Well, hello there…

I think I’m coming back to the land of “normal”.  I also believe it and I am quite certain that thinking and believing are two different things.  So, I’m going to conclude that there is a definite improvement in my “being-ness” since both thought processes are in play.

We had a fun Fourth of July celebration at the home of old friends.  They are friends that we have known for a long time and are not necessarily old although not as young as they used to be.  It was going to be a smallish celebration, but as most good parties do, it grew and grew…  There was laughter, food, beer, tension, fireworks (mostly the actual physical kind, not the human interaction kind) and more food.

I was stressed going into it all, but by the end of the night was doing pretty well.  Time spent with folks you know and who know you can be healing.  And I did not kill any small child who threw loud noisy things to the ground behind me.  I don’t know what those explosive devices are called AND the small children will never throw them near me again, but I didn’t permanently harm any of them…I promise.

Today saw us dropping my oldest daughter off at her summer job.  She is working a Renaissance style childrens’ summer camp.  She’s the daughter with culinary school and an in-process degree in Food Service Management.  She’ll be working in an unairconditioned kitchen in July in Central Texas.  Fun times…

Did I mention we helped her convert our old trailer into a Vardo type habitat for her stay.  She decided that a tent might be too rustic for her for a month (Gee, you think?).  IMAG0865IMAG0868IMAG0875IMAG0871

She did almost all of the work herself with some manual labor assistance.  She got an air-conditioner and everything….pretty sweet.  I totally forgot to get a photo of the finished dwelling…a description will have to suffice.  Corrugated metal on the ceiling, a sari-fabric hanging light, a full mattress covered in pillows, fabric lining the walls, a desk/table with storage underneath, and a chair.  Very snug, cozy and climate controlled.  I’m almost jealous…except for the whole kitchen job thing…been there, done that.

I followed up our morning excursion with a three hour nap.  I definitely feel better.  I woke up to a quiet and empty house.  I took a moment to wander through and assess the level of untidiness.  On a scale of one to ten with ten being complete chaos, I think we’re hovering around a 13.

It’s pretty “lived-in”.  That’s okay.  We’ve done a lot of living so far this summer. I love a challenge.  I will start out tomorrow with my list in hand and start to tame the beast.

For now, I’m going to be happy to be me.

Boris the Hog

I know you are all anxiously awaiting an update to yesterday’s post…Be Careful What You Wish For.

Well, Boris the hog has arrived and is presently residing in our hallway packed in ice and awaiting processing.  Why “Boris” you might ask or perhaps why any name at all.  Beats me.  My kids have this weird thing about naming things:  cars, pets, wild animals, furniture, art pieces, pretty much anything at all.  “Boris” was named by my son who is my kid and sometimes child-like although technically an adult in the eyes of the law.

Processing has been delayed somewhat by my husband being moved to the night shift at late notice.  Working days or nights – two totally different worlds and a huge adjustment when change happens.

Anyway Boris is going to be part of our Fourth of July celebration.  A friend is going to allow us the use of his smoker to prep the ham and bacon.  Some parts are going in the freezer and the rest will be a feast for friends and family.

I’ve got to share my second daughter’s reaction via text.  She is living away at college and read my post before I had a chance to talk to her and share the news.  She is my little animal lover and in some ways was born into the wrong time.  She would have fit in very well into the culture of the sixties.  She is all about peace. love and tie-dye shirts.

Here is the text conversation (my words are in italics, hers in bold text):

“A hog?”

“Oink”

“Thank you. From who?”  (This should probably be read with a great deal of sarcasm)

“A friend”

“Well, not to complain or ask for a lot.  But if the pieces that resemble what it originally looked like (nose, ears, eyes, legs, feet, tail, etc) could be gone or “away” when I get there Wednesday that would be sweet.  Otherwise the chances of me eating any of it will go from 60% to 10%.  Again not trying to make anything difficult.”

“Will do.  If it helps it’s a wild hog that is a vicious destructive critter”

“It does, but I will still see Wilbur”

It constantly amazes me how my four children can all be so different and so much the same at the same time.

All in all this has pretty much been a week of amazement so far…

  • Amazement that I’m still walking around and reasonably sane.
  • Amazement about some really good news that I’ll probably share later.
  • Amazement at the fun and sometimes strange (in a good way) folks that I meet through this blog.
  • Amazement that I raised some pretty cool and wonderful children that are growing into amazing people (despite my parenting)
  • Amazement that I have a hog sitting in an ice chest behind me.  Next to the broom because although I found it, I still haven’t used it…

Living with an awareness of the amazing world around us is definitely not a bad thing.

Peace.

One of Those Days?

My dryer is making a really strange sound…a thumpa, thumpa, clank sound.  Almost like there’s a shoe in it, but there’s not.  I’m going to pretend like it isn’t making any sound at all.

I tried to balance my finances today.  I use an online program called YNAB (You Need a Budget).  I really like it (as much as I can like anything that has to do with numbers).  It reconciled yesterday.  There are two new transactions to deal with today.  I entered the transactions.  I can’t find any mistakes.  The numbers aren’t working.  It won’t reconcile.  Really?  I know I’m not good at math, but REALLY?  I’m going to pretend like it all worked out.  There’s enough money to cover the weird difference and that’s good enough.

I wasn’t supposed to go out of the house and work today.  I was excited about having an uninterrupted day at home to get things together.  Now, I have to go work.  I’m going to pretend like the plan was always to go out and work, and that my plans didn’t get changed.  I didn’t lose the time to get caught up because I never had it in the first place.

It seems like it’s going to be one of “those” days.

I’ve also gotten caught up in the “world” this week and seem to have lost my balance  (in a matter of speaking).  I’ve gotten way more involved and political then I like and have let events interfere with the things that bring me joy and peace.  Sort of like a giant step backwards.

Don’t get me wrong – I believe in standing up for what I believe in and that I should be involved in the world – I just can’t let it overwhelm me.  I tend to want to “fix” things and don’t always maintain a realistic view of what I can (or should) do.

So, I’m going to take a break from reality (the news) for a while and pretend like nothing much is happening.  The big ole’ world out there should keep spinning without me well enough.

I’m going to refocus on my little spot on the planet – my home, my family, my friends…and myself.

What to do?

What do you do at Faithacre on a sunny afternoon when the rain finally stops for a bit…and you get a great deal on a re-conditioned lawn mower?

Well, you start mowing down the knee-high grass that’s taken over your over an acre yard…

and you realize that the grasshoppers are thriving in the rain and wild grass…

and you think…hmmm, I have twelve chicks that are eating me out of house and home…

and you know that if you could let the chicks loose they would have a lot of fun chasing down those grasshoppers (but you can’t because they aren’t old enough to fend for themselves yet and they would be impossible to catch again…

so, you and your kids run around like crazy people catching grasshoppers (some might even have screamed when they touched the grasshoppers at first)…IMAG0843

and then you throw the grasshoppers into the chicken coop…

and settle down to watch the show!IMAG0853

Now, the chickens run up to greet me when I go to their coop.  I know they just want the grasshoppers, but I’m going to pretend they like me.

And, you have the satisfaction of practicing ecologically sound insect control, getting exercise and saving money – all at the same time.

Packaging

  • I’ve struggled with whether to write this post or not.  With how to word it so as not to offend anyone.  Considering all the possibilities of what might go wrong, whether it needs to be said or not, does it matter…

But, the thoughts just keep swirling in my head, refusing to be quieted.  It’s my blog, my little space in the world, and nobody has to read it or like it, but maybe I’m not the only one feeling this way.

Here goes…

What I’d like to say is please don’t package me.  Don’t look at me and make assumptions about who I am and stick me in a box and put a label on me.

I’m a complex person – because I’m a human being.  It just goes with the territory.  I make decisions, I change my mind, I make mistakes, I try to learn from them and I dream of a better world, but live in this one.

I am not a Democrat or a Republican or any other “party” for that matter.  I make my own decisions and prefer not to follow the crowd.  I don’t even know for sure what those party labels mean anymore.  So many issues and so many decisions – how can it all fit under one umbrella.

I guess I’m not a liberal or a conservative either.  I’m uncomfortable choosing one or the other.  Once again, it depends on the issue, the facts, my belief system and how it all fits into the very real world we live in.

I am a follower of Christ although I am not actively involved in a worship community.  I’ve become uncomfortable with the “Christian” label for much the same reason as any other.  So many extremes within the “Christian” community and a lot of directions and movements that don’t appeal to me.  I’ve chosen to go back to the Bible and my understanding of Jesus’ teachings and make my own way from there.

Here’s the tricky one – skin color.  White, black, brown, yellow, red, or whatever.  I’m an artist.  Two of those aren’t even a color and they are all wildly inaccurate depictions anyway.  Millions of people in each group and one label to identify them all?  What the hell?  That’s a pretty simplistic view of the world isn’t it?  White culture.  What does that even mean?  Black culture?  Same issue.  Who made up those categories and made it the standard by which we identify each other?

I suppose that it would make life easier if we could categorize everyone so easily and know what someone believes, thinks and how they will act based on appearance.  I’ve never found it to be true though.

I live in a manufactured home community out in the country in Texas…the South.  I’m a stay-at-home Mom and homeschool.  What assumptions are often made about me?  I’m an uneducated redneck because I live in a “trailer”.  I’m a religious, right-wing zealot because I homeschool.  I’m a back-to-earth, hippy, granola mom because I stay at home with my kids.  Or, my personal favorite, a gun-toting, survivalist, racist because I live in the country, in Texas.  These have all happened, for real.

Maybe it would make more sense to get to know me rather than stick a label on me and call it done.  Let me help you out…

  • I live where I live because it worked out economically and fits in with the lifestyle choices we make.  In short, we’ve got a big-ass house that we can make the payments on.
  • I stay at home because I love my kids, and my husband and I felt that it was the right choice for our family.  No judgment from me if you work outside the home.  Your life, your choices…we all need to make decisions that work for us.
  •  I homeschool for a number or personal reasons…it works for my kids’ learning styles, our family, and fits in with the lifestyle choices we’ve made.
  • I’ve got two Bachelor’s degrees and started on my Master’s.  I’d probably still be in college if I could.
  • I’ve got a garden and we eat a reasonably healthy diet. Nothing extreme though.  I’m not a good enough gardener that we could ever live off the land.  And I’m not sure that I could ever give up Cheetos or Oreos forever.

I could go on, but maybe I’ve made my point.  Let me sum it up for you…

If you’re ever in the neighborhood, please stop by for dinner.  I don’t care what “color” you are, where or who you worship (or if you worship at all), where you come from, what you wear (I prefer some garb of some kind please) your occupation, your life-style choices, your economic level, your political affiliations, your mental health diagnosis, your heritage, your decorating scheme, your gun-carrying status (or lack thereof), or your dietary restrictions (just let me know ahead of time).  If I’ve left anything out, let me know.

I do expect two things:  Respect and kindness for me and everyone else around the table, and lively discussion that does not degenerate into labeling, name-calling, belittling or generalizations.

I don’t hate anybody.  I also don’t love everybody (I know I’m supposed to, but I haven’t gotten there yet).  And honestly, there’s some people I don’t like very much.  I don’t feel the need to apologize for anything someone else has done, but I will empathize with your hurt.  I will try to apologize when I screw up if I realize I did so.  If not, please tell me what’s wrong so we can work it out.

That’s the best place to start…me and you.  One on one.  One discussion and one friendship at a time.  I can’t fix the whole world.  Nobody can.  But we can each work together.  Just don’t stick me in a box and put a label on me…and I’ll try to treat you with the same courtesy.

Looking forward…

This week…

  • my part-time job that takes about 10 hours a week
  • a second part-time job which has paid off our second car
  • a six hour drive to pick up my second daughter and bring her home for a long weekend
  • several shopping trips to prepare for my two oldest daughters’ upcoming trip to New Orleans with their aunt
  • a library summer reading program involving reptiles (ugh, snakes)
  • a sprained ankle
  • a trip through IKEA
  • a snowball fight
  • a sprained thumb
  • 6 A.M. start times and midnight end times for my son’s work schedule (we live 45 minutes away)
  • a graduation
  • a graduation party
  • a birthday party
  • a doctor’s appointment for my husband at 7:15 A.M. (we live over an hour away)
  • 3 optometrist appointments
  • some bad news in the mail
  • some awesomely good news in the mail
  • friends spending the night
  • loads of family
  • a minor car accident

I’m tired.  I’m happy.  We’ve gotten a lot of things off of our to-do list.  We’ve had fun.  Our whole family is together and getting along reasonably well.

I wouldn’t trade this week for anything.

I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t make it through another one.

I just have to make it through Sunday.  I’m looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.  More family, friends and who knows what!

I’m looking forward to what Monday will bring…a nap!