Sunday, 25 January 2009

Running Away

A recent meme floating around got me thinking. To be more specific, some of my friends entries got me thinking. It was about sports and running. 

When I was 7 my best friend in the whole world lived behind me, across a clothesline and an alley. We were separated by more than that at school and less than that at home. At school she was athletic and well liked, but not in the gifted program. I was small, picked last at everything, and thriving in the gifted program. These demarcations defined us on the playground. 

The thing was though, I was actually good at sports. Really good. I won the free throw competition for my age group in the 4th grade. I could out shoot the big kids in any game of HORSE or PIG and I was fast. I loved soccer and was an awesome goalie. When PE time came, I was picked last at everything and trailed behind the runners during laps. Why? I think it is obvious. Edited to add****For those who don't know me, I have always been really, really much smaller than my peers. As an adult I am only 4'9". I was also poor growing up and dressed funny. Ok, I still do. Sometimes I don't even bother to match socks and I always wear them inside out, seams are itchy!

Sage asked me why one day. I had beaten her in a long sprint to get to the swings at a park, and out of breath, she wondered why I didn't run like that at school. She just didn't understand. I loved school so much, but at recess I would sit at the fence and read books. I didn't have an answer for her then. 

When we moved away the next summer I had to give up sports because in Illinois the school charged a fee and required camps. My family was too poor to afford that just for a 5th grader to play after-school basketball. So all I was left with was riding my bike around the neighborhood and the humiliating sessions of school PE. I grew to hate sports. 

I still love to run and swim, but I loathe "working out", I will never jog, and the mere thought of going to a gym makes me want to vomit. We don't own a treadmill because the going joke is that we already pay (in taxes) for the public sidewalks plus you get the benefit of fresh air. If I have extra energy to spare, I use it to mop and vacuum and haul bins to storage. Yard work is awesome too. The thought of walking to nowhere seems silly.

And yet, I totally get the whole working out/sports drive. It feels good, it is alone time, and it is lovely to feel so perfectly human. I just can't run on demand. 

So that got me thinking about unschooling. I've mentioned before that I am a product of the public schools and also that I have unschooled myself my whole life. That duality is similar to my friendship with Sage. School was a refuge from my turbulent home life, but so was my own imagination. I could run like the wind when not confined, I devoured books, and loved the sunshine, but in school I did what I had to, excelled, but it was simply a way to spend time in between my other life. It changed how I viewed myself and changed how I found joy in things.

Lil'Bug loves her art classes. She is learning and working with mediums I cannot provide her here at home, but I can't help but notice that her creativity with her at home artwork has changed. It is not as free, not as expressive. Maybe that change would have happened naturally, but I can't help but wonder if the situation of sitting with peers and seeing what they are doing and coloring inside the lines on demand isn't changing her view of herself and her world, much like what happened with me and sports. 

Just thoughts......

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

25 Random Things, ala Grub House!

Thanks Heather for posting this challenge, though you didn't tag me......I'm in need of a meme that doesn't require full paragraph formation....

  1. Kool Aid grosses me out.
  2. I want to dye my hair purple. Deep, dark, velvety purple. 
  3. My favourite colour is blue-grey, but I don't like wearing it or painting rooms with it. I love it in flowers, my daughters' eyes, and in sunsets. 
  4. I like using British spellings of words. 
  5. I hate talking on the phone and I avoid it whenever possible. I only have 6 contacts in my phone. If I have called you in the last month, you are likely one of the 6. 
  6. I love Iowa Chops and my secret seasoning is awesome on them. 
  7. It bugs me that people think I am a city creature and will suffer the farm life. I lived on a farm as a kid, burned trash, mucked out chicken houses, shot at things with a gun for target practice, sat in the fire truck during forest and prairie fire calls, and slept outside to watch the stars. Farm life is exactly what I expected. 
  8. I would also like to wear interesting jewelry but I hate wearing jewelry. I wear my wedding ring only. Sometimes a watch, sometimes a pendant, but sometimes is so very rare. 
  9. I don't wear make up either.
  10. I also don't wear sunscreen. 
  11. I need a new tea pot. One that I can clean and is big. Then I will also get a tea pot cozy.
  12. I love, go weak kneed at, big Victorian mansions. I get breathless. I don't ever want to live in one though. Haunted Mansion was close enough. Farm house is a perfect fit for me, balancing the practical with the beautiful. 
  13. I moved to Iowa when I was 16, a junior in high school, and I never got to say goodbye to my best friends in Illinois. One of them contacted me last week after 15 years. Now the other three are also on facebook, but I'm not sure what to say to them now. 
  14. My sister is getting married in July of this year! I have no idea what to wear to the wedding or what to get her as a present. I am super happy she did not ask me to be in the wedding party, even though I love her soooo much. 
  15. I have a new sewing machine I've never used. I want to. I am afraid of the machine.
  16. I love old science fiction. I am giddy that I get to teach it this semester. 
  17. My favorite movie is Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. 
  18. I've been in a plane crash. 
  19. I have little patience with stupid people, less with mean people, and even less with a stupid, mean, know it all that I know. She's smart, but vain about it to the point of being unable to admit she's wrong. I hate this because I recognize it in myself sometimes. 
  20. I've had my writing published, poetry and essays. I wish I had time to be more proactive about my work now. 
  21. I am fascinated by bees.
  22. I drink my tea with honey. White sugar bothers me now in a way that it did not before.
  23. My car is currently so dirty the license plate is unreadable. 
  24. I once caught and kept a wild snake as a pet. Not a garter snake either. It was a three foot long Bull Snake, that might have actually been a Black Pine Snake. I let it go after a week. 
  25. When Lil'Bug and I read the description of a changeling in her faerie field guide she thought the description fit her baby sister (because of the hair) and secretly I felt it fit me. I've always been a bit odd, able to spout information about complicated and historical things (American History, Architecture, educational philosophies) and yet fascinated with the everyday mundane simple things like watch gear mechanics, bread baking, and paper. I have zero fashion sense, often wearing unmatched socks, and bad hair. Add that to my very small stature and I've always been the odd one out.  
There 25 things. That was hard!

OK, I'm back and this is a long one......

Our main obstacle has been the cold outside and keeping it outside. I think the lowest it got was -18F with -40F wind chill...... We had pipes freeze, specifically pipes that were of the hot water kind and related to our brand new tankless water heater. Only 3 (4?) radiators work to heat the main floor and they are all constantly on. Or were, today it was in the 30's and the passive solar-ness of our southern windows helped out. 

Des Moines got LOTS of snow. We got an inch, maybe. 

Sometimes the sunrise here is like a 1970's velvet painting. This picture is crappy, but just imagine the colors more vibrant. 

Sometimes the colors are more like this. 

Blueberry is teething. Drooling and teething. She pulled herself up to standing by biting the coffee table. 
Boxes are fun. So are pirate queens.

Did I mention Blueberry is teething AND crawling. Reason #1 I have no time to blog. Mobile mouthing everything baby in a semi-construction zone box mess? Oh my.

Tina Fey? Messy updo? No, this baby grew her hair in the era of Sarah Palin

A beauty queen who can field dress a moose? Maybe. Right now she's more likely to just gnaw on the sash. 

Not funny mama. Mmmmmm that camera looks tasty.....

I wonder what media is in this box?

Agh! It's a flying box attack! Oh wait.....Lil'Bug! Yay

Quiet corner of my living room.

Agh! She's on the move again......a sharp, poisonous, on fire thing is spotted and identified as a desired plaything. Time to baby proof the house!

So that's basically been my life for the last two weeks. I lost a box of diapers. For future reference, do not pack diapers currently in use for ease of move. That would be the ONE box we lost. I lost a baby gate due to high winds on the highway, possibly some clothing as well. 

Other things that are different:
Burning our trash. The scientific law that states things that you want to burn will not catch fire applies to trash and firewood. 

It is soooooo quiet out here. I love it. 

Going out to eat is a 20-40 minute drive. 

Clean windows. Our old house had 48 windows and some had not been cleaned in decades. Even when I tried they did not look clean. Here they are like mirrors. So very clean......

Other things......2009 Goals/Revolution. Last year my word was Release. I think I did pretty well with that one. Though a couple of new things happened that I am harboring anger about. Logically I can think them through and I know I should let it go, but the anger is still raw so....anyway ....2009's word will be Root. We will be planting our gardens, planning our farm, and setting our roots in the community. I plan to work on my novels, pick up poetry again (the root of my creative expression), and get back to my expressive roots. This year I am also going to focus my cooking on heritage recipes from the Cajun tradition. 

One last thought....facebook is a time-suck. 

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Things that are different....

Cluster flies. Does anyone else remember that Phish song, Farmhouse? Yeah those. "All we can do is swat them...." Bah.

The farmhouse has only one set of stairs going up. This is just different than what we are used to.

It is quiet here. Part of that is that the windows are new and awesome, but part of it is just winter and rural. We can still hear trains though. 

Hunting seasons. Saturday morning I was bathing the girls (about 6am, they wake up at 5am ish) and heard a very loud bang, like a door downstairs being slammed hard. It wasn't, it is muzzle loader season and there was a guy who fired a shot at doe in the pasture across the road. It just echoed funny. Muzzle loaders are loud. 

Getting mail from the mail box. Just different. I am used to it being right by the front door.

Groceries. The sign at the local grocery in the produce section said Organic BUT the selection under the sign was just produce but for a single bag of organic baby carrots. At this particular store most of the selection was the store brand and much of the things we usually buy just were not there. What was there was more expensive. 

When people find out we just moved here, many have said, "Why?" in a disgusted tone. I did not expect that. 

Trash service. Yeah. There is none. Trash is burned. So we will have to rethink what we consume to yet another degree. I don't intend to have a dump behind my house, nor does burning plastic sound all that great. So, yet again, changing further the way we live. 

Not having a dishwasher sucks, but not as much as flushing the toilets (which only lasted 3 days) with buckets did. Or not having hot water. Or not having a way to make food hot. So really, everything is great! Dearest fixed all of those issues last week. ;)

The Internet is not as fast with the satellite connection. I'm used to watching streaming videos and playing streaming radio. Can't do that now. I wanted to blame the lesser Mac but Dearest says its the Internet not the machine. We also have to free TV signal most of the time. We don't watch TV, but sometimes view shows on PBS with Lil'Bug. Yesterday I got a clear audio but the picture was still fuzzy. I think we will have to investigate the local library for DVD's of the shows she liked.

So that's it. Just different. Just busy. Just bliss.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

First Week in Photos

So did I mention that Dearest is the awesomest? This week he pulled the pipes out. The above picture is what the cold water pipes looked like. Yeah. Actually they had more  holes than that but this was the best picture. Well, the prettiest picture anyway.

Here's a picture of the sunrise. Not the brilliant colors of the other morning, but simple. In real life the colors were more like that of a 1970's velvet painting background. It is so divine to snuggle a nursling, sip hot tea (I finally got a cup!), and just be present for the moment.

The only reason I got any unpacking done yesterday at all was that I didn't light a fire. I love it. I love the warmth, the light, the everything about it. 

I have more photos, but less time than I thought this morning. More later.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Just a Quick Hello

I promise a long, picture filled post is coming as soon as I get the photos downloaded and a find a corner filled up with spare time to write a bit......

So far the progress is this: I can do laundry, hot bath the kiddos, flush a toilet using the lever, and COOK FOOD! All improvements over three days ago. Dearest seriously rocks. All of my furry and feathered kids are now here with us as well. Lil'Bug has settled in a bit, though the back and forth to continue packing is "getting on her annoyin'".....yeah, me too.  

I'm unpacking and unpacking and unpacking. We had an awesome move on Saturday that got most of our stuff here, the big stuff anyway, so the house has filled up and feels a bit more like home, chaos and all. 

Dearest and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary on Sunday with a quiet family night in front of the fireplace reading to Lil'Bug and Blueberry. Perfect. 

Up for this week: I have to finish up the online course design for the semester by tomorrow night, meal plan for the next week and a half, shop for said meal plan, not- at-the-park day, Lil'Bug's art class, playdate on Friday here at the farm, and, oh yeah, unpack and unpack and unpack. 

Ps, Erin I am not ignoring your email......I am working on a reply between the waves of chaos. It's been 14 years, I figure I better not let so many more days go by! ;)