedom from summer. Summer, the bone they throw children, the hottest foulest season of the year.  They can have it.  We like to get outside together as much as possible in the spring and fall.  We try to visit the beach for at least a weekend, each of those seasons.  Later today we'll head down east and be on the sand in two and half hours.

Since my early twenties, I've been trying to remember to relax.  Relaxing isn't so easy as we like to think.  For me, it happens when I hike, near big water, in hot tubs, during sex/laughter/tears, or through meditation.  Meditation being not the strongest method but the most direct and conscious with the added bonus of availability in grocery lines, at traffic lights, near screaming children, or even before you fully wake in the morning.

I try to relax before I get out of bed.  You might think you wake up relaxed.  Unlikely.  Its surprising how much tension we can hold even through sleep.  And consciously relaxing your body and mind before you sit up and start the daily blather is, well, eye opening.  We clench in our sleep, grasping at or against life before we're even fully awake.

Usually I forget about relaxing completely.  I'm best at the forgetting and the clenching.  But lately, partly because BDL is on vacation and partly because we are facing some huge life changes, I have to make a point to try harder (grasp more frantically?) at relaxing.   Which is kind of funny because, of course, everyone is always facing huge life changes.  
I enjoy this artist's work.  Hum, maybe a new necklace would help me remember?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It was an autumnal rainy brisk day.  We hiked, packed in hot cocoa, bouldered, and actually went swimming.   An awesome lovely perfect delightful Tuesday afternoon with the park all to ourselves.
The children are in Spanish class and I'm studying as well.  I've been listening to a Mazapan cd a friend from Chile gave me years ago, while I drive around in the car.   I've decided to learn one song at a time, as perfectly as I can.  To sing without meaning, just trying to get the articulation correct.  Then I go back to figure out the meaning.  To begin, Una Jirafa Resfriada.
This is the exact version we hear in the car:
And this is a much nicer video of the same song:
I'm learning the melodies I enjoy most, first.  For Una Jirafa, I especially like the part where they sing: "su dolor y."  It sounds so, I don't know, Gregorian to me.  Yeah, Una Jirafa Gregorian Style, baby.

Una Jirafa Resfriada

Una jirafa estornudo
¡hay pobrecita! se resfrió
dijo su madre cuidate
una bufanda amarrate
dijo su madre cuidate
una bufanda amarrate

Vino a verla un doctor
para quitarle su dolor
y pronto pudo mejorar
con sus amigas fue a jugar
y pronto pudo mejorar
con sus amigas fue a jugar

Monday, October 10, 2011

We used to call Dear Girl, "The Beetle" because she liked hissing beetles.  She cupped them in her fat little hand where, curiously, they tended to stay.  Possibly because she is so warm or because she's a bit magic or both.   Eleven years later, she's not quite so eager to have and to hold.  

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Mom looked at these two back when Dear Boy was a backpack baby on his father's shoulders and said, "The monkeys go marching by."  I love these monkeys.  
And then we had this monkey.  I love all these monkeys.