Friday, April 29, 2011

Little Things

I was tired and too uninspired to take a photo the other evening, so my daughter suggested my medicine cabinet.

(The Vicks will be with you always..., day 115)

I like to put things that make me smile in unexpected places around my house.  You just can't be too grumpy in the morning when you open the medicine cabinet to this.

It's just little things, hidden throughout the house.  No one even sees most of them.  It may be toys from my childhood or that poster of Phyliss Diller dressed as a nun that was in a utility closet for years.  
Right now there is a creepy mask circulating between my family members' pillows.  Just freaks you out to pull the covers back.  Not exactly Better Homes, but it can pull me out of a funk.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Feel Like Summer

I feel like summer!  Do you?

(sitting on the front porch, day 108)
(day 111)

(day 112)

(played out, day 113)

Is it possible?  Could I really be caught up on posting 365's?

Walks Around the City

That title conjures up images of a bustling, downtown scene, alive with car horns, traffic, people milling around, and street performers.  But, no, it's not a real city, just my hometown.  And it's not all that interesting.  It's a park, a few schools (that's where the crazy traffic is,) a library, a handful of old buildings we call "Old Town" and a water tower.  But, this is the place where I get all of my thinking done.  I work out problems, logistics, and sore heartaches as I walk with purpose from school, to library, past the tennis and basketball courts to the park, to home.  I couldn't count the prayers I have uttered as I move from sidewalk to grass and back again.   This is part of the reason I retained my sanity.

As I mentioned earlier, I am forcing my children to partake in some of this pedestrian activity, if the dogs don't guilt trip them first. The other day, I thought I saw Indian Paintbrush on the way home from school, so I asked them if they'd walk down the road with me and my camera so I could take my 365 photo.  They were agreeable enough until they realized how long the road was and that friends from school drive down it to get home.   Since when did walking make you look like a mentally ill vagabond?  They counted the number of cars that passed.  At least twenty.  I suppose someone should call CPS on me for  ruthlessly exposing that my children have moving legs in public.  The fact that I was crouched down for a few seconds to get theses shots didn't help.  Plus, they actually broke a micro-mini sweat.  Sometimes I wonder if these beings are truly my children. 
 I didn't mention that it was just regular old weeds and not the flowers I thought.  

(I've got a bike, you can ride it if you 107 and ttv52: week 15)

(I think my grandfather met my grandmother here.)

But, all hope is not lost.  My son asks every day if we can go shoot hoops at the basketball court after school, and yesterday, my daughter got out of school early and just started walking home with a friend.  They were both carrying about 30 pounds of books on their backs and will probably have scoliosis now, but they were smiling and ... gasp... walking down the same road their friends take to get home.

Primal Blues

I finally got around to reading Mark Sisson's book, Primal Blueprint last week.  I have to say that I was afraid it would be Atkins redux but was pleasantly surprised to find the lifestyle he promotes very similar to my own about 14 years ago, when I felt at my prime.   And that was, indeed, my reason for buying the book: chasing after that Glory Days feeling.  I hoped it would give me a clue as to why I have such low energy lately, despite eating so much wholesome food.  All of those years ago, I ate the foods he promotes because I was nursing a baby with allergies.  Her intolerance necessitated my eliminating some things from my diet, things he believes we are unfit to digest- like grains.  He believes that all of us are allergic to grains on some level.  Huh.  Even super grainy, oat topped, 100 percent whole wheat; or especially so.   Had I not felt so good when I went mostly grainless years ago, I would not have even considered it.

 But, what have I got to lose in trying this for a few weeks?  I already knew store bread and flour is mostly nutrient devoid after being ground and sitting on a shelf for so long.  I don't really care about it.  I'm just not that food - driven, I don't have the energy.  

The rest of the book is easy to swallow.  But in the case of his "Lift Heavy Things" strength training and only occasional hard workouts, I already do that.  I just don't believe in lots of gym time.  It's not me.  I have to force myself to strength train for 15 minutes in my garage twice a week because I'd rather be moving around.  But, I could also stand to back down the intensity of my runs.

I like his emphasis on slow steady movement.  I like long slow jogs and walks, or chatty bike rides.  But I think reading this has motivated me to force my kids to do it with me.

I've been doing things a little more his way for a week and a half and I think it's working.  For instance, last night I was up until 1am ripping out a sweater I had just knitted because the shoulders were deformed.  A few weeks ago that would have made me crabby, sick, and cross-eyed this morning.  Today, I was just crabby.

On a not so primal note: I wish I remember on what blog I saw these sandwiches (roast beef and havarti on a toasted roll topped with peach preserves, walnuts, dijon, and mayo) because they are so easy and great with homemade tomato soup: 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Not Too Old for an Easter Basket

After church we gathered for gumbo at Grandmommy and Papaw's.  As usual, my son ate too much, groans, then slips out of his chair to lay on the floor by the table.  He still joins in on the conversation from down there.   My daughter always laughs at him, but usually ends up down there too.  We're all used to this by now.  

See, they're not too big for Egg hunts.   It's just more challenging to find hiding places.
 One year, we never did find one of the eggs.  After Hurricane Rita stripped leaves off of the bushes, we returned from evacuation to find the little egg right where they'd left it: in a hole in their chain link fence.
 The rules are given, the baskets passed, and they're off.
 One is a bit more exuberant than the other.

 I like it when they hide the eggs for my grandparents to find.  
 I really love my family.
 (plundered, day 114)
(ttv52- week 16 )

I guess it's a little late to say Happy Easter, but He's risen every day, so it's all good.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Evening Joy Rides

The other day my husband and I found ourselves childless, they were with friends, so we took advantage of the chance to go on an evening ride through Old Town together.  We used to do this almost daily when my kids were younger.  We'd have one in a bike seat and the other on a tandem attachment and head for the park.

When my husband visited his grandparents in Midland as a child, they finished each day with a similar ritual: supper, a walk, and Yahtzee.   My grandmother's evenings were much the same (my grandfather took his walks early each day)  and when I went with her she seemed so tall and her legs so fast, I struggled to keep up.  She'll get a kick out of that now that even my son is taller than her and she doesn't feel very fast.   They were and still are a vibrant picture of what healthy living can do.

But, we've had to work at being active since we moved back home.  Where once we lived in a neighborhood alive with lots of families outside at night, pulling toddlers in wagons, down paths, now we have narrow, unlit, heavily trafficked roads.   I still try to entice the kids to go for evening walks and rides.  Sometimes I force.   But when the mom is saying, "Hey, I know! Let's jump in the trampoline!" you know the teenage years have set in.

But this night was cool and lovely and no enticement was necessary.

 My husband gets way too comfortable wherever we go.
(day 106, The Neches) 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Garden Boots

Right now my garden is a "watched pot."  I hover and find yet more bee balm sprouting up here and there.  Bee balm is a big mistake in a small garden.  I've been soaking up quite a bit of sun with all the weed pulling, and even though it's monotonous, it's also rhythmic and therapeutic.  

After an evening of weeding, it is satisfying to look out on neat little green garden plants swaying in the breeze, the smell of rosemary so strong, then kick off the garden boots and go inside for a hot bath.

The next morning, there they sit, waiting for me to check on progress again.

(waiting, day 105) 

 (day 104)

I tried out black and white film in my 210 and never did get this shot the way I wanted, hence the many boot pics.  It's hard to accept a mess up polaroid shot because the film seems so precious.  Does anyone get 10 great photos out of each pack?  I'm not there yet, but still feel emotional attachment to each and every shot.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Undefined, Lazy Time

Once or twice a week, homework permitting, my daughter and I have the house to ourselves for a few hours.  We don't do anything monumental, just watch a couple of episodes of King of the Hill or Battlestar or something (I know, we're nerds.)  Other days we just read together, or maybe nap.  It doesn't sound like quality time, but, oh, it is.   This week I'm pulling out the hammocks for lazy days.

Everyone needs undefined lazy time, now and then.

She Was Meant to be a Lean Huntress

She was meant to be a lean huntress in the wild.  But, in this neighborhood you just can't have an inside/ outside cat, if you want it to live.   Her own predicament when we found her was proof of that.  So, she usually spends her evenings chasing moths and her days catching zzz's until we play string or paper bag or catnip mouse.  She really likes to stalk my pajama pants legs.  Here she's found a lizard.

 (day 103)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dragon Pictures

Our refrigerator used to be covered with drawings of cats.  The last few years it's been all dragons and knights and such.  For now anyway.  I've had someone's drawings on display for over 15 years now on appliances and walls.  I can't imagine a day when there are no new ones to hang, no homemade cards half-open and rustling as we walk past.  No sounds of play pretend in the next room, even the slightly shy and mumbled kind.  But here I am discussing majors with one child and signing another up for middle school band.  (Trombone- I think we should start a family ragtime band.)  I'm not excited about babies growing up.  Even little Spot is maturing.  I am proud of who they are becoming, but still feel a little melancholy about it.

The infancy of my first child was when I first began to feel like I was doing what I was made for.  I have loved every single second of being a mother to little children, even the hard ones, even more as the years pass.

 (dragon pictures, day 98)

 (day 99
(Why is this bittersweet?  day 100)

I look at these pictures of my youngest and see more young adult and less child in him than ever.  I posted earlier about indecision on if I should work to help with college expenses, but maybe I should just have another child so the sounds of baby feet and high pitched laughter won't stop.  Oh boy.  I don't know how much longer they'll be snuggling up to me on the couch, or try to fall asleep on my bed, or cover our refrigerator with dragon pictures,  but I know that I will enjoy every single second of it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ramblings, Grasshoppers, and "The Summer of George"

About to catch up on posting 365 shots.  I'm surprised I've eked out the time to post at all lately.  Maybe I'm slightly more efficient at photo taking, editing, and writing.  Nah.
But these are left over plant photos that don't fit in any other posts I felt like writing lately, so I'm just going to throw them out there with whatever comes to mind.

More roses.  I'm not normally a roses kind of girl. I usually gravitate to green: palms, ivy, junipers, and succulents, but for some reason I bought these a few years ago and I like.   
(day 94)
Below is the bowervine I hoped would spread quickly to cover the patio arbor in the summer.  
 I took this photo with my Composer's plastic optic.  Looks like I breathed onto my lens to fog it up before shooting.  But I can see how there may be times where I'd like that look.

 I usually choose the double glass, below for the sharp focus.  

As you can see I'm spending quality time with the plants since the Great Grasshopper Pestilence has begun again.  I'm done with natural repellants like pepper and soap concoctions; and I'm not going to capture, rehabilitate, and release.  I just got in the middle of the swarms of nymphs and started stomping.  I really did feel bad about it.  When I was a kid I liked finding grasshoppers and following them around the yard.  But, if they mature, it'll be the same thing next year.  So, my husband sprinkled  some diatomacious earth blend over the yard and garden-  soon to be the insect killing fields- and I think he inhaled too much of it.  I guess this will kill my ladybugs too.  Sigh.  But I have to do it.  Now that I have a well and can actually water a garden properly, this was my chance to be really fruitful.
(day 102)
 The hollyhocks were the first to be eaten up last year.  I was so proud that they'd reseeded themselves, but only got to enjoy it for a few weeks.  Not this summer!  This is the summer I complete my childhood fantasy of seeing the Redwoods, the summer where I run lots lots and lots, and the summer where I have a fruitful, healthy garden.  It's my "Summer of George," Baby!

Oh yeah, here's a succulent.  My favorite plant, my favorite color.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

To Work or Not to Work

I have been a stay at home mom for 17 years now but lately I have been conflicted about it.  I wonder if it's about time to start working to save for my children's college tuition or my personal savings.

I don't want to be a career mom.   I know it's an unpopular decision, but I just don't. I've always believed it was enough to just be a good wife and mother.   There's an idea that stay at home moms should be contributing a paycheck of some kind to the family budget or they're a burden to the family.   But every time I seriously consider working outside of the home, something happens to make me withdraw the notion.  It could be a child with chicken pox, the realization that I want to be the one bringing my grandparents to their appointments, or (as is most often the case) a weeks worth of migraines that don't respond to medicine.

So I can look for creative, flexible ways to supplement the income from my home.  Ah, the craft industry!  Anytime you can do something well, there's this push to do it for money.  Even when you don't need the money.   (Don't get me started on the topic of self employment for self fulfillment.)

When I make a pretty sweater, I hear, "You could sell these!" When I take a good photograph, I hear, "You should start a business!"  I appreciate the vote of confidence, really I do, but is there really a happy ending down that road for me, especially in our increasingly marketed society?  I mean, how many photography businesses have opened up in your area in the last 5 years?  I can't count them where I live.  Everyone is making jewelry or selling art.  And though I think it's great that people are exploring their artistic side and business potential, I can't help but feel like the pressure to succeed, the competition, self promotion, and borrowing of ideas in these businesses could easily sap the creative love out of the muse.

I like to express myself, just to express myself.  Is that too arcane?

Really, it seems that small business proprietorship replaced owning a two car garage, brick home in the hierarchy of American Status?  Does it matter that the garage is filled with unsold product (Mary Kay or hand poured candles ring a bell?) or that the very family the business is meant to help is going in too many directions to stay connected or really look at one another?

I am not dogging anyone's career choice or selling your own work- I am considering it.  I have sold things I made for  specific goals, like Christmas money, and will again to fund a mission trip.  However, I don't want to squeeze something I so enjoy to death , just to squeeze a dime out of it.   I don't want to make things I love for "real" money unless I can do it my way, have start up costs so low that I can walk away from a boring project without guilt, and don't have to sell myself.  I'd rather work at Wal Mart than spend my time convincing someone to love my arts and crafts.  (And this sort of job may, indeed, be the choice I make to save for a few years.)   Most likely, the luxury of such choosiness will net fewer sales.  Etsy is full of talented people doing this.  I love looking at their work, but I'm sure most have "day jobs."  That would be my dilemma.

Anyway, it's a subject of prayer lately.  I want to do the right thing for the right reason, keeping in mind that it IS enough to just be good.  To be a good mother, daughter, wife, and friend.