Thursday, August 30, 2007


is anybody out there?

probably at some point any of my loyal readers were asking this question since i dropped off the blogosphere sometime in oh, may was it? pre-move? yeah, that would be it.

the move sent us for a loop, my cyber time dwindled. I paid about $50 to Netflix for _Inconvenient Truth_ as is gathered dust, never peeking my interest or winning viewing time. I never did watch it.

Anyhoo, with a physical move, a new blog seems in order, so friends, do move with me to:

This newer! better! faster! easier! blog will focus mainly on happenings up on the Ridge, our efforts to grow food, keep animals (and eat some of them), create art, run wild with the kids, and in all other ways revel in the country. I'm planning to post lots of photos to record and share the developments on the land and of course, there will always be amusing stories about Raelin and Liam to keep you howling.

so, come on over....

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Fairies

So i don't know if most kids attach to some kind of Lovey object. I don't think i did. I was the kind of kid who felt guilty if i left one of my stuffed animals off my bed at night, so i would often go to bed, piled high with bears and whales (i liked them) and whatnot. I have kept one white bear that has been added to Raelin's significant pile, but i can't say that it's a lovey per se...

And, i'm not sure if Raelin's Fairies are her Lovies either... I mean, can 2 pint-size natty fairies be that are always crying and sick be considered Lovies? I thought the purpose of a Lovey was to provide comfort. In this case, we're the ones who are providing the comfort. These Fairies cry *all the time*. For example:

I will be innocently making tea. Enter Raelin.

Kelly (hear: Telly), can you hear my Fairy crying?
No, Raelin, I can't hear your Fairy crying.
You can't?
No, I can't.
Well, here, listen. (she thrusts her small, round pink-striped Fairy in my face) NOW can you hear her crying?
Well, ok, yes i can.
Is she screaming?
I don't think so.
Yes she is. She's screaming very loud.
Ok, she's screaming very loud.
Or is she whimpering?
No, i think she's screaming.
Will she ever stop?
I don't know, what will make her feel better?
Nothing, nothing will make her feel better.
Really? never ever?
Never ever. She will always be crying and screaming.
Ok then... so... do you need a snack?

This conversation happens in various forms about, oh, 20 times a day. at least.

This whole Fairy thing happened very... organically. Subtly. I think the pink-striped round fairy with antennae was actually a Christmas ornament. Kevin's mom bought her one year when they were visiting in December. Whether she is truly an ornament or not, i'm not sure. The hanging ribbon is long gone. But she fits in the palm of your hand, is all soft, and has a little rattle inside. And since Raelin more or less carries her around all day, you always know where she is because you hear the rattle-rattle of Round Fairy. Then there's another one. She's a small finger puppet, with stringy yarn hair and a rather rectangular, frankly masculine-shaped face. Striped legs... kind of a cross between Tinker-bell, the Wicked Witch of the West and what's-his-name from the Sopranos.

Quite a thing for a 3 year old's Lovey, huh?

Anyway, she rescued the Round Fairy from the tree (her terms)- saying something to the effect of, "she'll never be on the tree again." Tinker-Witch-Mafia Fairy materialized shortly after, and the 3 of them have been inseparable. And woe-is Liam if he hazards a grab at the Fairies!! Occasionally she'll leave them in a place he can reach when she goes to school and you should see the grin on his face when he grabs one of them- Score!!! The Forbidden Fairies! He laughs, maniacally.

I find the Fairies tucked into my bed, side by side, covers pulled up tight under their chins. They're wrapped in silks and blankets and carefully laid on top of the cubbies, or on the sink counter for tub-time. In months, a day has not gone by that those Fairies have not been along for the ride, pretty much every minute. She asks for them if they are left behind on outings (those kid will look at my Fairies!!), and searches for them first thing in the morning. We leave her sound asleep in bed every night, the Fairies held loosely in her limp hands, or curled neatly under her chin. It's pretty precious.

The strange thing about them is their attitude. Like i said, they are always either crying, or sick. (Or so it's reported to us.) We do endless puppet shows (aka acting out stories with her many and varied stuffed animals) about the Fairies being sick and needing to be doctored, being sick and never getting better, crying and not stopping, and variation upon variation.

Believe me, i have tried to break the cycle. I tell stories where other animals come and cheer them up. She intervenes. I tell stories where the Lamb Doctor and Gibbon Surgeon miraculously cure the Fairies of their Woes. She informs me that that could never happen, they will always be sick. I tell stories where Elephant and Purple Bear tell the Fairies flat out that they are boring and will not play with them. This occasionally brings the Fairies around for a time, but then they revert back to being sick and crying.

is our kid whacko, or what? Lol....

Honestly, Kevmo and i wondered if perhaps there was some underlying psychological issue. Why are they always crying? what's with being sick all the time?
But we've given up on that theory.

Likely it's because she's rebelling against our constant efforts to cheer up and make the Fairies healthy. Ahhhh... the beauty of parent-child relations!

I'll be sad when the Fairies are laid to rest. True, they can be annoying and I live in mild fear that they will be Lost Never to be Found, and then we'll really have some crying around here. But like some of Raelin's toddler clothes that i handed down the other day... the worn cords with embroidered flowers that she wore almost daily... they're the symbols of a Time. I often pooh-pooh the whole saving-toys thing, but the Fairies, I will keep. I will tuck them into a nice box, wrapped in a playsilk where they can keep each other company (whimpering, of course).

Friday, April 27, 2007

Check out this amazing work by Teresa Agnew


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

working gal

well, i'm going to be a working woman again. part time. very, part time. 2 shifts to be exact, a Tuesday night and a Saturday night, a combination of waiting tables and bartending. Yeah, me- bartending!

This all started last summer when my friend A told me she had started working at a restaurant 2 nights a week and was making great money. Unlike my only previous waiting experience, this restaurant is bonified- as in real people go to get good food and they pay good money for it and leave some for you. I thought to myself, 'self, you need to do that next summer.' And i sealed the deal on Sunday. The bartending part is particularly exciting. I'm not a big drinker or anything, but for some reason, it just seems like one of those life experiences that you shouldn't pass up if you have the chance. I did in fact, almost forgo the whole working thing having convinced myself that we really do have too much going on (moving in about 6 weeks, needing to do house work there, etc...) and in fact, adjusting to a schedule where i am depended upon by other people besides just the kids seemed a bit much. But then A told me they were looking for a bartender and, well, i couldn't pass that up.

So, we shall see. I was in fact supposed to start last night, but Liam and I have a nasty cold that neither of us is shaking very easily. Took the little chub to a regular doc yesterday and our homeopath today. He seems to be doing better today, but yesterday was more or less inconsolable for 3-4 hours. of course, as soon as we got to the doctor's office he was all bright blue eyes and flushed cheeks and happy-go-lucky crawling and exploring the office and hallway. Why do they do that?

Honestly Doctor, he was puking an hour ago and would not stop crying.

Thankfully, he believed me and gave me the wise counsel to give Liam some children's tylenol before bed and again in the middle of the night to help him (and therefore me) sleep. and it did. There's got to be some narcotic in that stuff... it works waaaaaay too well to just be a 'fever reliever.' But no complaints here. Tylenol is my friend today. A well rested child is a well rested Mommy, and well rested Mommies make the world go round....

Saturday, April 14, 2007

so, we have snow. it's mid april.
'nuff said.

things are rolling along here. Our house is under contract- we even met the real live buyers today! Kevmo actually spent the morning with them and the building inspector so they were not mere apparitions. Seems that things went well. Next step is to scheudule our building inspection for up in Appleton, get a builder to give us an estimate on making a dormer on the upstairs bedroom (the one bedroom we will all share as a happy family. even more happily if there's some head room), and maybe a new roof. The maybe being whether we hire someone to do it, or we do it, but it's gotta be done.

so, wow. yeah. moving to apple-town!
it's hard to believe that it is really going to happen, in many ways. or that we've been planning this for nearly a year. i'm getting excited... and a bit nervous, i do admit. apple-town is kinda out there. last week i went to visit the apple-town school with a friend who is considering buying the other chunk of land that our friends are selling. another mom tagged along as well. she and her family are also house hunting.

i left with the certain feeling that we will be homeschooling.
this is a decision i've been hemming and hawing about for awhile, not feeling too pressured to make a decision one way or another as long as Raelin is happy at Ashwood, which she is, and if we wanted to, she could go another year of preschool and then 2 years of kindergarten, buying 3 years before commiting to some program or other. plenty of time to work out the whole school business.

but being in the appleton school really zeroed in on what needs to happen. we gotta do it ourselves.

it's not a crappy school. true, it's small and there's only one class per grade. the principal who has been there 3 years now said it was a nightmare when he first arrived. from his side of the story, he's done and is doing a lot there and i am sure the kids are benefitting tremendously from his efforts and care. but i can't send my kids there, to sit in little desks in rows or groups, in circles or in squares, for 6 hours a day. even if there is a new beautiful playground with money raised by the town, or a sledding party for the honor roll kids. And truthfully, if i was going to continue teaching, it would be a neat place to work because it is small and therefore one teacher can have a great impact.

i would probably have come to the same conclusion regardless of what school i visited. i mean, big or small, schools are schools. they're in the business of 'schooling' and using some smoke and mirrors they pass it off as learning, and sure, some 'learning' does occur, but the more i read and talk with other moms who are not subjecting their kids to schooling, and i observe my Raelin dancing in the aisles of the Taiko drumming concert, or creating elaborate puppet shows with original songs (I'm a little bunny..hopping through the woods...hoppin' all around my great big 'hood), i think - she will be crushed there.

it's a bit hard to explain to others why you are choosing homeschooling without sounding like a snob, or implying that they are doing great harm to *their* kids by sending them to school. Seems like the best and most benign answer is, "it's what works best for our kids." We've made some careful and conscious decisions to be where we are in our lives, and homeschooling is just another one of those decisions. i know that not everyone can make that decision or wants to, so i do support public schools is that for now, in our society as it is, they are a necessity. So hopefully there will be a way we can support the school as members of the community. It is a small one, so we wont go unnoticed as home unschoolers... (more on unschooling later...) but i know there are a bunch of other homeschoolers around, so we won't stick out too much.

in other news- Liam is walking about 15% of the time. crawling is far more efficient. he also is putting away hamburgers and had a small meltdown when i cut him off the Cheddar Bunnies the other day. he's growing up too fast, that one....

(those who are familiar with how i fed raelin at this age may be aghast at the fact that Liam even got to *see* a cheddar bunny, much less eat one. Life is so much less complicated the second time around...)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

So i was just browsing through our local paper and noticed that one of the local school districts was discussing the addition of yoga to the physical education curriculum for 4th and 7th graders. A move- i might add- that has been done in schools throughout the country. Apparently, there was a heated discussion at this board meeting because some parents do not agree with teaching a practice (well, they did not use that term) that has Eastern origins.


Some quotes from the article:

"The yoga proposals...drew parents to the the Bus Barn... for a lenthy talk about the suitability (italics mine) of yoga in public schools."

" ' Several parents expressed concerns about the proposals... Their major concerns were that yoga is historically based in Eastern religions and they felt it was counter to their beliefs to have students doing yoga in the school."

(beliefs about no religion in schools? no eastern religions in school? no hippie-liberal-vegan-crazie things in schools? no activities that will actually benefit their children in schools?)

but apparently..

"In general, the parents and board members who were in attendance favored the idea of physical movement and relaxation for our students.'"

oh, well, ok then.


".. a motion was made to suport the yoga programs if the term 'yoga' were removed from the description, if parents were notified about the program, and if alternatives were available for students whose parents did not want them participating...."

I see. So, let me get this straight. As long as you don't use that funny non-English word to describe what they're doing, they can pose like a Cobra (on second thought, maybe we should call it a Garter Snake pose...then the kids will be able to relate), Pigeon, or Warrior (Sniper Pose, anyone?).

Maybe it will backfire, and yoga will become the new clandestine activity. Preteens will sneak out of their bedroom windows at night to meet at Haili's house, who's hippie dad will look the other way while they do Sun Salutations in the barn. Smug parents will believe their good red-white-and blue blood kids are getting buff from tossing the ball in spring Little League, when really, ol' Junior is able to hold Crocodile pose with his belly off the floor for longer than any other 4th and 7th grader at school. Namaste will be whispered after the morning flag salute, and asthmatics will breathe deeply for the first time in years.

Yeah, challenging yoga in schools, that could be a good thing.

Friday, March 09, 2007

it's been a long time since i've been around the ole' pottyparty neighborhood. in fact, i've been quite far away; we took ourselves a little trip out west and frolicked around the old neighborhoods of Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara and came home by way of Vail (which, i highly recommend) and now i am finally over my traveling hangover and finding my way back here.

it's occured to me that i lack regularity in my life- ok, *sometimes* in the potty-way, but mostly in the way of being consistent. i can't take a daily vitamin for more than 3 days consecutively to save my life. getting my hair cut takes somewhere on the order of 7 or 8 months. exercise used to be one of my more regular pursuits, and now its a luxary i covet desperately.
this lack of regularity, or consistency has never really been an issue until i had children and my life became complicated and different. when you only have to look out for yourself, its much, much easier to keep up with things. being busy makes people either hyper-consistent so they dont forget anything, or hyper-scatterbrained and unable to attend to much other than necessities. Seeing myself fall into the latter category, i have began awhile back to see what i was going to lose, principally- some relationships. so, i have set up with 2 of my best friends regular monthly phone calls on dates that are easy to remember.

it's fabulous.

i no longer have to put "try to call bartlebee" on my To Do list, and stewing about why she hasn't called me is no longer a layer of my stress. Same with my other friend.

I think this blog is going to become my next regularly scheduled program. and in short order, i will have 2 blogs, as i plan to start a new one focusing on our move up to Appleton which is officially going to happen, not just because we say so, but because someone is offering us real money for our house! yup- news just in, numbers headed our way on monday. pray for a spendthrift kind of offer....

someone once told me that Organization is Freedom. i agreed wholeheartedly at the time and would muse upon it every once in awhile and organize some corner of my life and then promptly fall back into bondage within a week. but, i'm ready to try once again to try and break free of the chains and add a bit more regularity and organization, bit by bit to my life. Course, it took me 24 hours to post this since Liam woke up mid-post last night and i am only just getting back to it, but a job finished is a job finished.