Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Day 39: Doldrums Time

We have had a slew of days in which nothing at all has been going on.  We have all been slightly under the weather from either a mild cold or from a new pollen that has had everyone blowing their nose and Ben and Chandler complaining of sore throats.  We seem to be bouncing back after our long weekend at home.

It's time to start doing things to the house. I am waiting for a second estimate from a guy who came Saturday and waiting today for a third guy to show up to assess to give us his estimate.  After the roof, repaint, after that, flooring.  In there somewhere, replacing faucets, hanging interior doors and laying new shower tile.  And adding insulation.

I have been writing, 13 pages so far, which is not much, but 100% more than I had a week ago.  Chan is still working on the artwork, I have had a few new ideas to add to what we are doing.  I get SO bogged down in the details.  If I introduce a new character, I feel like their whole back story needs to be shared right then so their place in the overall story makes sense.  So I have all these character sheets where I am working up how families connect and how people know each other and where they live and so on.  I need that information, I am not sure if it's from being a kid and driving through where my grandparents lived and my grandmother pointing at every single house and farm and explaining how we were related to every person in the town or if it's just a hang-up from not knowing ANYONE in the town I live in now and needing to create a community somehow.  I am alone almost all of the time.

I got the kids re-registered with our cover school and Jake and I worked on his transcripts and Chan picked out what electives she wants to work on this year for her transcripts.  2 in high school and Jake graduates next spring and Ben starts 9th next year and I will have to start keeping transcripts for him.  I am AMAZED how fast it's all going.  I spent most of the week freaked out that I was failing them all and quizzing them non stop, which they graciously put up with since it's been my MO for over a decade now.  The only thing I can actually see being an issue is that Chan does NOT like math and Jake has some trouble writing a serious essay.  I have her going with a different math approach this summer to see if that helps and Jake has been working on his writing nearly every day.  Ben is working through a book I got that covers many things high schoolers struggle/are unfamiliar with but still need to know, we are all sitting down an hour every few days and going through a cultural literacy book together.  I have decided that Alabama literature taught in high school and college totally skipped anyone not white.  I know all of the names and references unless it's a black writer other than Maya Angelou, Alice Walker or Langston Hughes, and those I read on my own.

I have been working on the August trip, I think I have procured actual housing for us with a local family and the events are falling into place.

Matt used his points to get me a new camera so we can both use our older cameras with dive bags instead of buying 2 new underwater cameras.  This will save us around $500.  It does not have all the same features as my older camera but it does have a better zoom and it shoots square format, which I love.  Underwater cameras with anything over a 3x zoom cost well over $300 each, even ones with less features than a child-level point and shoot are more than a decent Canon point and shoot.  By using dive bags with camera housing (around $40 each) we can retain all the features on our 'land' cameras and by using our older cameras in the bags, if the bag fails, we will still have our newer cameras.  It's not perfect, but there's no money for expensive electronics that we will use a handful of times each year.  There is a 10% fail rate on the underwater cameras and the housing.  I'd rather brick a $100 point and shoot than a $400 dedicated underwater camera.

Look at all that fur, that's why I don't let her on the bed, little stinky shedder.
This week is looking forlorn.  My birthday is Wednesday, we have made no plans at all.  Matt did not want to celebrate his 40th, so I guess we don't get to celebrate my 39th.  For the first time in my life, I don't really care if anyone bothers to make a fuss. We have an appointment Friday to get haircuts and Suzette wants Emily home early, so we won't even get to hang out and do anything afterward. I had planned to get some photos of them with their new haircuts while we were still in the city.  That bums me out, since it's our only planned day out all week and suddenly it's set to someone else's schedule. They had to change when they could see Zachary's play from Saturday afternoon to Friday night for some reason.

That's it, I am working on some school stuff, writing, getting together a few ideas for the house, working our budget like crazy, exercising as much as I can and trying to get Ben to mow his section of the yard without the drama this time.  So while it's been a long stretch of nothing much with even more nothing in the forecast, it's still busy enough around here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer Day 33: Morning Glory

I am pretty sure the reason I really liked Epic was the scene with the morning glories at the beginning.  They are by far my favorite flower.

I have spent the last month or so tinkering with the tendrils that started poking their heads out and helping them grow up and around the posts on the porch and now they are starting to reach out toward the middle.  Only the white ones are blooming yet, it's that way everywhere we have been.  I am hoping my plans last year to relocate some of the blue and purple to the yard worked.  I don't know much about things like that.  I get lots of comments on the 4 o'clocks in the yard-which I did not plant and don't do anything to.  They have managed to cross breed between the white and pink to make a variegated bloom that gets older women very excited.  Every fall I send out little baggies of seeds to at least 2 different people who want that variety. 

Anyway, here is the progress!

My favorite spot!

 From the movie:

Makes me want to shrink down and walk around.  Except the cats would totally kill me and toss me around and then Nia would come roll on my carcass.

AWESOME!  Leafmen warriors who ride hummingbirds!
There's this character, Nim Galuu, who is voiced by Steven Tyler (yes that one)
They SAY he's a glow worm, but I can clearly see he's a freakishly HUGE water bear.

eeep!  My favorite flower AND my favorite microscopic creature in the SAME MOVIE!  Score!
Don't read anything about the movie, just go see it.  It's not an intellectual thriller, but the!

July 24

We miserably fail this unschooling holiday every year, yea!  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Day 32: Not a zoo!

Yesterday we went to Huntsville to run some errands and ended up going to see a movie!  Well, 2 movies since Chan does not like monster movies she and I went to see Epic, which is really good!  The boys went to see After Earth, which was apparently MUCH cooler because they did not shut up about it the rest of the afternoon.  Our movie had Leafmen. 

We walked a whole entire mile on the greenway before giving up and running for the van because of thunder, then lightning and then some rain.  I ended up walking on the treadmill to finish my 3 miles for the day, it seems like it take twice as long that way.  I am still10 pounds over where I wanted to be by my birthday, so I am trucking it in hopes that I can whittle that down to 6-7, I still have over a week!  Just going in the right direction will help my aging ego.  :D

On the greenway

It had a very pretty little rock-bottom creek flowing along beside...

I talked the guys into redoing a photo booth strip for me.  I have had the one on the left hanging over my desk for 17 years.  :)

Today we went to Amanda's to see the new baby goats, they were SO cute.
It poured most of the way there, it has been raining off and on for days, so of course the mushroom crop was popping up all over, I took these on the 100 foot walk to the goat shed.

 Sweet little blue-eyed baby goats!!

This is the only goat who's name I actually know, it's Red Molly!
Though I would have called her Butter Pecan.
Look at those baby goat lashes.

This is BBQ, the Sleeve Eater

Yes, I did smooch on this goat, they smelled like hay and sunshine, I could have sniffed at them a while longer...

I have no idea what she named this one, but I am calling her Adorbs.
 The only thing cuter than the goats is the baby, Bird, who is growing SO fast!  Today he was all about making big surprised eyes and climbing up in his chair and making his legs poke straight out.  With his 6 teeth, he is cuter than a bunny.  The girls were cute, too.  2 sweet 4 year olds having a tea party is one of the best things to see in life.  :)

This was in my van, eep.
It's a chickenlet!
We ended up leaving early, Ben was not feeling well.  He said a couple of strange things today on the way down, strange enough that I pulled over and bought a thermometer to make sure he did not have a fever.  This was BEFORE he said he felt bad, or I would have just headed back home.  I don't mind older kids hanging out if one of them is puny-just keep your germs to yourself.  But Amanda has 2 under 5 and sweet Inde was there, too! 

After we had been there a couple hours, he went and laid down while the other boys went swimming-that was the second indicator that he was super puny.  He's still not running a fever, but he's pale and his eyes look exhausted.  He's in bed now, I am hoping a good solid night of sleep will have him all sorted.  He seems to only be wiped out and he has a single runny nostril.  :(

I picked up my Frontier order while I was there, I ordered Numi Garden Sampler tea-it is surprisingly good, I am drinking tomato mint now and Matt has beet cabbage in his mug.  It's meant to be a snack replacer and is good for hiking and camping as a warming beverage with some heft to it.  Like cocoa but lighter plus loads of vitamins and antioxidants.  I also picked up some Stash chocolate hazelnut tea and that is really good.  Stephanie sent a big baggie of Stevia with pomegranate and passion fruit flavors.  I LOVE the Stevia with vanilla, so I am hoping this will be just as yummy!

I am bummed we did not get to hang out longer, we had all juggled schedules until today was agreed on and Katy's mom even took off work to hang out with us.  Waa.  They are probably jet skiing right now or something.  hahaha

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer Day 30: Death and Taxes and Bonfires

I spent the week cleaning out and part of that was culling old tax returns and piles of irrelevant paperwork. I did not want to toss things with SSN's, financial info and old addresses on them, so we burned it all.

There was something primal about watching things that used to be important simply release their stored energy as light and heat and then cease to exist.  Maybe I want to be cremated.

I think this looks like a head and face with shoulders at the top of the shot.

 A recent funeral had the fringe benefit of being able to spend a little time with my father, niece, brother, step-mom and SIL.  First time since 2007.
I may write more about the whole thing later, I don't mean to be crass as if dinner at Cracker Barrel was the only important event.  It was a hard day for everyone.

Daddy said, "I don't feel like smiling, say something that's funny."  I said, "Your head."
He paused for a minute and we both cracked up.