February 2009

Monthly Archive

Waste, and Necessity: What constitutes government “pork?”

Posted by on 25 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Would Bobby Jindal think it reasonable to eliminate the hurricane monitoring program?


CNN Jindal’s reply to Obama’s speech…

Pictures of the End of Winter (hopefully)

Posted by on 15 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, Uncategorized, weather

These photos were taken by the elder stidkid yesterday. Not much snow left then, it’s now raining… and wet is the word of the day.


Valentine’s Day

Posted by on 14 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Blog Carnival, caring, children, Family Matters, Gardens and Life, health, illness, musings, Uncategorized

It’s late on Valentine’s day. I have been too sick this week to finish the valentines as I had hoped, which really bothers me because those cards are the most fun to make. The more glitter the better, and if you can fit some lace or ribbon on too, do it! Oh well, I have supplies for next year!

I wanted to revisit the theme I touched on twice this week: the difference between enduring LOVE and the oogly-googly feeling of romance.

This week started out with my darling Tom feeling ill — last weekend, in fact, and he took the first three days off work. Then I caught it, and took the last three days off. One of the children has had an annoying post-nasal drip cough for over a month, the other was sickly Thursday and Friday (but much improved today). Nothing is a bigger test of true love than everybody feeling ill all at the same time.

Today, Valentine’s Day, I woke up on the sofa (had to sleep sitting up so I could breathe). Tried to keep the dog quiet so Tom could sleep longer (didn’t work). Sat on the sofa feeling miserable for hours. Then moved to Tom’s chair after he and the children left for their afternoon activities. Felt miserable there, too. But played “Puzzle Quest” for a long time anyway. It’s slow-paced and mesmerizing, just right for a fever. And then, to prove my love, I started a load of laundry and the dishwasher.

I am now recuperating from my exertions…

But silliness aside, true love isn’t the sparkly, bright, shiny, new gift of the valentine; it is the somewhat worn, dingy, occasionally ragged, “comfortable” old bathrobe of real life. My valentine from Tom was the leisure to rest and sleep as much as I need this week. My valentine to him this week was to step up and do just a little more as I could so he didn’t have to do everything. My valentine to my children was to make sure I talked with them at least a little each day — including the day I had no voice. Their valentine to us was to help out around the house, doing chores that are normally mine or Tom’s.

After courtship, excitement and adventure; after the wedding, ribbons and bows; after the first house, the first real disagreement, the first child (or the first pet); after real life begins… Then love proves itself. I believe that everyone should be able to marry — to experience all the joys — all the discouragement and responsibilities — all the triumphs — all the sorrows and worry — all the peace.

Hey, if someone is willing to put up with kleenex everywhere and random half-finished cans of ginger ale in unlikely places… why not?


And although the Blog Carnival actually ended yesterday I think, I noticed that Robin had another post today, so I will refer you over to her last post as well.

Something Blue

Posted by on 13 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Blog Carnival, children, Gardens and Life, good things, Uncategorized

blueberries from our yard

Something blue… blue skies, blue eyes, blue berries!

The picture above is of the bushes that have been heeled in “temporarily” for about 8 years. This year, they will be moved to their permanent position down below the garden, in an area that is low-lying and therefore boggy much of the year, but dry and warm in the summer when berries are ripening. One of the ways I show my love for our family is to grow yummy things.

One of the ways my darling Tom shows his love for his family is to cook yummy things. Bread (including wheat-free for me), pancakes, waffles, and other treats to delight our taste buds. One of his favorite ingredients for these sumptuous comestables is blueberries.

I love it when his passion for cooking and my passion for gardening work together so well!

I will close this post today with something that I think demonstrates why it really is ALL about love… This was taken 11 years ago, and shows the children completely zonked out on the older boy’s bed.

]the children asleep on a bed piled high with all their blankets and pillows

This post is my contribution to my friend Robin’s Blog Carnival supporting Freedom to Marry week.

I was Moon!

Posted by on 12 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

In the class story-telling performance we did yesterday for the program I am taking. Here is what I looked like.

new outfit worn for performance!

new outfit worn for performance!

and this is the moon mask I drew (before I painted the black and red areas) for the class…

moon, who watches over everything

moon, who watches over everything

Something Borrowed…

Posted by on 12 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Blog Carnival, Gardens and Life, Uncategorized

As I have the start of the flu (it seems) today, I am glad the blog carnival topic is some/thing borrowed.

I am going to borrow the idea of how people get along with each other. What about love? There are many types of love of course: friend-love, parent-child love, hormone-driven love, romantic love. Most people think about romantic love as the primary reason for marriage.

But I propose that romantic love is a minor part of being married. At least for long-term marriages. I think the more important love is an enduring, pragmatic sort. The one that allows us to be patient when our life partner is being unreasonable. The one that lets us clean up the mess when our life partner is too ill. The one that allows us to do “one more thing” in the evening so our life partner can finish a book, get to sleep early or work on a different project. The one that allows us to bend and change in order to maintain balance in this shared life that is being crafted.

This is the love that says, “I don’t mind if he wears my bathrobe down to the mailbox (pink daisies and all),” or, “As soon as she thinks about it she’ll know how silly that was,” and then forgets all about it and goes and gets the kids ready for school.

This is the love that borrows methods and ideas from every aspect of life in order to deal with whatever comes because no matter how annoying the person gets, we know we don’t want to live without them.

Love is the master at borrowing…

blog carnival

blog carnival

Something New

Posted by on 11 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Blog Carnival, Gardens and Life, good things, hope, musings, Uncategorized

#2 in the blog carnival started by The Other Mother.

New. New things are exciting, entertaining, sometimes frightening, and often challenging.

Last summer, I started something new. I went back to school. Nearly 20 years after getting my “B.A. in absolutely nothing (Liberal Arts)” I realized I needed to pick up a few more classes before I could apply to a Master’s program. Since that time, I have taken Literature classes (new), Microbiology (new), and linguistics/storytelling (both new). I also took a Math class (first one I successfully completed since high school), a Developmental Psychology class (mostly new), and a Child Heath and Nutrition class (not new information, but first course in that subject).

My children, who have been experiencing “new” things all their lives (we all do, as we grow up), find it amusing that I have to study so much, even in the topics I know pretty well. They are bright, and often don’t need to study outside of school (though with 30 hours in the building each week, they really get almost as much study time as I do), so are perhaps a little spoiled. Still, they understand how important it is to stretch and reach for their very best… and sometimes, in trying new things, they fail. It doesn’t feel good when that happens, but they definitely know what it feels like to be doing something new.

What other new things await us? Well, the climate is changing. We aren’t sure, from year to year, what plants in the garden will be successful. Every winter and summer sees one plant or another fail, and others start to grow. We are learning to keep more foul weather gear on hand as our winters become more extreme, and learning also how to keep the house cool with shades and drapes in the warmer summers.

The world is changing. After nearly 30 years of U.S. saber-rattling, the new administration is at least coming in to the office with a stated intent of mending fences and building bridges. The “climate” politically therefore is changing, and we are faced with new possibilities — and will also have new challenges. With new people in the various offices, policies are likely to change in many areas, and we will need to learn how to adjust.

We are changing. Today is a new day. Tomorrow will be new again. Today I think new thoughts, and tomorrow will be exposed to new ideas. Today I have new chances to do good things (and to make mistakes). Tomorrow will be a chance for even more. Today I can learn a new skill and tomorrow still another.

What’s new?

Just about everything.


Snow Days and Tuesdays…

Posted by on 10 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Uncategorized, weather

These pictures were taken today about 4 in the afternoon. Looks like winter is still very much with us.

wet snow weights down smaller limbs and trunks...

wet snow weights down smaller limbs and trunks...

this shows how deep the snow is, the posts on the fort are 4" square

this shows how deep the snow is, the posts on the fort are 4 inches square

car is moved and with chains, not getting stuck this time!

car is moved and with chains, not getting stuck this time!

And finally, as inconvenient as the snow is, it still is pretty — look how it highlights the different textures of the maple branches and fir limbs.

bright maple branches, quiet fir limbs

bright maple branches, quiet fir limbs

Apology Day? A Great Idea!

Posted by on 10 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

This article from the BBC has a wonderful concept. What would it take to make something like this really happen?

Something Old

Posted by on 10 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Blog Carnival, parenting, Uncategorized

We are coming up on Valentine’s Day, and everywhere you look in the United States there are posters and reminders that we need to tell someone special that we love them… It’s supposedly all about love (and not about commericialism, which is a good topic for a different post).

I might have mentioned (once or twice) that I am a parent. Once of infants, then preschoolers, then school-aged, now teens.

NOTHING makes a parent feel older, I think, than realizing that in less time than it took them to reach the ages they are now… the offspring may have offspring. In ten more years, the elder child will be the age I was when he was born, which was already three years older than my mother was when she had me. Will I then be old enough to be a grandmother? I suppose, I will be — at whatever age it happens.

Being a teacher is something like being a parent, I am discovering… I look out at the sea of youthful faces, lesson in mind, and find myself remembering when I learned the same lesson. Only, in those days, we had less information, fewer details to learn and fewer resources to use when studying. We had books. Encyclopedias (books). Magazines (thin books with floppy covers). Sometimes, we could interview someone for information. But usually, we headed to the library to search for likely sources in the card catalog. And then we wrote our reports.

In middle school and high school, hand-written papers were acceptable. Only the most affluent and tech-savvy kids (or the ones who took clerical classes) had typewriters… Handwriting was not only taught, but even in the upper grades neatness was part of the grade you received.

Today, the first resource is the internet. And all school reports (in my children’s schools anyway) are to be typed. It is an unusual child who doesn’t have at least one computer in the home in our area, and all the schools have computers in the libraries, if not the classrooms. Libraries, also, have computers. Not only for personal use, but for their entire catalog; no more neat little cards filed away in drawers, waiting to be discoverd like little treasures in chests…

Do I feel old? Today, yes. With an inkling of my grandmother’s astonishment when I was able to instantly look up a news article (online) a decade ago to answer a question she had.

So, what about love? I wouldn’t trade this realization of the passage of time for anything. The very thing that makes life meaningful to me is sharing experiences with people of all ages, introducing ideas and events to younger people even as I am welcomed into the life of more mature people by those who came before me. For me, it’s all about love…


My friend Robin at The Other Mother holds a blog carnival every year in honor of Freedom to Marry week. The topic for the blog carnival this year is “what about love?” I am proud to participate, and look forward to the day that civil rights are accorded equally to all.

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