Thursday, April 29, 2010

Birds and Berries

We get so much enjoyment and education from feeding and watching the birds who visit us. Their varied colors, sizes, shapes, behaviors, songs and styles enrich our lives every day of the year. We spend a fair amount of money on food for the birds - seeds, fruit, sugar, the occasional package of dried worms and a bit of jelly now and then.

We have recently planted raspberries and blueberries and have had tame blackberry plants for a while now. We're excited at the prospect of fresh fruit from our own bushes - fruit for US to eat.

I think you may see the issue here. We love the birds. We love the berries. The birds love the berries.

I'll be spending a fair amount of money on bird feed AND on netting to keep the birds away from the berries.

Life can be complicated.

Friday, January 29, 2010

It's about time, eh?

It's time to start anew. A new year, nearly a month gone. So I begin again.

The last few months have been hard. My moods quixotic. My heart alternately light and heavy. G's status changing by the minute like rapid cycling manic/depressive. And dear Isabella or rather, Ella, as she's now known is herself in an early adolescence of oily hair and swift mood changes. In other words, it's been a long late fall and winter for the three of us. HURRY UP, SPRING.

The young women I spend time with are blessings to my soul, my mind and my heart. They each renew my faith in our world and in womankind. I love to listen to them but occasionally spend too much time telling them about the past. I'm determined to stop it. They experience the world from their places in it, not mine. The past isn't the present. If you feel you need to remind me at anytime then smack me, please. I beg you.

G's excited beyond words. We're celebrating his birthday a week early as Bella, er Ella, and I will be attending the Unschooling conference in Ohio on his actual birthday. Poor guy, alone on his birthday. Alone except for a small dog who'll keep him busy and snuggle with him in bed. But back to this weekend - the house will be full of his progeny. Several adults but the tiny girl, rowdy big boys, and lovely teen make the visit extra-special. What fun he'll have. What fun we'll all have. I predict many sets of Rock Band and lots of other nonsense.

Now I have to get busy. He's requested I prepare chili, pork tenderloin, chicken cacciatore, cornbread, cheese pies, chocolate peanut butter cookies, carrot cake...

I've warned Miss Ella to pull her nose out of that book and head to the kitchen so I had better get there, too.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm certain you've been waiting with bated breath. Ha.

I took time off but need to write again. So Tom Waits is serenading me and I'm back in front of the keyboard thanks to a small push from a friend in Slovenia.

Speaking of Slovenia brings me to the language spoken there. Our friends there speak English very well. I can't speak Slovene at all. I tried to communicate via a couple of translation tools and called something a cat when I meant a waterfall. I'm thankful to my friend, AleŇ°, for his patience and good humor. I'm sure there are any number of Slovenian people on Facebook who think I'm insane. They're probably right.

Autumn has come with blasts of cool, damp air and gray skies. We're busy with learning activities and getting the house and property ready for winter. Isabella's trumpet and piano practice has Maggie dancing and Max howling along with the 'tunes'. Who knew a miniature dachshund liked to dance? Isabella thinks she'd make a good circus dog.

The idiocy of our federal legislative process continues to irritate my soul. Hello, Democrats! You're in the majority - and you have the White House. What the shiny hell are you waiting for? Why don't we have decent health care legislation passed and signed? You people are driving me to drink.

As the year end comes closer I think of the time since Mom died. Thanksgiving and Christmas will be difficult this year - and for many years to come.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

See, I told you.

Those eyes.
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Those eyes!

I can't thank Karen enough for capturing 'those' eyes. The light from them makes my world shine.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Learning while wet

She has a hard time remembering numbers, she needs things in her hand or in front of her eyes to help it stick. So today she played in the water. She splashed and dumped and slopped like a three year old but she also got it - finally got it - 8 ounces in a cup, two cups in a pint, two pints in a quart, four quarts in a gallon. Then she took her pencil and worked out problems. She could SEE that you need to divide to find some answers and multiply to find others. It made sense to her. A gallon is divided by 8 to find out how many pints it would take to hold that much liquid. A cup is multiplied to see how many it would take to fit inside that 2 gallon pot.

She plans to spend time later this week measuring out how many tablespoons are in a gallon. I think we'll do that outside where the splashing will water the flowers.

Learning and keeping cool. I like it. More importantly, she likes it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rock band 2, time flies and an ostrich bone

Bella wants to buy Rock Band 2 with her birthday money. Holy.... She's just turned 11 and is not too rhythmic but makes up for it in enthusiasm. Guess who will have to play and sing with her? The things a momma will do. Ish.

Speaking of Rock Band - I was serenaded by singing and playing last night until the wee smalls by Boo and friends celebrating their high school graduation. Boo or 'Jofuss' as his brother, Nate, named him on the day he was born - at home weighing well over 11 pounds. My baby sister's baby who has been through hell and walked back in his short 18 years is moving on to the next place in his life. Where has the time gone? How could he be so tall and witty and preparing to take on the world - well college anyway - in a few short weeks? He will leave Peter at home to take care of their momma and dad and the cats when he takes wing and flies off. Peter is up to the task. Nate has trained his brothers well and they're following in his footsteps. They sing, they pay music, they analyze the world, they care deeply about important things. Anne and David have done a fantastic job and continue to do so.

Spending a few days in Madison always does me good. In addition to enjoying spending time with Anne, David, Nate, Joseph and Peter we once again had the pleasure of strolling around the Dane County Farmers Market. What an amazing experience. I question each time why there's nothing like it anywhere in my state. Imagine another place where the grounds of the state capitol are given over every Saturday in the warm months to a huge farmers market. Our growing season is longer but we have nothing to compete with the wonders of the market. (I can't add photos today but I will when we get home.) The fellow with the 'bee hat', every type of cheese you could imagine, flowers everywhere, the fantastic fresh produce. Did I mention baked good of every shape, size, and sort? Amazing, freaking amazing. But the coolest find belonged to David and Bella. The 'ostrich sausage' booth had eggs you could look inside, really good sausage (per david) and ostrich bones for sale. Smoked Ostrich bones for sale! We bought an 'xtra small' one and brought it back to Maggie J who had to stay in the bathroom while we went to graduation. She was stunned. We gave her a bone as big as her whole body. It's a hoot to watch her drag it around.

Of course there's the added benefit of being with 'my kind'. I saw two cars with my all-time favorite bumper sticker 'a bleeding heart is better than none at all'. Two! I think I belong here.

I've always heard the old saw, 'the older you get, the faster time goes' which has proven to be true for me. Bella is 11. She can swim fantastic distances, writes a good story, has very few nightmares these days, trained in Red Cross rescue the past two weeks and is planning a near future making big money babysitting and as a life guard. She earned special kudos from her instructor, Cheryl, from Cheryl's boss and our old friend, Mitch and from Adam, her swim team coach. A 52 pound girl who can 'rescue' a 10 pound brick from the bottom of the deep end of the pool and follow the proper steps to bring it back safely to the shallow end is something akin to a mouse pulling an elephant from quicksand. Where did that 26-pound, frail, pale wisp of a frightened four year old girl go? I only turned around and she's 11 and accomplishing miracles.
She pulls away and rolls her eyes when I want to hug or kiss her in public but still wants a lap and a snuggle when we're alone. That's good enough for me.