Pages

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Fun

Our Halloween 2011 pumpkins.  If you haven't already figured it out, they're characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas.  L-R: Zero (the dog), Jack Skellington, and Oogey Boogey.  Justin and the kids did these and I have to say, this is one of my favorite years.  Every year we carve several pumpkins.  We have people who remember that ours tend to be elaborate and visit just to see what we've carved.  This year was no exception.

Halloween on our street is a big deal.  Every year we get over 200 kids.  Most of the houses decorate for Halloween, and there are simply kids galore.  It is such a busy event that instead of shutting the door between kids, we rearrange the front porch furniture and hang out there.  We adults get dressed up as well, of course.  This year I was a witch, Justin was a priest, Shannon was a scary hooded guy, and Tristan was a skeleton.  Justin's brother Matt came over and we dressed him up as a zombie, make up and all.  (Really, I think I should start a Halloween Make-up business!!)

Along with the three pumpkins we had an "eyeball tree," the door to the house decorated with lights & usually open, the inside of the house decorated, and pumpkin & skull candles lit on the front porch.  Oh yes, there was the scary music that played as well, of course.  We always invite friends and family over for a Halloween party on Halloween, and so, as usual, we had a couple of kids who thought that our house was set-up as a Haunted House given the decor and the people coming and going. 

While the guys (and Justin's Mom & sister) took the kids trick-or-treating I assumed my role to hand out candy.  I had a goblet that I was drinking from, and took delight in playing up the role.  Most of the kids were very well behaved this year.  A couple of kids I saw darting across the road, not a wise idea on our road, and darting through people's yards, ignoring any landscaping that was there.  When they got to our house I was in full witchy mode.  I slowly took a sip from skeleton goblet, setting it down on the edge of my chair.  I turned my gaze (with my heavily made-up eyes) to them just as slowly and then fixed my gaze on them.  As I handed them their candy I had my voice eerily-pitched and scolded them gently, creepy, and with my gaze not leaving their eyes for darting into the road and for running through yards.  I warned them that they could get hurt.  I got two nervously sincere "yes ma'am"s from them.  I think the point was made.

So, a little after eight we got the kids in bed and took the party inside.  I left the lights outside on and even went back and relit the pumpkins when I realized kids were still coming by.  This is where it starts to get fun.

Normally I don't care so much for older kids, and I will readily refuse candy to those who don't dress up.  Also, we always put the dogs up in the crates during Halloween.  With the door being open so much it would be easy for them to get out. Also, and our main reason, Halloween can be a scary time to be a dog.  People in scary costumes make it hard to tell friend from foe and can scare a dog.  Any dog with an instinct to protect could easily assume there was cause to.  So, to be safe, our dogs stay up.  However, once we shut the door we let the dogs loose.

Older kids kept coming by, knocking on the door.  The dogs would go nuts.  And, though all dogs' barks are impressive and can be scary, Foster does have a .. well .. massive Mastiff bark. 

At first I would try to block the dogs as I went to the door, but with one group Layla, our 1 year old Bulldog, slipped by me and out onto the porch.  I shut the door behind me and went to get her.  She wasn't scared, she was curious as usual and simply walked around the kids.  No growling, nothing.  The kids were older middle-school or high-school age kids (hard to tell), and one boy simply FREAKED OUT.  It was hysterical.  He started jumping back when he realized she was a bulldog.  "She's a bulldog" he yelled, "those things will kill you!!!" 

I couldn't resist.

"Oh, no" I replied calmly and reassuringly, "bulldogs won't kill you. Mastiffs will kill you."  And with that I opened the door, shoved Layla in, and let Foster take a step or two out. "See?" I said. 

The kid tripped over himself running back to the sidewalk, while his friends, who initially jumped back as well, roared with laughter. 
Foster never growled, never showed any aggression, just took a couple curious steps through the doorway, with me holding his collar. 


BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

To the doctor we go again..

First off, the reason that they're haven't been any blogs posted from me in a while: blogspot hates me.  It's as simple as that.  Truly.  It has nothing to do with the strange fact that my son is humming the JAWS theme (though he's never seen the movie) in his room as I try to focus and type.  It has nothing to do with me going crazy at all, no it doesn't and I don't like your implications.  Blogspot simply hates me.  I type out a great blog, I go to hit publish, the whole thing freezes up and then the computer starts giggling this insane giggle that only Stephen King could dream up, and it gets up and runs away.  And, I'm left sitting there all innocent without a blog post anymore.  So, there.  Now you know.  I blog now at great risk to my own health and warfare (no, not a typo).  You're welcome.  I love you.


So, do you remember Shannon's 5 Year Doctor check up visit?  No?  Why not?  I kinda do!  Ok, I'll forgive you.  You can click on that snazzy link and it'll take you to the blog post about it. 

Tristan had his 5 Year Doctor check up visit yesterday.  Here is how my day went:

Wake up and decide this isn't one of my days.  And, since I have nowhere to be, I'm allowed to have a lazy bummy day, so I don't take a shower.

Remember at 11am that we have an appt at noon. Tristan, who has been congested for a few days (thank you Allergy Gods) has been given cough/cold syrup.


Remember that 2 years ago, at Shannon's 5 year check up, he barfed EVERYWHERE. Try not to mention that memory to the kids.

Put on a nicer shirt and attempt to do something with my hair.  Ok - so here's a fun tidbit for you: a lot of people think that having dreads means you completely neglect your hair.  Like you forget it's there all together.  This couldn't be further from the truth, at least for me.  And, if you haven't been to take your kids to the doctor's lately, you are missing out on the well-known, absolute fact that you MUST look presentable because, no matter how sick your child is or isn't, they WILL judge you.  It's a bunch of women ... DUH! 

My dreads and I argue some, but they finally agree to go up in some form of a bun.  The Hokie colored ones though decide they're going to really stand out in weird ways today.  Fine.  Just fine.

Get kids into the car.  Attempt to get self into the car.  Thanks to a long upper-body and short arms, I only have 3 fingers' width of room between the top of my head and the top of the car when my hair is down.  If my hair is up, I wind up driving all GANGSTA style, slung off to the side trying to fit in the car.  -- How in the world did women with beehives EVER drive anywhere????  I need a carriage and someone to drive me around. 

Get there early, wait till ...shortly after 12 to be seen - go figure.

They do urine sample & finger prick blood test first. Tristan is fine. He doesn't get upset till he feels (I'm guessing) that first heartbeat in his finger. (You know what I'm talking about) - At that point he has an upset, eyes welling "uh-oh" reaction.

Nurse calls us back into the room so we don't have to wait. She takes Tristan off to do the eye & hearing exam.

She returns with Tristan who is COVERED in vomit. I mean, it was even on the back of his pants. Since I didn't see it happen, all I can imagine is the Excorsist. Nurse seems stunned and unsure of what to do. She hands me a gown and I work on stripping him down.

Meantime, I call my mother to please run by my house, grab him a change of clothes and GET HERE NOW!

He announces he needs to go to the bathroom. While on toilet he starts puking again, then it shoots out the other end. (Sorry - TMI, I know). I try to clean up as best I can.

Get him cleaned up, washed off, and etc. Get gown back on. He is clammy and his face is literally green.

Nurse keeps trying to say he has a stomach bug. I keep trying to tell her that his older brother had a very similar reaction and that their father doesn't do very well at the sight of blood either.

I remind Beazley of Justin's fainting spell during a very similar check-up when I get the chance.

Mom arrives. All seems ok. Then Shannon announces HE has to go to the bathroom, and it's obvious HE is starting to cry.

Beazley looks at me, wide-eyed, in a "WTH?" wonder.

I go to the bathroom with Shannon. Have to get him to admit to being upset and crying. He says that he doesn't like getting shots. I remind him that HE isn't getting any shots today. He says he doesn't like Tristan getting shots. I leave him to finish.

While he's still in the bathroom we agree that my mother will go ahead and leave, taking Shannon with her. This is good because by the time Shannon gets back he pretty much hollers that he wants to leave NOW. - they leave.

Now there is the usual examination part.  I win the "WORST MOTHER EVER" award for not only all that has happened but also because Tristan is wearing underwear that is oddly stained all over (of course, right?), and socks that aren't of equal shades of whiteness - one is bright white the other is slightly pink. 

Tristan gets his 3 shots. At doctor's "orders" we lay him down for it and keep him down. Obviously, he cries about the shots *mega duh*

After a good long while I'm able to get him dressed. He keeps trying to kinda hyperventilate.

Tristan has been known to, when he's VERY upset, quit breathing kinda, go blue, and pass out. So ... this is my current fear.

We walk out to the car, I think the rain and cool air will do him good but he seems to be getting weaker. I finally wind up carrying him to the car.

I get him in the car. I attempt to get myself into the car. Remember what I said above about the dreads.  It's like a friggin' cartoon episode, me trying to get into the car with my big hair and little arms.  And it's raining.

We're driving down Main St., towards my mother's house, in the rain, and I glance to the back seat. Tristan is slumped over. I try to not go into full panic mode.

Turns out he was just asleep. Get all of us home. Everyone goes down for naps. I have two stories due. Two I, of course, hadn't written yet. I send my editor a letter asking just how late I can get them in. My nerves are shot.

Who the hell hid my valium today?

Why is my hair so big?

How is it fair that they inherit this reaction from Justin but I end up being the one to get to deal with puke and nurses who seem to be amazed that kids may puke at the doctors' office and capable of offering little other than a gown, a trash bag (at my request, they didn't think of that on their own) for his puke covered clothes, and then they run around spraying things with Febreeze???

Tristan sleeps for a while, or at least rests for a long while. This is good. No more vomiting, no passing out.

I get my articles written.

I find my valium.

I forget about my big hair since the ceilings here are even taller.

I make a good healthy, nourishing dinner. Tristan has a fit because he'd rather have a sandwich. We convince him to break up pretzels in the soup/pasta dinner. No (adult) tempers are lost.

I debate having one more kid just to make sure that Justin has to take said prospective kid to their 5 year check up.

Of course, Murphy's Law, that prospective kid would be fine.

I hate that prospective kid. Damn him/her.

I make Justin stay on bulldog butt wiping duty. This doesn't make me feel much better, but it's better than nothing.

The one bulldog who wasn't given gas-x pills proceeds to sit there, butt near my face, and fart all night.

Damn Murphy's Law.
 
Later I ponder if I can squeeze the bulldogs and make them fart in Justin's face. It would make a nice weapon and I feel like he deserves some suffering.


Cartoon-esque revenge theories are being hatched in my mind. I also kinda want to bitch-slap the nurses. Or at least do a SNL "REALLY?!?!?" clip about them. I mean, REALLY!?!?!?!, you're shocked and unprepared when kids vomit at the doctor's office?!!?!? REALLY!?!?!??! Who could ever imagine and forsee such events!!! REALLY!?!?!?
 
 
So .... now you know why we try to avoid trips to the doctor's office as much as try to avoid ... umm .. the plague?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Good Morning

These photos were taken with my cell phone, thereby a little fuzzy. But I find when I first wake up in the morning, life is a little fuzzy ... just like the photos. Here is a quick look at some of the beings I wake up to in the morning.



Good Morning from Foster. Our 17 month old, at least 140 pound, English Mastiff. He likes to cuddle. He isn't allowed on the bed. Luckily for him, his back legs are on the floor. Our bed is queen size and he, as you can see, can reach nearly fully across it. With his hind legs still on the floor.


See how tired he is? He has sleepy-goop still in his eye. The poor thing. It's tough being a Mastiff who thinks he's a carry-along 2lb dog. In case you're wondering what his head is resting on ... that's Justin's leg under the blanket.



Then there is Layla, our little 9 month old English Bulldog. For many months now, under our bed has been her refuge. When it is hot out, she hides under the bed. When Foster is chasing her after they've been playing, she runs into our room and does an impressive dive & slide under the bed, where he can't reach her. When Foster greets us in the morning though .. well, she just isn't as tall and can't command the attention. So .. under the bed she goes.
The sound of her crawling under the bed, her ID tag clanking against the wooden floor and her legs attempting to propel her forward make it sound like she is swimming. So, that's what we call it. We'll look at each other and say "Oh, Layla's gone swimming again." "There Layla goes, swimming under the bed." It isn't a graceful performance out of her to say the least.
However, our little pup is growing as little bullies do. Normally she'd swim under the bed, pop up on my side (closest to the wall) and paw for attention. Now ... poor Layla, she's a bigger bully.

......

Layla gets a little stuck under the bed during her morning swim. .... It probably doesn't help that she does this swim after she's eaten her breakfast, when her belly is nice and full. Apparently she never bothered to read the memo about not swimming after you eat.





As you can tell here, Foster is just SHOCKED that Layla is stuck, once again, under the bed. He's simply shocked.
Actually, he's likely more concerned and offended. When Layla gets stuck she doesn't give up on her swim. She reaches her paws out, hoping to make it through. Which usually ends up with her pulling the nearby plug out of the wall. That turns off the tv (which isn't on in the morning anyway), the clock (which is on and will have to be reset, but which Foster doesn't care about), and ... worst of all, the fans. THIS is VERY offensive to Foster. One of the perks of being able to lay across the bed like he does is, aside from the morning cuddle, the breeze from both of the fans.
So ... in this photo Foster is shocked that Layla is stuck ... again. And concerned that this will wind up in his breeze being disrupted. Which just completely ruins the beauty of morning.




Here's wishing you all a happy holiday weekend. However you spend it. However you wake up, or whomever/whatever you wake up to.









Sunday, August 28, 2011

Quit yer bitching, be prepared, & acknowledge Mother Nature

Tis that time of year again: Hurricane Season. Just like you can count on stores to start Christmas displays practically at the same time as they put out Halloween displays, you can count on media to make certain that the impending hurricane will be an end of the world scenario.

Now, before I get too far into this post let me say that I feel for those who suffer. I don't want anyone to lose their lives, especially those who are at the mercy of others' (children, elderly, disabled, sick, etc) to care for them. I don't want to see animals suffering either. So .. there you go, I am not the most evil monster out there.

But, let's get back to the topic. Check out this link (for some reason it's not letting me embed it, sorry): http://youtu.be/75f-YUntYRI. It's footage from Virginia Beach area. A news reporter is doing his thing with people driving around behind him, around him, and then lots more people running by. One guy even drops his shorts and flashes the camera as he's doing this. It is funny. It is also, more reason why I have little sympathy.

Let's make it as clear as we can, ok? If you live at, or below, sea level, then you live in an area where you're likely to get flooded out. If you live near the beach, especially when there is a GOOD history of annual hurricanes you are, at some point, going to likely experience one.

If you live in the mountains, where it snows, guess what ... there is a chance that at some point during the Winter you might get snowed in. Or there might be lots of snow and ice.

Live on or near a fault line?? Guess what you can expect. That's right, earthquakes. Living out in the Midwest, in an area known as 'Tornado Valley'??? Hmmm ... can we figure out what you might see one day?

Have some friggin' respect for Mother Nature folks. Pay attention to where you live. Build accordingly, if you're going to build. That's one of the things I find a little laughable about the new "passivhaus" movement (which I can't say without a bad Arnold-esque accent). For as long as there have been humans around, until very recently, societies built their homes according to where they lived and what that area was like. It's the enormous "DUH!!" ~ to which I can't add much more.

Also, wherever you chose to live, be prepared for what very well may happen. I mean, these aren't exactly the biggest surprises in the world now are they?? Again, this is one reason why homes used to be built with exterior shutters that could actually shut (you know, cover the window) and be locked. Not little bitty decorative ones screwed on either side of the window as they are now.

Know what you're going to do, just in case. Quit relying on others to take care of you and make everything as happy-perfect-fairytale as you think it should be.

And .... if you're going to go out in bad weather. If you're going to go take your boat out in the water during a hurricane. Or if you think it is wise to go out in snowstorms, tornadoes, and etc. Well, you're likely an idiot and I won't be that sad when you die or get hurt. It's Darwinism in action.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Stella Updates

Stella today



Stella before?? This is a photo I found in a book on VW buses. The interior is identical to Stella's, though obviously the color is different. I can't tell if she faded a LOT or if she was just originally 'Guinea blue' rather than 'Medium Blue' (as is listed in the book as the blue color option for campers and is in the photo above). Today she looks more Guinea than Medium though, and I'm guessing it's unlikely that she faded THAT much.

She's still down at the shop though. Apparently she won't pass inspection with the current, cracked windshield. Whoever last replaced the windshield didn't put it in correctly, or even in all the way it seems, and it cracked and for some reason that I simply can not begin to understand, they left it like that. So ... a new windshield is on order out of Norfolk. It should be here by the middle of next week, and hopefully we can have her home by then. She also needed new rear brake lights, but those have already been put in.

I've also been on the hunt for other parts she needs that are no longer available on the market. A new dash cluster since the odometer and fuel gauge don't work (kinda something that we really need working!) is the main thing. I found a guy down in Georgia, or rather he found me. He has an '82 Vanagon, non-camper, that he's selling off as parts. I have to admit to being nervous about dealing with things online that I can't physically see, but I also don't see where I have much of an alternative. I've asked him to send me photos of parts (he also has a grill which she needs, along with other items). He doesn't have a digital camera so he said he'll pick up a disposable one, take the photos and mail them to me. Something about this makes me feel guilty, but I suppose I'll let him do it.


We've also ordered our own copy of the 'Idiot Book' (as it is lovingly called). We were able to find a newer edition, used (!! yay !!) for a really good deal thanks to Amazon.com.

And, finally, we ordered a new rug for her. The folks we bought her from had put in an oriental-esque throw rug which looked really cool. I wouldn't have thought to do that I don't think. Then I happened to stumble across a crocheted rag-rug that was made using upcycled tie-dye sheets. Lots of yellows, pale blues, pinks and more. I love it. I can't wait to see it in there.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Meet Stella








This is Stella. Stella Blue. Yes, I know the name might be a little cliche, but she really insisted that it was her name. So, Stella she is.

Stella is a 1982 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia. She has an air cooled engine and is a full camper.

Those who've known me for a significant amount of time will know of my longing for a Westy. That longing has been passed down to my sons, particularly Shannon. It was because of Shannon that we got Stella.


We were driving home from my mother's house when Shannon announced "I told Grandma that they could have our tent out of the attic." "And where are we going to sleep?" asked Justin. "In the Westfalia" replied Shannon with the epitome of "duh" Valley-Girl in his tone. We explained that we didn't have one and weren't planning on seriously looking for one until the end of next year. We would have to stick with the tents for a while longer.

The next day I posted on Facebook about what Shannon had said. I mentioned that DogLimo2 (a Westy belonging to friends and for sale locally) might have to stay local after all. Instantly another friend replied "take mine!". They had bought it because it was a good deal and with intentions (dreams?) of camping and etc. Life, as it turns out, had different plans and so it wasn't a good fit for them. I looked at photos they had of her online and instantly I was hooked.

Our friends even drove her up here from their home in North Carolina. I wasn't sure what time they were leaving, but I knew that they could get here between 6 & 8am. I woke up at 3:45am. Fate smiles. Turns out that is what time they hit the road to come here.

One of the difficult things for me in my Westy quest was that I personally am not so wild about a lot of the color schemes. Those oranges, yellows, and greens, along with the plaids in the same shades just ..... well ..... they are NOT for me.

Stella on the other hand is, obviously, blue. Look at the name of our home. Obviously we like that color. The majority of the rooms in our house are painted blue. Fittingly enough, the day we physically got Stella, Justin & I were both wearing blue shirts. (I promise, it wasn't intended)
Her interior is a mix of the cream & brown on the camper parts, typical of that time. The seats are blue, brown, and white striped. She has a nice brown carpet inside.

Needless to say, I am in love. The kids are in love. Justin is, at minimum, content and happy. He hasn't caught the VW BUG yet (pardon the pun), but he will. Hopefully. If not, the kids and I outnumber him.

Right now Stella is down at Salem Imports. She needs more work done to her than we thought, which is upsetting. Mainly because it will take me some time to earn the money to pay for it. But that is life. In the end, she will be better for it. We all will.

In the meantime, I've been sent home with the Compleat Idiot's Guide to maintaining your Volkswagen by John Muir. I love the book already and am determined to become mechanically inclined. I'll also be purchasing the book as soon as possible. I found used copies available online at Amazon for great prices. (Always shop used first!)

It's not the exact start I was picturing, but when is life really like that? Though I had been hoping for at least a few "WHEEE!!" months before something big hit, I'll be happy for the time spent to 1) EARN the money for the repairs and 2) the time to educate myself more about the world I have just entered. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise?


Wish me luck.


PS ~ I was feeling guilty for not getting DogLimo2. When I was down at the shop I didn't see it. I asked Sandra where it was and she told me it sold. We both expressed feelings of guilt: me for buying something else and her for selling it. But again, fate smiles. They sold it at the same time we bought Stella. To people from North Carolina.
Today I had an epiphany about DogLimo2 (when I was questioning my sanity of getting Stella v. DogLimo2). For me, DogLimo2 is like that really great guy who likes you and you really, really wish you liked him to because you know how great you two could be together. How he would be so good to you. But the fact is, no matter how much you like him as a friend, love him as a friend, your feelings don't go beyond that. No matter how much your brain tells you they should, logically.
That is DogLimo2 for me. I believe Stella was the one calling me. I know she was. And I think DogLimo2 found who was calling him. (I'm deciding the gender here, though the new owners may feel differently). Fate Smiles.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A lesson from Pom

Usually when I write about Pom on here I am referring to my great-grandmother, whose house we now live in, Pom Taney. It so happens though that both my maternal great-grandmothers were given the moniker 'Pom' by their grandchildren. Today's lesson comes from Pom Redfield.


This is Pom Redfield. I don't know the year the photo was taken. I doubt it is as old as the letter I am getting ready to quote. There she is though. I see a lot when I look in her eyes.


For lack of a word more accurate than 'luck' I happen to have a great many objects from mother's side of the family. Things no-one else has seen and didn't know existed ... except me!



This is a letter she began on June 27, 1902. She begins it "Dear Papa" and tells him "I am going to write you anyway if you did just go yesterday." A sentence later she mentions how "To-morrow I am thirteen. The boys says I am going to get a lot of whippings and I believe it." She then stops the letter because she has to go for dinner.


She picks the letter back up on June 29, 1902, the day after her thirteenth birthday. In the photo below is what she writes about her birthday.


"Last night we had a very nice time. We had Myrtle and a little friend of hers, Rachel Green, Alice, Harold, Ethel, Frank, Louise, and our family to have the fun.
We were to to have molasses taffy to pull and so while Jeanette was cooking it we played games. There was a dozen of us to pull it and so we had lots of fun. I wish you could have been here.
I got a bicycle and fifty cents from you
(*side note - I think she said 'you', there is a hole in the letter there and it makes it hard to know for certain*), a box of bonbons from the boys, (Bones and Jame), a bag of marsh-mallow cookies from Harold; and a plate of elegant fudges that Ethel and Alice gave me. Besides lots of whippings."

So -- why does this strike me so and what is the lesson? Ok, 1) let's all be clear - the whippings were in good fun. I know you remember getting them + one to grow on as y'all grew.
Since that's not it, what is it?

It's the general simplicity of the time. It's the gifts of food and the fun of pulling taffy. It's "we played games" and knowing they were likely outside playing them, making them up as they went. It's how much she honestly seemed to enjoy it. And she was turning 13!! THIRTEEN!! No cellphones. No designer clothes (hey, they had those back then).

These days if you go to a party, any party, you're likely to spend $20 at the very bare minimum on a gift. And that price is more accurate if you're lucky.
Things cost more than they did over a hundred years ago, that's obvious. Things cost more than they did five or ten years ago. But there is a bigger price paid.

You wind up paying a fair chunk of change for a gift. SOMETHING to give the person. Not something terribly special, but something that you might think they'd like or it might make you think of them. Just really a gift because it is __fill in the occasion__ and you have to get them a gift. A lot of times there is the added pressure of making sure that all the other people attending said occasion will be equally as wow-ed by your gift and envious that you found THAT to give to the honored person.

And they usually like it. But eventually it becomes clutter. More stuff. More toys that need batteries, which have to constantly be bought. More things you stub your toe on. More interesting items you set aside somewhere with a plan for it whenever that infamous "one day" comes along.

Sadly, if you asked me what I got for my birthday or Christmas I'd be hard pressed to tell you. And I'm not boasting because I got so much stuff. Comparatively speaking (in the Western/American society I live in) I didn't. But, in the end, most of it was likely stuff.

My Lesson From Pom & her Friends (oooh .. peer pressure!):

*Less is more.
*If you're going to get a gift, think about the person truly. Sometimes there are those truly special things and that's ok.
*Make them something.
*Make them food that, hopefully, you can all enjoy sharing.
*Make them a card, play-dough (
shout out to my friend Cat who made Shannon play-dough one year for his birthday. It was AWESOME!)
*Spend time with them on their special day. Have fun. Laugh.
*Laugh!! -- That was worth two lines.
*Create memories ~ they'll enhance your brain & your heart!

This is my new way of looking at occasions & gift giving. If you're attending something in our honor, please follow these lessons. If you have to spend something, try to keep it under $10.

Our economy is in bad shape. Our environment is in worse shape. We all, likely, already have too much stuff.

I hereby give us all permission to, from this moment on, be free of stuff. Follow Pom's lessons (and her friends' & family members'!) and embrace the simplicity and honesty of it all.

What do you think?




Thursday, June 2, 2011

Welcome June!

A photo of our first true harvest of the year. 2lbs 5oz of shiny, freshly picked tart cherries. We went out early this morning to gather them before the temperature began to climb to high. Tristan has a skinned knee (which necessitates being carried as much as possible and dramatically hobbling when forced to walk) from a riding tumble so he sat on the bench, an old church pew, and watched as Shannon and I worked our way around the 6 1/2' tall tree. We picked one ... yes one, single, little strawberry this year. Our black-eyed susans have spread like crazy and choked them out. So, this is our first real harvest.

June is here. I don't know where you live but, as much as I love the Summer Solstice, it does NOT mark the beginning of Summer for me. Not when we have several days of temperatures in the 90's. Nope. Summer began a while back. Whenever it got hot enough for me to crave a pool. Which, amazingly enough, we got this year. Every year we've had some form of kiddie pool and this year is only a slight exception. We've been able to move out of the driveway and into the backyard where there now sits a 15' round above ground pool. Justin's parents had an extra one and so, viola, now we have a pool. Sure, I can sit on the bottom and the water comes up to my chin but, ya know what?? I don't care!!! Because it is nice and cool!! It's a friggin' tropical paradise in my mind! I would seriously spend the majority of my time there lately if I could. Of course, once Tristan decides he routinely likes getting in the pool that'll just make the experience even better. Right now it's a battle that involves lots of tears and screaming and forcing him into a swimsuit, then sometimes literally plopping him down in the pool. He cries for a minute or so then remembers that he really LOVES playing in the pool and happily does so for a couple of hours.


The chickens aren't too thrilled about this heat though I am sure they're at least happy that we decided (wisely it seems given the heat) that after last year's HOT HOT Summer they needed more shade and so their 'winter chalet' has become their permanent home. Plus, the tractor needs rebuilding and I don't think it would've survived being hauled around the yard much longer.
But since they still aren't so happy about the heat they aren't laying quite as productively as they had been. We've had a couple of no-egg days. Though, when I went out to gather yesterday's eggs this morning (yea, I forgot yesterday, it happens) I found Patti nesting on the floor of the coop. I leaned in there and forced her off. She was sitting on 3 eggs. I am hoping they are not that old. I don't think they are, and I know they're fine outside the fridge for quite a while on their own anyways.
So .. it's Tally Time!!

May Egg Tally: 79 eggs (only three less than in April)
Year To Date Egg Tally: 349


Still pretty sweet!!

Also going on around here ... hmm, let's see. Shannon is in the process of doing his first year of end of the year testing required for homeschooling. Justin is the one handling this as I have a lot of issues with the whole thing. Plus, it allows him to have some more direct involvement with their schooling and that is good.
Tristan just finished up Story Time at the local library for the year and this Summer we'll be sending in his first NOI for kindergarten.
We've finally got a logo for our brewery, which is pretty sweet. If you want, take a second and go check it out http://soulonebrewery.blogspot.com. We've even been able to get some merchandise for it already which is really cool. I'll post the photos of that stuff on that blog as soon as I can.
You may have noticed the profile photo change on here. Finally a photo of me with dreads!! My dreads are already 6 months old now. Yes, people with dreads talk about "how old their dreads are." Dreads are an on-going thing. They change as they age. It's cool. Except in Summer, when your dreads reach down the middle of your back. Then it's pretty darn hot. High ponytails have become a staple for me. But, again, here is where dreads can be fun. You can wrap up a pretty massive bun if you've got the length for it (I do!). You can tie your hair up in an updo using one or two of your dreads ~ try that with a pencil!! I have been known to wear mine up in high pigtails using only the dreads themselves to secure them. Plus there are wraps and bandanas and etc to wrap them up with. That's always really fun.
And, finally, a reason why I haven't been posting on here as much. I've taken on more work with the Main Street Newspapers. I now do at least a feature a week for The Vinton Messenger and the Cave Spring Connection papers. I also do here & there stuff for The Salem Times Register. ALSO - I'm now doing a lot of online stuff for them. You can check them out at http://www.ourvalley.org
It's really, really cool and something I love doing. I finally am getting paid to write. Very cool. However, it is also a huge adjustment period for me. Being able to work from home means I can work whenever, but it also means I need to learn to decided when exactly that whenever might be, and (very importantly) when it isn't.
So, to try and implement this, this morning here is what I've done: picked cherries, weighed cherries, gotten sourdough bread going, fed the sourdough starter, fed the kefir, got the dishes going, fed dogs, gathered eggs, done the tallies, BLOGGED!, sent kids to their rooms for fighting, and then let them play outside once they've decided their done fighting. No, I haven't gotten my shower yet (be glad you can't smell me through the computer I suppose), but I'll get to that shortly. And I've only checked work email through the phone, where I haven't replied, just looked at one email. :)

And there is the beginning of our Summer here. How is your's going?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Eggs, Chickens, Kitchen, & Kids

While the legality of chickens in Salem lingers on in limbo I have been fairly silent about chickens and eggs. At least fairly silent for me, which is a completely relative measurement. But no more, and especially not today.


You will not take my chickens from me. A defiant statement I realize, but it simply won't happen. I have no intention of fighting with anyone, nor am I attempting to wave a red flag by stating this, I am simply saying it.

We've reached a time in history where pasture raised chicken (chickens not kept in tiny little pens) are $4 lb and eggs from pasture raised chickens can easily be over $3 a dozen, you will not take my chickens from me. I paid over $27 for a rabbit (for eating) yesterday. Animals that once were common are now affordable to only those of flexible, or considerable, income.

It isn't just about the money though. Not by a long shot. It is much more about the beauty and richness that the experience provides us. That can not be measured, it can only attempt to be described.

I've been reading Julia Child's My Life in France. I read about her first dining experience and how customers were asking (she had to get her husband to translate for her) "how was the chicken raised?" This has left me speechless and saddened, for I know how few places I could dine at now where anyone in the restaurant could begin to know that. The world has changed, and along the way we lost something precious.

Something beautiful happened though when I to page 60 in the book. This is the 'Le Cordon Bleu' Chapter and she is talking about how Chef Bugnard taught them how to properly made scrambled eggs. Here is the excerpt from the book:


With a smile, Chef Bugnard cracked two eggs and added a dash of salt and pepper. "Like this," he said, gently blending the yolks and whites together with a fork. "Not too much."
He smeared the bottom and sides of a frying pan with butter, then gently poured the eggs in. Keeping the heat low, he stared intently at the pan. Nothing happened. After a long three minutes, the eggs began to thicken into a custard. Stirring rapidly with the fork, sliding the pan on and off the burner, Bugnard gently pulled the egg curds together -- "Keep them a little bit loose; this is very important," he instructed.
"Now the cream or butter," he said, looking at me with raised eyebrows.
"This will stop the cooking, you see?" I nodded, and he turned the scrambled eggs out onto a plate, sprinkled a bit of parsley around, and said, "Voila!"
His eggs were always perfect, and although he must have made this dish several thousand times, he always took great pride and pleasure in this performance. Bugnard insisted that one pay attention, learn the correct technique, and that one enjoy one's cooking -- "Yes, Madame Scheeld, fun!" he'd say. "Joy!"
It was a remarkable lesson. No dish, not even the humbled scrambled egg, was too much trouble for him. "You never forget a beautiful thing that you have made," he said. "Even after you eat it, it stays with you -- always."

Immediately after reading this for the first time I knew I simply had to make scrambled eggs. And so I did, and I was overcome by how delicious they were. Amazing. The best scrambled eggs I've ever had, and I've always thought I'd had some pretty darn good scrambled eggs in the past. And that first batch has stayed with me. And I am reminded of it each time I remake it. I have been so taken with this part of the book that I haven't been able to read beyond it yet.
Something so remarkable from something so simple. Amazing.



But, of course, the chickens and eggs aren't just enriching in the delicious and healthy food they provide for us. Nor in the benefits that they provide for our yard and garden, which are quite numerous as well. They are beneficial in what they have taught my children.

Tristan attends story time at the local library (a fantastic library by the way!). The week of Easter the stories revolved around eggs and there was an Easter Egg Hunt afterwards in the courtyard. ~Yes, Salem's library has a gorgeous courtyard that is enclosed by a beautiful brick wall and that contains tables situated under brightly colored umbrellas, old gnarly tree roots that beckon you to lean up against them while reading, and landscaping that makes you feel like you've stumbled upon a secret garden. All it lacks is a small pond with fish.~
While we were at the library for story time this week I was pulled aside by the girl who had happened to read to the children Easter week. She wanted to let me know something that Tristan had said.
"I was reading to them a book and in it there was an egg, but it was a robin's egg, and it had a little bird inside," she told me.
Apparently Tristan felt the need to correct her on this and tell the class what was REALLY inside of eggs. He had the full attention of all the children there as he informed them on what was really in the eggs. They began asking questions such as "how do baby birds get in the eggs?"

Since this was beginning to veer into territory beyond the simple Easter themed story the girl reading the book suggested they just get back to the book.

Aside from interrupting story time and someone reading aloud to a class, I am quite proud of Tristan. This is a subject he does know a lot about, though please remember that since we don't have a rooster we don't have fertilized eggs and the chance of chicks.
I am proud of him for being able to speak up and out on an issue he was informed on. On having the desire to want to share that knowledge with others. Of holding the attention of the other children. Especially since these are children who have likely not seen a live chicken, much less ones in a backyard setting, or petted one, or raised one, or who have been responsible for gathering fresh eggs out of the nest boxes.

Never underestimate the power of doing things for yourself. Of taking charge of your lives and the ability to provide for yourself and your family. Never underestimate the endless benefits that can come from such acts.







Sunday, May 1, 2011

Looking Back at April

Shannon started his first year of rec soccer. This was his first game. I apologize for the poor photo quality, I was playing with a new camera, but you can see him there ~ he's the one with the ball.
He also lost his first top front tooth this month. We've finally come to the stages of big, goofy gaps in grins.



Eggs! These were the eggs we actually colored for Easter, something we haven't done in several years since ours are naturally colored. It was a fun experiment.
Here are our current Egg Tallies:

March 2011 - 97 eggs
April 2011 - 82 eggs
Year to Date (as of the end of April) - 349 eggs!

This month has been good egg wise as it is the first month since we've EVER had chickens where ALL our gals laid an egg on the same day. That happened twice this month. Pretty cool.
The general vibe about chickens continues to be positive, and that's making life a lot nicer. We may even look into placing another order of the "What the Cluck" t-shirts as we've had some inquiries about them.




The gardens have begun blooming and we've tried something new this year: selling some home raised plants! Most of them are heirloom varieties and, of course, they're raised 'organically.' I suppose legally I can't use that word since they aren't certified organic, but we grow the all naturally, without chemicals, even using collected rainwater as often as we can to water them. We've sold a lot of our tomatoes, the peppers are still coming in & we have some spoken for already, and the feedback has been really good. It will definitely be something we do next year too.
The best part of this is that it makes me feel like a true urban homesteader now. Obviously we're not able to completely live off of what we grow, but what we grow helps sustain us greatly and now it is even providing us with a little bit of income. Plus, it is wonderful to be able to get to meet new people as we have when we've sold the plants. Absolutely fantastic!


Finally, there was the last day of April, and the 60th Annual Ernest "Pig" Robertson Fishing Rodeo. This is our third year and, like previous years it was full of calamities. Broken lines, a broken pole, and so on. However, unlike previous years, this year both Shannon and Tristan caught a trout. Shannon had actually caught a second one, but as we were reeling it in and trying to get it out of the water, the line broke. We fished for a while longer with no success. Justin's parents were there (also an annual tradition) and, just as we were beginning to get ready to leave, Bill noticed a trout just kinda hanging out where we had our caught ones on the hooks in the water. Justin deftly swooped it up in the net!! It turns out the one that got away didn't get very far, and so we went home with 3 trout.

April also went out with a bang. Justin turned 30 and his party was last night. Needless to say it was a very good one. Full of good food, good drinks, and, most importantly, good friends.

We certainly are looking forward with hope and happiness.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

To Smart Phone or Not to Smart Phone?

What would The Dude do??

In high school I was able to get my own phone line. Not just a phone in my room, but my own friggin' phone number. For a high school girl, who happens to be very chatty, this was like the Golden Ticket. ~ That was cool.

I'll admit to having owned a beeper for a while too. In the days before cell phones, this is what you owned. Looking back on it, it was really stupid. I mean, there weren't cell phones and if you were out somewhere and your mother paged you then you had to hunt here and there for a pay phone (and change for it), all while your mother gets angrier and angrier the longer it takes you to return her call. People paged you with "911" when it couldn't have been less of an emergency. And, we TRIED texting. Think all the abbreviations in texting world are confusing now? You shoulda seen it when we had to use numbers!! ~ Ok, an aside here because, dude, doesn't that just sound like a "You know nothin' youngster. When I was your age and we wanted to text we had to use numbers because they didn't have letters like they do now!!" ~ So, the beeper was, and remains, a joke. Unless you're a doctor or somebody.

A decade ago when I moved back from Charleston, SC and was temporarily living in my Dad's basement, I got a cell phone. It made sense. Minutes were limitless. Ahh .. it's like the 60's and Free Love, but instead it was the 00's and I had Free Minutes. But, it did make sense. I spent very little time at home and, still being rather chatty, this enabled me to go forth and chat as much as I pleased.
I don't remember texting coming along for another 3 years or so. And then it was on a green-lit screen in little black type. Kinda like old computers, but in reverse. And it wasn't a big deal. It was fun, but most people didn't text. Oooh .. another ala the 60's moment of naughtily asking "so, do you ... text?"
~ But the overall look-back of those days was that the cell phone was worth it. Though it always has bothered me that it starts with the word "cell", like I'm imprisoned or something.

After Shannon came along and I began staying at home, our need for a cell phone disappeared. I mean, I was home. If Justin wasn't here he was at work. If he wasn't at work he was on his way to or from or perhaps at lunch. We could handle not being able to reach each other for those time periods.
After Tristan came along we still didn't need a cell phone. But then, my mom & stepdad began being our go-to babysitters. And they couldn't always reach us. And come Summertime and with it staying light a lot longer you can accidentally let several hours go by wherein you're suddenly several hours late picking up your kids and your mother, who isn't prone to worrying or hysterics or anything at all like that, thinks you're in a ditch dead somewhere and begins filing the adoption papers so she can keep the kids. ... Well, sorta. You get the idea.
A cell phone was forced upon us. To tell you how much we resisted and fought the notion, we actually "inherited" my 90 year old grandfather's cell phone. Apparently it did him little good because he just kept it in a drawer all the time. So Mom repo'd it from him and hoisted it upon us.

Now the world has changed and everyone has a cell phone. I do find myself using it a lot. You can't call people, they don't want to be bothered. For those of you on my daily "gotta chat with" list I apologize for being such a pest, know that you are loved dearly, and well, please don't quit talking to me I might go nuts. But, the rest of you! HA!! The rest of you can't be bothered with phones!!!
OR EMAIL!! Who has the time to check email?? There are so many of them too!!! It's overwhelming!!
Then, a somewhat geeky savior came along. We weren't sure about him at first because the colors were bland, but then we came around. That's right FACEBOOK.
Facebook became THE way to connect and stay in touch. You could find everyone and talk with them!! But, that's the problem isn't it? Everyone found you. And they want to talk. About everything. Every .. single .. stupid .. inane .. thought that comes out of their swelled heads. ~ I would be just as guilty of this as everyone else, but face it, all my thoughts are worthy of being saved as magnets and bumper stickers and just generally dipped in gold. Really.
But, since most people have just become a pest and there are enough invites on Facebook to make you miss having to actually mail the damn things, people have begun ignoring Facebook too.

NOW if you want to talk to someone you have to text them. In fact, there was a recent comic strip that joked how if you want to talk to someone you have to text them to let them know that you will be calling them. Not far from the truth.
AND .. there is an app for EVERYTHING!


When we went on vacations last year we did use the online access available with our cell phone. Being out of town and in places with out of date phone books and etc, it did make it helpful. But our phone is now a dinosaur among phones. I wish it could be as cool as having an actual fossil, but I think my phone is more comparable to coprolite. Ya know, fossilized poop. Though I believe coprolites are more valuable than my current cell phone. Maybe I should pour tree sap around my cell phone and allow it to sit and harden for several thousand years. Then it might be worth something again. In fact, I may just have myself buried that way. Surely that would REALLY mess with some folks thousands of millions of years from now ... right???

But, I digress, and in that digression I probably show that I really don't need a smart phone. Or do I? I tried comparing my phone with current smart phones to, well, umm, shop smartly for a smart phone? I pretty much got laughed at, and not in the way I usually like. In the "HA!! You can't compare THAT to THIS!!! HA!" snotty sales clerk who knows everything about smart phones kinda way.
Then I went to a different store. There I met a sales clerk who reminded me of Holt from the Cleveland Show, only taller. "Nope you do NOT want this. It's JUNK. HATE IT! You want this!" ~ Ok, dude, you might've thought you were gaining my trust by telling me this, but really you seemed like a douche. And playing Bob Marley in your store didn't make you any cooler.

I really didn't like feeling like I was just trying to be upsold. I'd be much more comfortable if the sales clerk sat down with me, had a few drinks, and said "Dude, what do you really want to do?" And then we could figure this whole thing out together.

But it doesn't work like that. And all I know is that I liked being able to access a couple things on the web. And I like a couple of the apps. Mostly the really stupid ones like the one with the talking cat. And I'm scared of the Droid phones because I'm scared of robots and androids and my main question if I were to get one of those would be about "Can I change it to say something else other than DROID?? Cuz that really creeps me out." Actually, I don't think I could get a Droid phone, it creeped me out too much just touching it. (And yes, I know they mostly all use Android technology, but that's on the inside and much easier to overlook)

Do I need all these GB?? I don't want to watch movies on my cell phone, that's why I have the man cave-ish living room! I would like to be able to take better quality photos with my cell phone than I currently can, but being a freelance photographer I still want to do the majority of my photos with .. ya know .. my cameras!

So, Dude, I just don't know. I really don't. But I would love to hear your thoughts. So, please, leave me a message and tell me what you think. Do you own a smart phone? Are you uber-hip or are you a quasi-Luddite? Do you really use it for all it's worth?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day Anger

~photo borrowed from http://www.geardiary.com/2009/04/22/celebrate-earth-day/~

Earth Day is upon us once again and normally I would be full of mirth and merriment but instead, today, I'm just pissed off. I know, I know ... I mean, look at me, at our lives, this should be like our Christmas or something, right? Wrong!

So, why am I pissed off? Let's start with the 'More, More, MORE Orgasm' shall we? Supposedly being frugal is now chic. It's hip to save money and companies have responded with a Pavlovian drool response that rivals my dogs'. Groupon. Shortcut.com. Daily Deal. And on and on. At first these things didn't seem so bad. Kinda cute, good deals, yada yada. But now? C'mon man!!! Most of the coupons that you would use in the store are for Frankenfoods that you really wouldn't want to put in your body if you took a second glance at the reality of them. And, these Daily Deal coupons? Ok, not all of them require 'TODAY ONLY!' but a lot of them do. And, you know what, I don't need your shit today! In fact, do I need it at all????
The reality is that these coupons & deals are an attempt to get us to buy more crap. More crap that we likely don't need. Confining it to one day means we have to find a way to acquire that money NOW, meaning we're likely to be spending unwisely: on credit, in lieu of something that is an actual need, etc. This isn't being frugal. This is the exact opposite of it.

Second Gripe: I feel like we have less and less say over our own lives. Even when we own a spot of space of our own there are more and more rules about what we can, or more accurately, CAN NOT do with it. Yea, there's a good chance we'll get to keep our chickens. But should this have been something we've had to fight so hard for and that others are having to fight harder for? Should there be rules that forbid you to hang your laundry to dry? What type of gardens you can plant and where? I mean, what the fuck?
We have spread out and spread out and spread out some more, and in the process we've taken away the ability to provide for ourselves. Food HAS to be imported in because ya certainly can't grow it here!!!! You know, there was a time when you could go out to eat and ask how your food was raised. Not just cooked, but RAISED. Sadly, nowadays you're lucky if they know how it is cooked (and even then you're likely limited to baked, fried, grilled, or broiled - just that, nothing more). As to where it was before it was cooked? In the freezer or walk-in. Before that? On a truck.
If you want to drink good milk it's gonna come from between 45 minutes away and an hour away. And your choices here are extremely limited. Raw milk is illegal. At first you might think this isn't so bad, right? Wrong. Am I not intelligent enough to be able to decide for myself what to consume? Apparently so. This kind of reminds me of Robin Hood. Where it's illegal to hunt for wild animals because they all belong to the King.

And, finally, for the same reason I was so pissed off about Earth Day in high school: Earth Day Whores. Because, and I am quoting what I said to my chemistry class in high school here, you twits don't give a shit about it any other day of the year, you're just doing all this right now for another "look at me" opportunity. The week leading up to Earth Day it becomes a pep-rally orgy of banners and slogans and other cutesy crap. How much "Earth Day 2011" crap was sold this year? Really? Did we need to create so much more junk? Is that really celebrating the earth?
In some of the photos I saw today there was one on a beach in Florida from Earth Day 2009. 4,000 pounds were used to create a colored sand sculpture that spelled out "SAVE OUR EARTH". It was pretty, so were those stupid banners. It was so big that well, hmmm ..... where could you REALLY get a good view of it???? Oh!!! I know!!! THE SKY!!!!! HELLO MEDIA OPPORTUNITY!!!!!

Unless of course they're trying to talk to possible aliens in space. And, should that be the case, I'm pretty certain those aliens would agree with that cartoon up top.


PS ~ Just in case, I feel I need to clarify something. If you've read this and you read my above rant about Earth Day Whores, I am not calling YOU specifically one. That "you twits" statement was something I said in high school. And THEY were twits. But you ... well, you read this, so likely you're pretty friggin' awesome.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Conversations with Sam Elliott

We all seek guidance from time to time, and it is well acknowledged that the devine is within us. I'm not sure who you talk to when you talk to the devine, but I'm usually talking to Sam Elliott. Don't ask me why, I'm not really sure. It's just that he was really, really hot in Roadhouse and he seems pretty wise in general, and has a wonderfully soothing voice.


Me - Dear Sam Elliott, I'm really feeling lost today.



Sam Elliott - Why are you addressing me? You aren't writing a letter. I'm right here, just talk. It's no wonder you're lost if you can't tell whether or not you are talking or writing.



Me - True. But, technically I am writing this all down ...



Sam Elliott - Well, go on then darling.



Me - I am feeling lost today. I need to go to the grocery store but I am worried about how much I will end up spending.



Sam Elliott - You're bothering me for this?



Me - Well, I am concerned about money! That's a fair concern to have. I mean how am I ..



Sam Elliott, cutting me off - Hey hey hey now. Have you looked around lately? Have you seen how many other people are hurtin'? Don't you think you have it pretty good comparatively speakin'?



Me - True. You're right, I do have it pretty good.



Sam Elliott - So, why are you workin' yourself up in a fit about this?



Me - I just wish I could do more. I wish I could contribute more.



Sam Elliott - Justin would say that if you want to contribute more you should offer to have sex more frequently...



Me - Hey!! We're not talking about Justin here. We're talking about me.



Sam Elliott - Just sayin'..



Me - Yea, well, who's side are you on?


Sam Elliott - Sex is always good, I don't mind being on either side. You should try that more often.



Me - What? You do know people are going to read this don't you? I mean, geez, my mom might read this!



Sam Elliott - Are you trying to say your mom doesn't like sex?



Me - No, she does. Wait, why am I talking with you about my mother and sex?!!? I'm trying to talk to you about money.



Sam Elliott - Sex & money ... those two conversations have always gone hand in hand together.



Me - Quit it! Sam Elliott - Just sayin' ..




Ok - so apparently Sam Elliott is just being a silly pervert today. Do any of y'all have these problems when trying to have a serious conversations with your inner-divineness?




Sam Elliott - Don't call me your "inner-divineness" please, that sounds a little too girly for my tastes.



Me - Ok ... fine. What do you want me to call you?



Sam Elliott - Stick with 'Sam Elliott' I don't think we're close enough yet for anything else.



Me - Really?



Sam Elliott - Yea, you gotta earn it.



Me - *sigh* fine.



Sam Elliott - Don't worry darling, it's almost Friday.



Me - And that means what to me?



Sam Elliott - I don't know. You can always watch 'Roadhouse' again and see if that helps.



Monday, March 28, 2011

Hello Spring?

Just as we in Southwestern Virginia were beginning to enjoy sunny days with temperatures in the mid to upper 60's we have been brought crashing back down into reality by daytime highs in the 40's and the occasional snow shower. Forget the capris, sunglasses, & sandals!! Now we're all running around in UGGs and jackets, freaking out about our flowering fruit trees, blooming flowers, and gardens!!! OH THE TRAVESTY!!!!! Just last week Tristan and I were playing on the playground while Shannon had his soccer practice. Tristan was in shorts and a t-shirt, though it was still a little cool so early in the morning. This past Saturday though?? FREEZING!!! Ok, maybe not freezing. But 40 degrees and there was a breeze. So, close enough for us all to be bundled up. I hadn't made Tristan wear a jacket, I had let him go out (actually, Justin did this, it's all his fault. If you're going to report me to Child Protective Services for this, blame him first) with just a hoodie sweatshirt on. Well .. obviously that and a shirt underneath and jeans and socks, shoes, and underwear. All in that order knowing Tristan. Still though, he was cold. I had brought a looped scarf (a long cowl?) with me in case I got cold. I had been wearing it but was worried about Tristan being cold. I asked him if he wanted to wear it. He said he did.

No, that's not an Ewok from one of the Star Wars movies (though oddly and off-topically enough, Foster does do an impressive Chewbacca impersonation!). That's Tristan. He looks like a cross between an Ewok & a Babushka. With a playground ball.


Spring, I don't know where you've gone to but I'm ready for you to come back. But, till then, I'm bundling us all up a little bit better!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Signs of Spring

Everyone has their different particular signs that Spring is officially here. Maybe it is trees beginning to bud and blossom.

This is one of our redbud trees.


Our Bradford Pear tree, suddenly going into full bloom!

In the foreground you can see our newest fruit tree, a sweet cherry variety called 'Sweetheart' (under which Jomo's belongings are buried), in the back ground you can see the lilac that my great-grandmother planted full of buds and ready to bloom.

Maybe your sign that Spring is here is the flowers that begin popping up.

The daffodils we planted when we first moved in. The tulips were originally planted by my great-grandmother. We've moved them around in the yard, letting them regain their health and begin to blossom once again!

Perhaps your sign is when seeds are started for Summer's gardens.


We found this little mini-greenhouse at our local Lowe's for $39. It's exciting to try out and we're full of high hopes.

Heck, maybe your sign of Spring is the chicken's return to the yard and green grass!


But here one of my official signs. It is when my dogs go from lounging about the house like this:


To insisting, at the very least, on lounging in the sun-warmed back hallway where they can catch a nice breeze every now & then.


That is one of my most official signs, along with the kids' insistence on being outdoors playing as much as the possibly can.

What are your signs?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Twilight Zone

*PRE-BLOG WARNING: This post contains some political opinions and cussing. Proceed at your own caution*

Facebook is a funny beast. You can find old friends, re-ignite long dead relationships, and meet new friends. You can also meet some really interesting people. This is one such story.

I had sent a friend request to someone I had known in high school, for privacy sake let's call him "DA". We had several similar friends (including a family member). He accepted my request. But, last night he sent me a message on facebook asking who I was and how I knew him. I told him we went to school together. DA replied that he didn't keep up with the past. I mentioned how I had seen him not to long ago, out and about. Then I went and looked at his page. His profile picture was in costume, but when I looked at his other photos I realized I didn't know him. I knew someone else with the same name. I laughed and told him of my error, apologizing and telling him I would remove him as a friend since we didn't know each other. He told me that I didn't have to and started chatting with me. We chatted till I had to leave for dinner.

Today I posted this status: Another tray of seeds are in the greenhouse! Heirloom banana peppers, miniature chocolate bell peppers, habanero peppers, basil, melons, and various varieties of heirloom tomatoes!! :)

This is now where we begin to enter the Twilight Zone.

DA sends me a private message a couple minutes after I post that, with the subject line being "LOL". Here is a copy of the messages back and forth between us, which I have NOT edited AT ALL:

DA: I can get that stuff at subway and not worry about taking the time to plant that shit

Me: Yea, but that shit you get is grown in & covered with chemicals. Our stuff is grown organically, enriches our soil, provides habitats & food for wildlife (bees, etc), nourishes our bodies and soul and etc, etc, etc. So there. ;P hee hee

DA: you probably voted for obama... didnt you!

Me: Ah-yup. :D

DA: his ass is out here soon, a bush will be back soon, thank god, I hope all you liberal mf love the change

Me: Hahaha, I take it you don't give a damn about politics, do you? :)

DA: i give a damn, thats mf goes on and does his bullshit thing, hes a nig in the office that has spent more money and doesnt to a mf thing

Me: Compared to Bush who did SO much good?? Or compared to the mind-numbing idiocy of Palin? Or compared to soo many things several Republicans are now trying to push regarding women's rights??

DA: fk him and his 4 years, so glad that son of a bitch is out soon
DA: its always something but republicans and myself dont have shit, oh and by the way I am a fan of sarah, she is down to earth, good hearted women

Me: Dude, you're completely entitled to your opinion. I don't care if you're a Republican. I don't vote by party and don't consider myself aligned with any party. I've voted for both sides. Frankly, I think most people in power are all the same, regardless of party. But, do me a favor will ya, if you're going to cuss then cuss. At least have the balls to type it out properly. I won't offend. ;)

DA: I dont have a problem about cussing

Me: you just can't type it? :)

DA: yeah I can and how do you like those fucking gas prices now obama... get what you vote for and the goddamn health care, nice vote i tell ya

Me: Umm .. I'm guessing you've forgotten 2008 when gas prices hit bottom. Ole GW was still in charge then. Regarding health care, our system has been fucked up for a LONG time. But, then again, I don't care for Western medicine. And, again, look at what a lot of Republicans are pushing now regarding women's health care rights. And, just an fyi, if the Democrats were pushing such atrocities, I would be just as outraged.

DA: your a hippy what else can I say
DA: maybe a tree hugger too??

Me: If you say so. But I DID attend the most recent Republican party meeting held in Salem.

DA: good for you

Me: Thank you. I was talking to them because they support my current cause. Habeeb and Ralph Smith were there. I talked before they did. I was even nice enough to wear my dreads pulled back in a ponytail. Didn't want to freak them out too much. :)

DA: ya think

Me: I think what?

DA: with your smoked up dreads.. Im sure it smelled nice

Me: My dreads smoked up?? There's an assumption! But I did smell nice. I always smell nice. Friggin' golden, dude.

DA: I can just tell by talking to you , Im not a dude you hippy, you take care, Iam done talking with you

Me: Later then, man. :)
Me: Wait, if you're not a dude then are you a chick?

This conversation lasted a little over an hour. I was laughing during it and I assumed he was too, given the randomness of it all and the fact that his original subject line had been "LOL." I figured when he said he was done talking with me that he was off to do something else. NOPE. He de-friended me!!! I was dumbfounded but not the least bit offended or hurt.

To me this is like walking up to someone you think you know, tapping them on the shoulder and saying hi, only to realize you're mistaken and don't know then. You apologize and try to excuse yourself, but they start chatting you up. So, you talk to them. Then, suddenly they start getting mad at you and storm off in a huff, leaving you wander if you really are drunk or high or something and the people with you "Wait, did you just see that?" because you begin to wonder if the whole thing was real or not.

Totally TWILIGHT ZONE. And worth the laugh that it has given me. I hope you can get a laugh out of it too. If not, I guess I'm sorry you read this far? :)

In my head .. again

No doom this time though. Whew.

I live in my head a lot. It makes the world much nicer. In my head our house is situated on at least 500 acres of land. The gardens are large and abundant. It's a step back in history to slightly before the time our house was actually built.

This morning I am in my head once again. Not on my 500 acres though. I am out roaming around the world. I am in my VW Westy, which someday I will actually own.

I am rolling out of it, foggy headed & with wild dreads, and I am ambling over to the campfire. Stirring the coals back around, starting back up a small fire so that I can cook breakfast. Hmm .. I think this morning's breakfast is definitely bacon & potato hash. Smoke from the burning wood drifts into the VW and swirls about inside like incense.

What will the day hold for me? Where will we wander about? We are free today to do as we please. Laugh, drink, sing, roam, explore ... imagining all the possibilities.


In reality, I hear beer bottles clinking outside. Today our Belgian Blonde Ale will get bottled. The beer is calling to me heavily already this morning. Some Sundays are perfect for sitting out on the deck and sipping on beers.

Yesterday was good. We moved the chickens back to the yard and cleaned out their Winter Chalet. We set up the new mini-greenhouse and started some seeds. We were outdoors most of the day and it was magnificent.
Justin has had a beef roast going in the crockpot since yesterday and the aroma of it is driving me out of my mind. I think I my drooling could compete with the Mastiff's.

The roast wasn't ready for dinner last night, so we picked up some fresh made North Carolina BBQ from a couple who has set up shop on Main Street. A small trailer with a impressive smoker rigged up next to it. How can you deny the allure of the smoker?

Today we will likely plant some more seeds. It is that time of year and since we missed out on it last year we are looking forward to it all the more now. The trees are blooming, going from bare branches to full blossoms overnight.

I am ok with my head and reality not quite syncing up right now. Both are fantastic worlds to be in.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Doom Spiral Conversation

Have you ever woken up with that feeling of impending doom? I know you have, we all have ... right? And you wonder what's going on. What is making you feel this way? So you sit there and ponder it with yourself. Here is how that conversation with yourself might go, or at least how mine is going today:


Wake up full of sadness.

*Well, you did drink last night.*

Yea, maybe that's it. Did I do something stupid?

*I don't think so. But then again, I was drinking too.*

Well, what did I do? Did I say things I shouldn't have?

*Hmm .. you were telling stories from the past. But I'm pretty sure they were funny, so I think you're all good there.*

I probably shouldn't have driven.

*Yea, that part's true. Lucky thing you drink close to home and you weren't really THAT drunk, just a little tipsy drunk. Still though .. no excuse .. shame on you for that one. You're gonna have to just acknowledge it, feel bad about it, be glad nothing bad happened and promise not to do it again.*

Agreed. I promise. Maybe I'm getting older and feeling more responsible.

*Yea, you are old now.*

Shut up, you're not helping.
So .. what else is wrong?? Why the doom?

*Ummm ... it's raining? Don't rainy days make people feel full of doom?*

Not me though, I like the rain.

*Maybe a flood is comin'. Better check on the cows*

Ok, now you're just off your rocker!
I wish Justin had stayed home from work today. Maybe the impending doom is my subconscious knowing he's going to get in a wreck or something.

*Don't say that!! You know he'll be fine. Your subconscious is full of shit.*

You're my subconscious.

*Um .. yea. I meant the other subconscious. You know, like the cartoons, one on each shoulder saying different things.*

So, now I have two of you??

*Quit bugging me, we're trying to figure out the doom. Maybe you're having a heart attack.*

WHAT?!?! OH MY GOD, 'feelings of impending doom' IS A SIGN OF HEART ATTACKS IN WOMEN!!!!! WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THIS EARLIER???????

*Wait, don't freak out yet, you'll just give yourself a heart attack.*

DUDE, that is SO NOT FUNNY!!

*(giggles)*

Quit it!! I might be dying!! Wait ... I saw that Nicole Kidman movie. What the hell was it? 'The Others' maybe?? You know, where they're living their life and in the end it turns out they have been dead all along and just not known it. She killed her kids and everything!

*What? But you didn't kill your kids.*

Yea, but she didn't know that either. Dead people never seem to know they're dead. Haven't you been watching these movies with me?? You're my subconscious!! Aren't you obligated to be there??

*It's not in my contract.*

But in ALL the movies ..... wait .... you have a contract??

*Don't go there. And lay off the thing about the movies. You're just going to give yourself a panic attack and that's going to lead to a heart attack and then you WILL be dead and not even know it!*

Ha, who's crazy now??

*Have you looked up the symptoms for heart attacks in women?*

You know I have!! Why is EVERYTHING a possible symptom for a heart attack in women?!!? Impending doom? Check. Anxiety? Check. Got your period? Check.

*You don't have your period.*

I know, but it's still like a possible heart attack symptom!!

*Now you're just being silly. I think it's that Valium I slipped you.*

You're slipping me Valium now???

*Well, someone needed to. Hell, look at the stuff you're blogging right now.*

Fair enough. Thanks then I guess.

*You're welcome.*
*Hey, Ellie mentioned it might be the robot thing she posted on Facebook the other day. You are pretty scared of robots...*

Impending doom caused by robots?? Sounds plausible. I think I'll run with that.

*I think you should quit this blog post now. People are going to start thinking you're crazy*

You already know that they do.

*True. But still .. knock it off*

Ok.


~And there you go. The doom spiral conversation. You DO have these with yourself .. right???