Monday, August 31, 2009

That's My Baby

My little man turned 10 last weekend. Thought I would re-live the baby days with a few photos. All weekend I was remembering the way it felt to hold him on my hip and dance around, to pull up a chair for him to "help" me cook, to smell his little baby head of whispy hairs snuggled right under mine at nap time, his giddy, crazy laughter, and playing farm.
Then there's the stuff we did that we still do: "venturing" around the neighborhood with swords, playing star wars, blind man's bluff/ hide and seek, reading together, morning snuggles. I'd love to do it all over again. I love you , Jess.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Maine Through the Fish Eye

A few first tries thru the viewfinder of my Argus. Need to rethink my contraption a little.

Ok, Maine

These are a few photos of my visit with Natalie in Belfast for a week. We were right on the water (the top pic is the view from my window) and had a great time. She set it all up: whale watching, kayaking, sailing. So, I'm thankful and feeling rested and ready to face the facts that my daughter is a high schooler today.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Contraption! Contraption!

This is my contraption for the argus cameras I bought a couple of weeks ago. I stayed up late watching Arrested Development and taping it together last night so I could bring it with me today. I have not been this excited about an idea in years. I never have used my Diana like I should, because I would have to send the film off to develop it. This is my answer. Instant gratification! And isn't that what life's all about?

Souvenirs From Our Beach

Did last minute project before I leave for Maine. I saw at tutorial on Sea glass jewelry and decided to use some of the pieces I've been collecting with every trip to the Gulf Coast to make a gift for my friend,Natalie. I leave to visit her this morning (yee-ha,) so I'm dumping all my pictures onto the computer. These aren't the greatest pics, I think there is pet hair on the lens or in every single picture. ( Ah, no pretension here.) One pendant in the bottom pic is messed up, but I like the idea of it and will re-do it when I get back.

I love going to the beach. That's all we have here in the way of nature. So, I always get a crick in my neck combing for sea beans, glass, or whole shells. A couple of years ago, I found 10 sea beans with the kids in one trip. (We'd been looking for them with no success for a long time) I spent too much time on these when I really needed to be packing. So, now I'll go pack.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


It's testing time again. He looks a little nervous up there doesn't he? That's actually an older pic. He's a 1st degree, level 1 black belt now and my daughter and I just received ours last night. Adam started after us so he's a Sr. Brown. Props to God for letting me have this totally unnecessary experience. It's not like a transplant we needed to survive. It was just a wish I had from about the age of 6 when my brother got to take judo, and I had to take piano (which I am grateful for, now.)

Though I'm a big believer in DIY, you can't learn all the dynamics of sparring alone. And though I'm a quiet, peaceful girl, I love to watch sparring (not bloody UFC stuff.) There is nothing as intense or athletic to me. So, I resolved to just prepare myself physically for the day when maybe I would get a chance to train with a master. Workouts were intense with a hanging bag but with very young children ( I accidentally kicked my little girl in the head with a side kick in our living room once) they were also brief and progressed slowly. As with Pilates, I bought a few videos, magazines and incorporated the little bits I saw or read into my workouts. I'm sure my family thought I was a sweat hog, but it felt good to just dabble in this stuff.

Then 10 years later, we fell into a good opportunity to learn as a family, and here we are. Like other aspects of our handmade life, I worked around my financial limitations to learn as much as I could, adding new skills very slowly, until God let the dream come to fruition. So, I want to thank Him. Thank You! And next week we start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Finally Tried It

This is something I've been wanting to try for a while but never could warp a record I bought at Goodwill. Even the stinkers are fun. But, I went shopping for the singular purpose of buying bowls, not listening music. Plus I had a scratched up Bee-Gee's
Sgt. Pepper already. I also had a totally ruined Redd Foxx comedy album as a test bowl.
I thought it was cool to see how different records reacted to the heat. The heavier Decca's needed higher heat and another seemed to shrink and thicken as it heated. So I did this all morning. We may not have homemade bread this week, but we have bowls o plenty.

Aah, Summer Slavery

So, one way to involve our kids in our quest to be more responsible is to stop allowances and start JOBS. For the first time they are earning the pittance we give them. And we don't hire unless we have the cash in hand. Their other employers include Pawpaw, Papaw (he's offering a little help there), Grandmommy, our church, and Karrie to do odd jobs for extra money. This beats me running up a tab for allowance because I rarely carry cash. I think they've enjoyed having a job and I know there is a sense of accomplishment there that isn't always present when I spring a "Could you just...for me" on them. They've also been slower to spend because of it.
It's spilling over into their everyday, non-profit chores. For the first time ever, I can say, "water the plants" and know they really will water all of them. Or "sweep the floor" and know they'll give the corners a lick. My son even thinks up jobs to do! Of course they still have to do nice things for us "just because" with no strings attached; otherwise, how else will they learn to be parents?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Piano Lessons

Sitting at my grandmother's piano a few months ago, I remembered my resolve to teach my children at least as much about music as I have learned. (and we're doing it!) Her piano is the deco-style Wurlitzer spinet (at top) that her working class parents bought for her during The Depression, no less. Only her father worked and yet somehow they made a way for her to take piano lessons from the time she was young. The copy of Little Women that I have is the one she won from her piano teacher for practicing the most. She worked hard at it and her parents dream was for her to study at a conservatory, but she never went because it wasn't her dream. As a WW2 bride and mother of two in the fifties, she was satisfied to play hymns for her Sunday School class and a mission center. She made time for music in her daily life as she could, along with homemaking. This is the sheet music that overwhelms me. Of course she saw to it that her little girl received lessons too.

My mother didn't take lessons as long even as her mother, but as a young woman working at a Texaco she saved and bought the piano I now have (botton pic) for her new home. From what my Grandmommy tells me, she actually taught herself much of what she used to play for her church class and mission. I remember hearing her pick her way through all sorts of songs from my bedroom. I think I was jealous of the piano when I was very small because I could sense how much she treasured those moments she would get in front of it. But by the time I was old enough to play, I loved hearing her assortment of hymns, Beethoven, and showtunes. I can't remember a day where she didn't sing. And a few years ago, I realized I am the same way. I need music. I think in music. I have a song for everyone in my head. I have calmed myself through labor, a hurting heart, and an insane mountain climb with singing.

I never thought I was much like her as a young woman. I would have loved to be, but couldn't believe anyone could ever be as gentle and sweet as she was. And I'm not, but I have a lot of the same stuff. I have the same desire to learn in snatches of time, and the same rejuvenation from what my pressed fingers can make. I feel her, see her when I am at that piano. I hope my children catch a glimpse of her in it too.

Friday, August 7, 2009

First Argus Lens Photos

Taken with two different cameras (both only $15.) The first shot is with my clean argus 75, and the last with "as is." Now I have to make a contraption.

This Is What I Want to Do When I Grow Up

Is it silly that I get chills watching a great roda?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Light- Green Thumb

I think I'm "getting there" with the garden. The herbs and one crazy vine spinach are still going strong. But I think the little pickings above were about the last of the vegetables. They were scanty but good in chicken enchiladas. I miss you, tomatoes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blanket's Done, Dude

Only my second baby gift to knit ever, and I've been knitting about 7 + years. But it turned out great in superwash wool. I want one now for my bed. Or a quilt of these groovy squares in greens, blues, and browns.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Used is Good

This last weekend I finally convinced my daughter that shopping re-cycled is the most fun. Adam and I have been doing the Financial Peace thing to lower our cost of living. Since we force the kids to listen to the cds in the car with us ("If you don't stop fighting, I'm turning on Dave Ramsey!") they've been getting a good dose of info about responsible spending. It only follows that they can help by buying more thoughtfully. So, I told them we'd try used stores too for school clothes. Well, that would be my preference anyway, but my girl looked like I'd told her that her first day of school outfit would be an iron maiden.
After digging thru her closet to find the things that did fit well (some of which had been forgotten in the jumble) we looked over what she really liked and what would do for now. So, with an idea of what she really needed, my sister and I took her to Buffalo Exchange before having lunch with my brother. It seemed a good place to start since it's kind of a used cross-over store and she hasn't yet inherited the ability to hold her breath, blur her eyes, and imagine what she could make out of a thrift store find.
She had a great time, plus we all found the most unflattering outfits possible for each of us. I even got this dress (this is the back of it, it's kind of like this) and a white slip top to go under a sweater I knit. It's not quite the thrill that finding some great vintage at goodwill gives, but it was a nice rite of passage.

Just One Hitch...

Yee-ha! We got our pop up yesterday. This was something we'd wanted to do for a while but seemed out of our budgetary reach. But you know how a chance encounter with a friend and random conversation can lead to a little blessing at just the right moment. Well, Adam sold a car to one of his parent's old friends who wanted to sell his pop up, and here we are. I've been a little obsessed with vintage campers for a few years now, but without a truck to pull one and no reason to justify buying a truck, we'd settled on a pop-up or homemade tear drop.
Since we're on a new budget to pay off our car and chiropractic care, I figured having a camper would wait a year or so. It isn't the shasta I dream of, but it's perfect for now: used but the canvas is in perfect condition. Plus it fits in the little garage perfectly. Now we just gotta get a trailer hitch for the suv.