Monday, December 28, 2009

Sandhill Cranes

Today we had a belated welcome back for the sandhill cranes. We went a couple weeks ago when they first arrived and the trails were flooded. Happily, today we got to see all we wanted.
We spent a couple hours at Wheeler.
After the cranes, we had a late lunch with our friends and spent a very chilly hour at the park before nabbing some groceries and heading home just ahead of the sunset. It felt like a longer day than it was, I will be glad for later sunsets! We had a great time and 'didda's' sunny smile more than made up for the chilly weather.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Contented Days

We are not religious and even if we were, Jesus was born in March. Christians took the date away from the pagans, it's not based on anything more than an easy transition during a takeover of a culture. All of the traditions of the holiday are taken from another culture and somehow that ends up meaning we feel obligated to spend money.
Matt and I have always been uneasy about Christmas, both coming from divorced parents, in the beginning of our lives together, it was a gauntlet to run and no matter what, someone was pissed off or slighted. My mother, his mother, my father, his father, then our grandparents/extended families and the whole holiday was spent running around, feeling guilty because we could not afford gifts for everyone-several years we did not even buy for each other. We had to leave before food was served sometimes to make it to the next dinner so that host would not feel bad, we ate leftovers sometimes because someone lost the coin toss when a lunch started at noon here and at 1 an hour away.
Then came the aftermath of finding a place for everything the kids got from people who did not really know them or who used the chance to pass along 'last years' model of a toy repackaged as 'new' so they could give 'this years' model to their own child. Hey, we were poor, best to be grateful we were even thought of, I guess.
As soon as we could afford to, we started leaving town for the holidays. It was easier to have everyone mad equally than have one or two upset at their perceived slight at our eclipsed visits. Matt's mom caught on the quickest and by our second holiday flee, she foot the bill for our hotel for a night as our gift. My father moved his dinner back to the Sunday before the holiday and things have become much less stressed.
We did not flee the village this year, we decided instead to make the holiday our own in some way. We celebrated Solstice on Monday with friends. When Matt came home Wednesday the 23rd, he patched the leak in the roof and then we erected the metal pole, aired grievances and had feats of strength as laid out in Seinfeld's 'Festivus' episode. Then we went inside and opened all our gifts and had pasta.

Today is Christmas Eve and I took the few decorations down and the stuff off the tree other than the lights. Last night I made a HUGE crock pot full of Russian stew using my cool new food processor. I think we will still be eating it in the new year...
Next year, Ben, the baby, will be 11, and we will all sit down between now and then to decide what we want to do with the time Matt will have off for the holiday, but this is the last year I am spending money on a made-up holiday, a manufactured obligation. I have reached my peace with it, I think we all have. It's not a celebration of our religion, our 'family' is no longer a unit and it's not good usage of our money to just spend on new things when some 'old' things, like the van, are not paid for.

The Spreadin' of the Roofin' Patch

The one-legged dance of joy

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


We enjoyed our Solstice eve with friends up on Monte Sano.
We had chili and sat around the big bonfire for a little while, with various folks walking to the fire now and then to drop in lists of things they wish to leave behind in the new year or wishes they hope are granted.

It was a very enjoyable evening, a calm and relaxing time, not a bad way to end the shortest day.
When I was 17, I worked out in the Beaverhead/Wisdom Ranger District one summer and the lady who headed up our group said that she set aside the Solstice to remember people who have moved through her life. As I drifted off to sleep last night, I tried to remember some of the more important folks who passed through and what they left me knowing.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Story of a Girl

I just finished reading this book, title above, by Sara Zarr. It's about a girl who has sex at 13 and while there are next to no details of the act, the aftermath becomes her own personal pergatory for years.

In one scene, her best-her only-girl friend asks her advice about sex. She blows the actual advice, but thinks to herself about what she could have done:

I’d tell her about sex; the good stuff, like how it could be warm and exciting-it took you away-and the not-so-good things, like, how once you showed someone that part of yourself, you had to trust them one thousand percent and anything could happen. Someone you though you knew could change and suddenly not want you, suddenly decide you made a better story than a girlfriend. Or how sometimes you might think you wanted to do it and then halfway through or afterward realize no, you just wanted the company, really; you wanted someone to choose you , and the sex part itself was like a trade-off, something you felt like you had to give to get the other part. I’d tell her all that and help her decide.

The thing that 'got' me the most in the story was how she was having sex with this guy she did not even like that much because no one else in her life was paying any attention, and he was.

That was profound to read, I feel like while I still would have been a horny idiot teen and would have still handed my virginity to the first boy who looked at me twice, reading that would have hit home and maybe it would have been in time to keep my self esteem from being so damaged. Or not, I can't say now. I can say, I will be paying attention to my own daughter. This may be close to my story, but it does not have to be anything like hers.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


The lamest and easiest of all bokeh (blurred) shots to take-yet still my favorite. Heather and I threatened to learn a new way of doing them last year, maybe this is the year we accomplish our dreams! hahaha

Flurricane '09

With drifts of nearly 2 inches, Flurricane '09 was the most snow we have had this year. It bodes well for the rest of the winter, hopefully we will have more snow!


We had lunch here on the day of Ben's birthday and then met other friends in town the next day. Ben was thrilled to have such a fuss made over him. : )

Good Weekend

Our weekend started Friday evening with slabs of cheesy lasagna and yummy Mt. Dew. I love that stuff, it's SO sweet and fizzy and bad for you. I almost never buy it any more, but it was on sale! : ) We finished up the first season of Castle via Netflix.

We woke up yesterday to snow in a decent layer over most of the yard and had a lovely time of running around and getting cold and damp while it quickly melted.

Matt and I spent a couple hours snuggled into our big bed, snoozing, while the kids played on the computers and watched a movie. We watched CSI last night and got that disc all finished up to send back.

Jake and I worked through the first several questions in the GED prep book, it's funny how I was worried the multiple choice format would be difficult since he has never had a test before. But after the first couple, he was reading ahead of me while I was pointing out how to use the list of possible answers along with the question and was just giving me the correct answer while I was still yacking about "B. replace 'there' with 'their'. So you want to look at each word in the context of the sentence and decide if one is...okay never mind."

Today Matt and I did a little Christmas shopping in town and picked up some groceries. We had turkey sandwiches and sweet tea from Bob Gibson's-which should be just under ambrosia on the list of good things.

On the way home, we looked at a house for sale right in Falkville. It has a very small yard-maybe 3/4 acre and is on the corner, but it's a really big house, twice the size of this one. It has a nice wrap-around porch, too. And new siding and a metal roof. It's yellow, it all looks very neat and clean. I don't think it's the one for us, I would feel on display! I never want what other people might think to factor in to what we do in our own yard. : )

On the way back home, we managed to get in This American Life on NPR and once here, everyone had a walk in the pasture in the freezing dark. I have a few little goodies tucked into the closet for Christmas and picked up a new science kit for our homeschool.

It was a good weekend. Nothing exciting happened, no one had a revelation or life-altering event. Matt did express astonishment that I plan to get a job once the kids are grown and wonders why I don't just go back to school instead. I did point out that at some point I would have to get a degree in SOMETHING, preferably something I would make money doing. I will only be 43 when Ben is 18, if he gets his GED at 14-which I am positive he could do, I will be 39 and out of work!

I wonder if I could combine chocolate, travel, homeschool, reading and photography into something I get paid for. What would that degree be? : )

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hiking-Wade Mountain

Just a nice 3-mile stroll with the kids and Matt.
I am really liking Wade Mountain!

Birthday- Jake

Late, but I don't think I am being graded.
(If I am, I would like to know exactly who feels they have that right!)
Anyway, we had a sleepover for Jake's birthday on Friday the 13th. Emily, Kaitlin, Britney, Cody and Austin came over and ate pizza and junk food and stayed up too late and all the typical stuff expected at sleep-overs. They cleared out 4 cases of soda in 12 hours.
On Saturday, his birthday, Evan came over and spent the night and Sunday, Suzette came by to pick them both up and they all went to spend the night at Evan's house. Evan just turned 17 and he and Jake ran around in the yard and giggled like idiots and whacked each other with sticks and laid in the bed and watched movies on the in car dvd player using the wall jack. Not quite what I expected really. Next year, I don't think I will bother splitting the age groups up. hahaha!