Monday, March 29, 2010

I've got to take some pictures of the store.

It is looking completely awesome.

K's been working hard, the sign-painter has begun, and it is beginning to come togther. My part is also beginning: I'm picking up carts, shelving, and produce crates this week, and am dligently hunting down open coolers for produce, booths, etc. Not very straight-froward since we are looking for used.

But! In the mean time! The kids are great. Caspian seems to have come through his everything, and is abck to being a fairly sunny little boy-- just in the last 2 days, let's hope it sticks. He is not crawling. But he did pull himself to standing yesterday for the first time, rolls around in his crib like a monkey, and has figured out how to sit up by himself in the last week. So he's making great strides.

Annaliese talks, talks, talks, talks, and we love just about every word. She's awesome. Wants to help with everything. Which is sometimes slow and messy, but hey, she's 2.

K. is great. He's going in for sinus surgery next week, an unbelievably expensive producure that will leave him flat on his back for 4 days, but hopefully at the other end, he'll be able to smell, taste, breathe, and not get knocked flat on his back by every passing germ bug.

The infamous pink doggie...

Corn muffins and vegetable soup = Annaliese-approved Sunday supper.

Happy Monday!
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Annaliese Tales

Today we went to the farm supply store. Annaliese knows and likes it; there's always a cat and sometimes a kitten for her to play with. We were making our slow way up the steps when she stopped and tapped my knee and said to the kind employee, "that MY Mommy."

We came home and played outside in the courtyard. Caspian was in his walkabout thingie and Annaliese was wandering around as I began planting some containers for the cold frames. She shrieked suddenly and when I looked up, she was pointing the corner of the house and saying "Mommy! Bugs! Scare me!" There were a pile of wasps about ten feet up. I told her that yes, they were bugs, but there was no need to be scared since they were so far away. "Get them, Mommy," she said, and repeated it until I told her K. would take care of them tomorrow. When he came home, the first thing she did was lead him outside to show him the wasps.

Tonight I put them both to bed. Annaliese takes awhile to settle down so we've started giving her a few books for entertainment during the wind-down time. "Do prayers, Mommy," and then, "Mommy, I love you. Night night."

And she picked up her book.

I love having a little girl.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

For Caitlin, the garden

You'd have to ask K, but i think he wants to make each section a cross instead of just a diagonal.

Which means we have to get more bamboo.

Not to mention I've got half of it double-dug with manure and mulch, but the other half remains. I should note that we did not treat the bamboo with any preservative, which means it will most likely last 2-4 years. This does not worry us as bamboo is invasive down here and there's plenty more where that came from, plus we wanted a less permanent structure as well.

Just for funsies, a shot of the cold frames-- on the south side of the house and planted with melons, squashes, basil, tomatillos, and holding my strawberry plants I bought all green with flowers. Everything will stay in until after Easter, which is the set-out date around here.

And some hanging baskets I got on sale sit waiting to be planted, along with the blue planters K made me. I'm thinking trailing Black-eyed Susan vine, which bloomed around July here last year and didn't quit until the first hard frost in November.

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And then he came home

K. was in Florida for 3 days. Annaliese-- kid you not-- kept asking "Where Daddy go?" and I'd say Florida, and she'd nod. But then on the 2nd day of his absence, completely out of nowhere, she said, "I miss Daddy."

Which makes it one of her first on-scripted FEELING conversations ever, to join last week's "I'm tired" and this morning's "I can't sleep" after Caspian woke us all up at what USED to be 5:15 am not even seven days ago.


So we were chillin' in what I call the courtyard, aka the concrete slab adjoined our house, to someday be dignified with a loggia, and the kids were getting grunchy so I put them in the car! So they could go to the office! (That's what Annaliese said anyhow, and they both loved it. Annaliese driving and Caspian in the passenger seat. Keys safely in my pocket and the emergency brake on.)

And Daddy pulled up!

Annaliese looking at him getting out of the truck:

Caspian crowing with glee and then moving in for a Papa-hug:

And then we went to see the chickens, and Annaliese looked pretty:

The end.
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mississippi, You Crack Me Up

Of all the places in the world, it never occurred to me that I'd be living-- let alone raising babies-- in the state of Mississippi. It simply never occurred to me, and on the rare occasion I met someone from or living in the state, it was all I could do to keep from hiking my shoulders towards my ears and saying "Mississippi???"

And we all know that K and i don't intend to stay here forever. To us, the land lacks context, being without blue mountains in the background. And the schools... well, our town recently cut spending across the board, except for the athletic department. Because that's the only way someone might be successful, if they're really good at track or football.

But I digress.

What I LOVE about Mississippi is how CRAZY she can be, how South-of-the-1950s she still is. Sometimes this is bad, but mostly, at least for white upper-class folks, it's really kind of hilarious.


I recently had lunch with a California transplant. A JEWISH California transplant. She was kavitching ( :) ) about the lack of religious tolerance in this town, and I was laughing with her, because really, it's funny. City Hall meetings open with prayers (a fact that I usually don't have a chance to ponder because we're straightaway praying for a 16-year-old who got his leg cut off by a bush-hog or the like) and even though K. and I attend church, we're still regularly recruited by the other big church in town because the Baptists don't seem to really believe that the Methodists are Christians. This tickles me.

But she's actually NOT Christian, and so here's two of the things the Jewish lady told me:

- "alright, my friend was tired, and I think she'd had a little too much to drink, but she actually told me she stays up at night worrying because I'm going to hell."

- "Someone gave me a Nativity scene for Christmas."

A NATIVITY SCENE! FOR CHRISTMAS! TO A JEWISH PERSON! That completely slays me, I don't know why.

Add it in to truly fantastic times like when I was at a City Hall meeting and the mayor completely sincerely told us he'd really very much enjoyed his recent sexual harassment in the workplace training.

Also, the same mayor left his wife for a much younger woman about five years ago, and then returned home after a month or two. Apparently if you ask him about it, he'll tell you he had a stroke and refers to it as his "spell."

People are so nuts. I love it. I don't know if they just keep the crazy in better up North, but eccentricity is alive and well in this fine state.

This photo is from three years ago, when K and I tried to find Sardis Lake, not realizing the Corp of Engineers drains it for the winter, and then got stuck in the mud. We were rescued by these folks' papas and their four-wheelers in another surreal Mississippi Moment.

Monday, March 15, 2010

While the ideas held court, the babies continue.


No one is sleeping well. First Annaliese with a bad cold; now Caspian with a cold AND the 9-month-sleep regression that accompanies learning to move. Last night he cried out over and over and we'd stumble in to find him on his knees, rocking back in forth in his crib. His poor little brain is on fire.

Fun story: Also last night around 3 am I hear a "Mommy, Mommy," and so I haul out of bed for the 900th time and go to Annaliese's side of the room.

"Mommy, I'm tired," she tells me.

Yeah, kid. ME TOO.

Tough to be mad at these faces though. And we'll get through this. We had a pretty blessed two week run, so c'est la vie. (Of course, the one night they slep GREAT this weekend was the one night we went to bed after midnight, since we were out PARTYING LIKE ROCK STARS aka K dancing gracefully while I tried not to break an ankle or flash the dancefloor. PS Sister your dress is DAMN short.).

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

A little support for my deep distrust of hospitals

As I've said before, I'm a big fan of medicine and doctors-- if you need it. But if you don't?

Our pediatrician is literally the only doctor I feel like is actually paying attention-- to not just what is in front of him, but the overall picture.

The others? I've always gotten the feeling they are concentrating on something else entirely. Which makes me nervous. So when I got pregnant, I ended up with midwives, who gave me the marvelous sensation of concentration, like they truly had my and my baby's health at heart, instead of an over-scheduled day and insurance requirements.

And I figured that if I or my baby died during delivery, it would be because of an actual situation and not all this slipping-through-the-radar bullshit that raddles our health-care system.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Inflammatory Statement Number Five: I Believe in Sobriety

Gosh, so many to pick from. Spanking? Family heirlooms? Gay people?

But I'm going to go with... sobriety.

Sort of.

There doesn't seem to be a word for eschewing banned substances.

I think cigarettes are gross, and that smokers should have to pay an entirely different rate of insurance than non-smokers. But cigarettes are legal, they don't impair your driving ability or cause you to make especially poor decisions, and so I'm pretty much ok with them, though I do think bars should be smoke-free because I hate stinking like smoke when I don't.

Alcohol... I'm cool with it. In moderation. It's legal, it's historic, and man, a fine red goes a long way towards putting me in a good mood.

I am completely aware that a similar argument can be made for marijuana, the most socially acceptable of illicit substances. Practically everyone I know has toked up at some point. It's historic, it puts people in a good mood, it's illegal for reasons I don't pretend to understand, because I'm pretty sure we all agree that alcohol is more commonly dangerous than marijuana. For those reasons, I would support its legalization.

But I don't believe in smoking weed. Or taking prescription drugs, or uppers, or downers, or-- naturally-- crack, heroin, meth, and all the other drugs a nice white girl from Virginia doesn't know about. But I suspect that most people don't agree with the latter, and many think that smoking pot is a-ok.

I don't.

It's not the most rational belief. For instance, if you have cancer? Light up, my friend, whatever helps. But on a personal level?

For whatever reason, weed IS illegal, and one should only venture outside the law for a cause that matters. Getting relaxed or hungry or in a better mood or whatever doesn't strike me as one. So I believe in taking hot baths with fat-bellied glasses of red wine instead of smoking a doobie.

Plus, it seems intrinsically linked to adolescence in my mind. So when I hear my parenting peers tell me that they light up after the kids are in bed and get high with their babysitter, I think less of them. Just like I think less of men who play video games and women who wear their teenage girls' clothes. It's just not dignified.

Maybe the title should have been "I believe in dignity."

(I have been getting the images for these posts by image-searching Google. When you image-search for dignity, it's mostly Hilary Duff, and old people in euthanasia articles.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Inflammatory Statement Number Four: I Believe in the Pursuit of Your Own Happiness

Martyrdom is awfully hip.

Parents do it: we'll stay together-- for the kids. We'll work jobs we hate-- for the kids. We'll spend all our free time at soccer games and music lessons and ballet classes-- for the kids.

People with jobs do it: I'll pull an all-nighter, I'll skip lunch with my spouse, I'll work on Saturday and through dinner and never take a vacation.

People who have had anything at all happen to them do it: My mother was mean to me, my spouse cheated on me, my sister called me fat and my dog got hit by a truck.

There are people in this world who can legitimately not choose happiness-- the sick and the suffering. We know what happens out there. The women in the Congo; the parents of terminally ill children; the victims of hate and rage and oppression.

But for the rest of us? I think it is our duty to the truly afflicted to choose to be happy. I think it is our duty to our parents, our spouses, and our children to wake up every damn day and thank God for this chance to be alive. And so I think it is absolutely vital that we be "selfish" and do what we can to be happy, soul-nourishing inwardly-happy.

Like live near the people we love (working on it). Like start a business, like take a nap, like turn off your personal communication device and drink a cup of coffee in the sun, like take a morning off to sleep in late with your honey and plant a garden.

Sometimes what we want isn't within our power (get someone sober; buy the perfect house; retire). But a whole lot of things are, and I believe in identifying what IS possible. I can let K take the children to Vermont so I can have a week to myself (omg best decision ever, by the by). I can decide to start a hops farm (kudos, Jon). I can buy a home and live with my sweetheart (that's you, Natalie). Or whatever.

I don't know what makes YOU happy, but you should. And you should choose happiness, as often as you can, because it is a privilege-- and a sacrilege to waste it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Inflammatory Statement Number Three: I Believe in Marriage and the Vows

Marriage gets a bad rap these days. People live together; people are "married in their hearts" and don't need a "patriarchal institution to formalize their commitment."

Well, to each his own, but as for me: I believe that standing up and saying that you will stick together and forsake all others until death does you part is an integral piece of the monogamy equation.

For one, I think it is pretty much A-OK to skip out on your boyfriend when you meet someone you like better. Dating-- or even those settled monogamous but not-married relationships-- is a live-for-the-day kind of deal, and if you stumble into someone you wanna make out with and go roadtrippin' (ahem, K), then you should do it without any guilt in your heart. (You should, however, inform the other person and make your apologies.)

Everything's fair until you meet the person you actually want to be with, no matter what, for the rest of your life. Then it's time to make some promises. I don't think you have to have witnesses, but i do think that speaking the words out loud cuddled under a blanket in front of a fire in the lust-kissed honeymoon phase ain't really good enough. We need pomp and legislation: a church, a city hall, a justice of the peace. I think there is some intangible value in formally promising.

And sure, marriage is a patriarchal institution. And education is an elitist one, and government is a corrupt one, and funerals are a futile one, but we still do them because despite their flaws, they are necessary.

I think we've tried to make marriage and its vows irrelevant. But there is a big difference between those who have stood up and made big promises and those who have not.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Inflammatory Statement Number Two: I Believe in God, and (Kind of) Jesus Christ

A lot of people argue about whether or not God exists, and if so, why God lets bad things happen, so on and so forth.

I believe absolutely that God exists, mainly because of all the things on this earth. I find it impossible to believe that they came about by accident. Earth and all of its creatures is proof that God exists.

I also believe that Jesus Christ was real and was the son of God, but I do not believe that he is the only way to God. I believe he is my people's way to God, and it seems probable to me that other groups had other ways God tried to bring them to him. I am a Christian more because of the accident of birth; born to another family, I probably would have been Jewish or Muslim.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Inflammatory Statement Number One: I think soy milk is bad for you.

First, a request: I'm saying what I actually believe. My beliefs will be easy to knock down because that's the nature of belief. But don't take a swing unless YOU really actually believe what you're saying; let's skip the sophism.

Tofu, soy sauce, edamame, miso: I'm entirely cool with all of these, as eaten in moderation. But I think the idea that cow, goat, or sheep milk-- a product taken straight from the animal and delivered to you with just a little heating (and I'm talking happy animals on grass pastures, not industrial milk) is terrible and substituting "milk" made from ground beans, water, and chemicals is better is absurd. Ab-surd.

There's a lot of studies out there to back me up. Soy milk messes with your chemicals! It ups estrogen levels and promotes cancer! But frankly, there's a study for everything in the entire world, so I'm not listening to either side of the experts on this one.

I'm going with my gut, which says:

A milk made from beans ain't right.

Friday, March 05, 2010


Things have been pretty tame in this corner of the Internet ever since I had kids and they ate my brain.

So! Fun idea! Starting Monday, I'm going to post a week of Inflammatory Statements that I wholeheartedly believe, no sophism over here.

Just for funsies.
Pictures will be posted when the fence is done. We're still sorting out the actual design part, in between the posts and top/bottom rails. Nothing like free building materials, though; we went and cut this down at a friend's grove and didn't make a dent.

Beautiful day and the weather's supposed to hit the 60s tomorrow and stay there. Daffodils in a vase next to the sink. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Cute patootie, eh? Photos taken around 7am this morning, post-breakfast and diaper changes but still in pajamas.

Fun family times abounding. Thinking of going to the zoo on Sunday. K's been putting up a bamboo fence around the garden. We tried to have a date this week, but one of our babysitters has the flu and the other is out of town. So we blew off work and went out to lunch together yesterday. Found a great Mississippi produce gentlemen to hook me up with good fresh produce, honey, molasses, and cured hams.

Life progresses.
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Monday, March 01, 2010

Regular Programming Resumes

I've signed Caspian up for Kindermusik, which is possibly the most Yuppie Mommy thing i have ever done. Every Monday we trot up to Oxford and sit in a Kindermusik studio (aka a carpeted room in someone's house) with a handful of other babies and clap, sway, jump, play with colored scarves, puppets, and various noisemakers.

I do this despite the silly signing nonsense (why must I learn a different language to communicate with my baby, who needs to learn English anyhow?) because Caspian loves it. He loves the other babies, the see-through scarves, and the fact that for 45 minutes, he doesn't have to do anything except play with me. His eyes get all big with incredulous joy. It's seriously adorable.

We had a fab weekend as a family of 4. Hints of spring: warm enough to work in the garden with Annaliese riding herd on K and Caspian supervising from a spot on a quilt. We are very spring-hungry around here. Winter makes us feel like this:

aka rashy and upset.

So what else is new?

Well, K's obsessed with Dr. Who. And I'm not. I've got five red oaks to plant on the hill and the garden, it progresses....I am double-digging the whole thing and anointing it with mulch and manure so it's taking awhile. But theoretically we shall never till again! And I do love my spade'n'wellies. The store rockets along in planning; primarly what I'm doing now is setting up my inventory (not getting it, just determining it, price, source etc) and getting paperwork in order. K's doing fabulous things to the space and then on APril 1st, I will roll in with paint brushes and start spending money, as I need booths and shelves and coolers and... a lot of things.

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