Friday, October 31, 2008

Is it really Friday?

When I feel this tired, I always plan on writing nothing at all, but here I am. It's the end of a big week and it's Halloween. There have been so many highlights to this week. I connected with an old college friend. During the course of that conversation we both realized how great it felt to talk with one another. We've both changed so much and so little nearly 20 years later. Good friends helped me out with a photography dilemma. It was just such a life saver because the task should have been small, but somehow turned into a mountain. Long story.... not worth going into. I had another conversation with a friend who reminded me how right everything is in my life, even though I worry and wonder about my career winking at me in the past, still "on hold." This decision I've made to be present with my kids while they're young is not always a clear one. I want it all, and that is no easy thing to achieve.

There were real downers too this week. A dear friend of ours has been struggling with MS for years. This month, the disease has been kicking his bottom, and it just breaks my heart. He is hopefully receiving some intensive medical treatment even as I write that can get him back to his old self. Send a warm thought his way if you can.

In an effort to avoid some of the things I needed to get done, and some of the things that are dragging me down right now, I got online. What good red blooded American doesn't do that to tune out I ask you? I came across this site and submitted two of the quilts from above in their contest. Why the heck not, right? You can too if you hurry, my quilting friends... the deadline is tomorrow. But surely you have something you need to avoid doing and should spend the time instead submitting a picture of your beautiful work. You can take a look at everyone's quilts... prepare to be inspired.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I did it!

I completed my first sweater... and it only took me 6 months! Still, I love it and all the flaws look beautiful to me. I've come far because I don't even cringe when I look at all those imperfect spots. There are many. The thing that really slowed me down was the seams. No one told me that sewing up all those seams would be such a pain. I get why folks "knit in the round."

The pattern is from Debbie Bliss. I got the book from the library and it was so long ago, I can't remember the name. It's a great first sweater pattern if you ask me. Then again, I'm no expert. I taught myself to knit last winter from a children's "Klutz" book on knitting. Do you know that series? I doubt they carry it in yarn shops. Still, after many attempts at trying to knit I was ready to try whatever. The simple projects, directions, and pics guided me along. I made everyone that I knew a hat from that book last winter. They're super cute too. My motto is don't diss the "Klutz" series.

Nothing makes my day more than watching my little adventurer run by in his new sweater. See? He's trying to climb in there and show Mrs. Alligator what his mommy made him.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Today in my world

These are the zinnias that I frantically picked at the end of the day yesterday when my husband said it might snow in the night. Secretly I thought he was surely wrong, but I cut a bunch, not all. Yes, they are in a bucket from the beach and yes, that is lovely designer 50's Formica in the background. No fancy granite back splash for this house.

Tuesday mornings are always a frenzy in this house because that's the day I teach so we all have to get out the door and look halfway decent. This morning's frenzy involved lots of excitement about snow for the kids. For my husband and I, it was all about figuring out if work would continue, possible school closings or delays, and where in the heck were the winter jackets, mittens, and hats from last year?! When I got home I took a few pictures my little guy ran wild exclaiming over and over "SNOW!!!!"

Finally, I wrangled him inside for a nap and he could just barely stop talking about it. Looking out the window now it is as if it never happened.... our blizzard in October in the southeast.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our trip

It was amazing to spend a week together, just the four of us. The whole idea of "getting away" has never really been something we've done as a family before... just us, no other friends or family. It is rejuvenating in a way that I can not explain. It made me realize how great we are together, just the four of us. We have a rhythm that is all our own and it works so well for us. Our way of being together is full of joy, lots of activity, plenty of peaceful moments, sibling squabbles, two year old tantrums... you know.... the whole real deal. The thing that is so precious is that it's "ours". The realization that we're a "family" just bowled me over because I can remember a time just six years ago when I wanted all of it so badly. I think with the fatigue of child rearing and every day stressors I had lost sight of some of that.

A major focus of the week for our entire family was fishing! When my husband does anything, he does it whole hog. I mean this in a good way. It is one of the things I love about him. He is filled with energy and enthusiasm when he is interested in something. I can see the boy, that I didn't know then, in the man I know so well now. It is really incredibly sweet. But, hang on, because whatever he's focused on, the family will be consumed in. So, we all became intense fisherpersons. I caught the first and it was a skate. This looks very similar to a sting ray. Then there were days more of watching that pole to no avail. We waited. The fish laughed. Then he bought a bait net, and kind of learned to throw it. Good technique or no, he caught lots of mullet. Suddenly, we were no longer having to purchase those frozen bait. No... not us experienced fisherpersons! Then, in the last two days we were there two blue fish were caught. He says that each of the kids caught one, and laughs that he never caught a thing. Let me tell you, we ate those fish that night, sorting through the tiny bones, and claimed ourselves full! We were one proud group of fisherpersons.

There were plenty of moments like this playing in the sand and water. I got in lots of reading, knitting, sewing, and playing with the kids. I could have lived like this for days on end.

One of the things I will never forget is the two of them together on this vacation. We plan to do this trip once a year now, but I know that the dynamics between them will shift with the ebb and flow of their development. On this trip, though, they were so tight. They played together constantly. It could be argued that this was because there were no other kids around. I don't think so, though. They played for hours like this together, driving trucks, him following her (for now.) They dug sand, made cakes, played bakery, fished, ran, laughed, and got wet. On the last night there she told me she didn't like her bed anymore. I asked her why. She answered that she didn't like it because she wanted to sleep in the room with her brother like at home. I snuggled her close and marvelled at how often we receive exactly what we need.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Indian Summer

I know that it's not a politically correct or culturally sensitive term, but Indian Summer describes this time of year so perfectly in the southeastern United States. There is still plenty of produce handing itself up in the garden, flowers, bright blue skies, and leaves starting to change all at the same time. It is magnificent and will be hard to leave right now. We are headed for a family vacation at the beach for a week. There will be no business, no blogging, no teaching, just the four of us settling into a relaxed schedule that we really need right now. I am taking my knitting needles and my sewing machine, though. See you in a week, friends.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Quilt Giveaway

I stumbled across this lovely blog today, Pigtails and Snails. This generous and talented woman has made a beautiful quilt and is giving it away. Go take a look. Alrighty then, I thought I would write more but my two year old is yelling at the top of his lungs... "go!" Really, he is. What a whipper snapper.

Sit a spell

Our living room
Originally uploaded by brown robin
I try to sit down for at least five minutes each day to rest, breath, and relax. It's always amazing to me how rejuvenating this time can be. I gave up any idea of formal meditation a long time ago, but sitting quietly for five minutes is one of my forms of meditation. Running, biking, sewing, gardening, and knitting are too.

There is a new flicker group called "Sit a spell." It's fun to check out other folks' sanctuaries. One of my other favorite indoor spots is propped up in our bed... always a winner in my book.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Here comes the color!

I went on an amazing hike with my friend this weekend and this is some of what we saw! It's begun... the leaves are turning. Of course, I had to take a picture of the snake for my kids. My friend told me that snakes are about "transformation." I like that. It fits. It was so good to walk and talk in a way that only old friends can. She knows all my history and there's no stumbling around groping for the words to explain something. She probably knows what I'm going to say before I say it. But she tolerates my long rambling threads anyway.

The last 36 hours has been all about that tummy bug giving back... now to my husband and my sweet girl. Not pretty in our house, but we're working on getting back to normal. Another incredible fall today and a few raspberries on our canes. Yum, yum.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A special request

Does anyone remember this fabric on the outside of this bag? Go ahead, take a guess. I've been hoarding it, waiting for the perfect occasion. A sweet young woman choose it for her bag. I'm figuring that she's carrying the cutest bag at the middle school. This pattern is my own version of Amy Butler's swing bag; I've changed some of the dimensions and details. One of my tried-and-true favorites to sew!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oh, happy day...

Peppers from our garden. These were consumed before we made it in the door, but there are more to come if we don't have an early freeze. There's pesto to be made with our abundance of basil, but I'm dragging my feet. It's a big process... we freeze it in ice cube trays for use through out the year. There's nothing like some pesto from the garden in the middle of winter.

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's more fun to write than clean

Let's face it. It's more fun to do just about anything than clean. Yesterday had all it's usual ups and downs. I did not get nearly the number of things done that I felt needed to be done. Why is it so easy to focus on all the downs when it's an overcast day?

I'd like to tell you that I accomplished great things, that my life was extraordinary and not just the ordinary. I'd like to tell you that I changed lives, won the Nobel Peace prize, created great works of art, earned a significant income. Instead, the toilet stopped up, I cleaned, did laundry, made meals for the fam, and went for a lovely walk with my kids and our dear friends. I did not get any of my students' test graded, or prep for the next class.

At nap time my little guy nearly shook the crib to pieces. He wasn't mad either, he's just that energetic. Ask anyone who knows him or has seen his blurred outline running by. After the shaking and jumping, I heard coming from the room, "1, 2, 3...." and then, "8, 9, 10." He's not even 26 months yet! How do they grow up so fast? I wanted to go in and ask him if he could channel some of that energy and intelligence into getting out of diapers, but I held back.

He also went up to every single kid and mom yesterday when we were leaving the school and gave them a hug. This guy is a hugger and he wants everyone around him to feel the love.... pretty sweet.
This, by the way, is our lone butternut squash. We planted a packet full of seeds and this is the sole result. Send it nurturing thoughts because we're really hoping that it grows substantially more so that we can eat it. Every day my big girl asks if it's ready yet. "Nope," I say every day, "not quite yet." I explained the concept of a watched pot never boiling yesterday. She looked at me and announced, "mom, this is not a pot." Right... got it.

So at the end of the day yesterday, I had to remind myself that the choices I am making are soooo right for me and my family. It's hard to quantify what I do in a day and make it look like anything at all. Really, it's about what you can't see and add up in this world, isn't it?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My world today

This is a picture taken a couple of evenings ago on one of our walks from the house. It's an overcast evening so you can just barely see the colors starting to turn. This morning is devoted to cleaning house which is not my favorite, but it just has to be done. I'm listening to WNCW public radio while I attack the house. Check it out... it is famous for it's playlists. Alrighty then, time to go get busy. Twenty-seven days until the vote in our country, friends. I'm thinking positive thoughts and focusing on the hope I see all around me despite the media's doom.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Blog Without Obligation

I am reminding myself that my commitment to blog without obligation (the raven badge on the right... BWO) is what I really believe. It's o.k. to say what you have to say, and write as often or as infrequently as you want. So the fact that I haven't posted in days is fine and whatever I want to write about it fine too. No one has to read it, right?

It's so important to me to be authentic even as I monitor myself so as not to share too much personal info with the world wide web community. I have noticed that I feel anxious when people tell me that they read my blog and my life seems so idyllic. That causes me to pause and reflect. My life IS idyllic in many respects, but it's also filled with chaos at times. Why do I feel somehow guilty when I receive feedback about a life that is idyllic? Guilt is about doing something wrong. I haven't done anything wrong, but I always feel like I should apologize as if I am somehow fooling people. I think the bottom line is I am taking myself a little too seriously, and one of these days I will stop that! A blog can only reveal a sliver of my life. Life is complex and chaotic, but I enjoy focusing on the quieter moments in my blog. My friend said she enjoyed cozying up with my blog as if she was sharing a nice cup of tea (or something like that.)

Our trip out west was a roller coaster ride. There were plenty of great moments, but plenty of not so great ones. The worst was that I got some nasty stomach bug and only made it to an hour of my sister's wedding. I spent that day in the hotel room wishing I were home (or dead) and then the evening of the wedding crying because I was not a part of a fantastic party (by all accounts that I've heard.) It sucked. It was the bug that just kept on giving, and I could not tough it out in the presence of others. Ugh... life!

I gave my class their first mid term exam. It was also my first exam that I have ever composed. I told them it was way harder to write a test than it is to study for one. They just rolled their eyes, and gave me lots of groans. What? It wasn't an insensitive remark! I SWEAR it is way harder to write a test... who would have known?

I hope to get back to sewing this week, or maybe a run... we'll see. I have plenty of tests to grade. Oh, by the way, this photo... It's a rose in our garden that has been blooming since early summer. It just keeps on giving, too. Isn't that just the best when it's a rose and not a tummy bug?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another walk

Yes, we've been fitting in as many of these as we can. It's great fun to be the observer as the two of them enjoy one another's company. They are so bonded. I remember the moment they met in person, and it was as if they had known each other for lifetimes. Really. I've never seen anything like it. My sisters and I are close in that way, but I wonder if we're really as close as all that... is it possible?!

So we're headed out for a chunk of time to my sister's wedding and I'm getting more and more excited. A quick trip out west with little ones is a bit daunting... airlines, time changes, hotels... you know, the whole "kids off schedule" thing. Still, tomorrow we head out and I can feel my anticipation building... in good ways. I will get to be with my sisters and a whole herd of family that I haven't seen in a bit. Good times, for sure.