Friday, October 28, 2011

coming to a neighborhood near us

I bring it upon myself, I know I do.  In fact, in 2008 when Pook asked to be "just a bat, not a vampire or Count Dracula or anything" I think I was a bit disappointed. But!  I made him great bat wings and he looked the part and was pleased.

This year is no exception.  We have, coming to a neighborhood near us, a Lego minifig and a slice of swiss cheese.  Yes, we do.  And they will look fabulous!

I seem to have left photos out of the Halloween post from last year.  I wasn't sure how to best make Bug anonymous.  But I have done it now, so, for your viewing pleasure here are Pook and Bug, 2010.  2011 will come soon.  To get both boys in costume at the same time it will have to be time to leave on The Great Candy Run, so I'll just wait to show them later.

Friday, October 21, 2011

ta da: "After" photos

Time for the post-renovation, After photos!

The boys chose the turquoise, and now that it's up I like it a lot.  I wasn't sure.  Right now I have some very cool temperature daylight bulbs in the fixture and they give the space a very cool light.  I think I'll replace them with something warmer since the paint color reflects on the white tile already.  Snoopy was the other choice they made.  I figure that it is their bathroom and those two things, paint and shower curtain, are easily changed.  The existing Snoopy towel is right at home.
The new bathroom as seen from the doorway
The new vanity, medicine cabinet and light fixture
Second cabinet is 9" deep to hold lots!
Snoopy shower curtain and full-to-ceiling tile around window
The existing towel fits right in
The water damage was minimal. The new sill is made of cement board.  The shelf is one of my favorite details.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

running, screaming with my ears covered

I heard the phrase:  "This Holiday Season."  Later, my mother in law called. She'd seen a toy in a catalog and wanted to know if I thought it was appropriate for the boys.  My first instinct was to say "for what?" but then I caught up with her and realized that she had Christmas shopping on her brain.

Up until then I was comfortable in autumn.  Really, summer lasts so long that we've only just started autumn here.  The holidays are in the winter, last I'd checked.  Or, at least the one which requires shopping, which is the one in the reference.  Winter is a long time away.

I am not there yet.  I am so not there.  I am in "the school year is well underway" mode.  I am in "this is the coasting, life is pretty simple" time of year.  I am in the "enjoy those last warm days" clothing.  I am not wearing sweaters.  I am not making my list and checking it twice.

We are planning for Halloween.  If the calendar doesn't cheat, it is still a few weeks away.  I'm willing to make plans for Thanksgiving, but only if it is necessary to make them so early.  Christmas?  No.  It is not on the horizon yet. 

But the family will need ideas for the boys. I will have about three ideas and I will give them all to the family members who ask first, and then I will panic. 

It is a good thing that my kids want so little.  It is a good thing that they have the things they need and understand that too much is not better.  Does this mean we can skip the retail portion of the holidays?  I could suggest that we give to charities instead.  I could suggest that we draw names and only buy for one person.  I could suggest that but it would never work.  The family members who buy presents for them want to buy presents for them.  The children who receive presents would not give up the opportunity to receive presents.  No, I can't skip it and I can't hide from it.  I will have to embrace it and start The List.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

in my DNA

I spoke of my Paid Job last night in the context that it feels good to get back into my field.  CD noted that really, it isn't just my professional field, it is ingrained in my DNA.  He's probably right.

In 8th grade I had a weekly Social Studies assignment (given by a teacher who had a face like a shrunken apple and was reported to smell like bourbon - had I known what bourbon smelled like I could confirm or deny this, but I did not and cannot).  The assignment involved cutting out articles from magazines or newspapers and writing a response to them.  Good assignment really. 

One of my articles was from Time Magazine and was titled "What Do Babies Think?"  It explained how researchers could use babies' eye gaze and behavior for insight into their pre-verbal thinking.  I was fascinated.  I still have the article.  My future profession was cemented right then.

I managed to get into a college psychology class taught in my high school, which gave me a semester of college credit before starting college.  I became a Psychology major and because I was one semester off from all the others, my class sizes were smaller.

"What does one do with a degree in Psychology?"  Same as someone with an English degree.  We go to grad school.  There, or rather here in Georgia, I received a diploma which reads (due to lack of space):  "Major Mental Retard."  And so I met my destiny.

BC (Before Children) I taught a self contained class of Special Needs Preschool students.  I had a diverse group of kids, gradually becoming a class of non-verbal or violent children with Autism.  I was the teacher who took the kids the other teachers of special needs kids didn't want.

And now here I am.  Still floating, but I've spent most of my time with two particular children and I'm learning how to get into their brains. I've been given two pictures drawn by little girls, and hugs and waves from lots of children who now know me.  I'm back.  And it feels great.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

happy cow

I'm having a cow.  (Sometime in 7th grade this became the phrase to say.  "Don't have a cow." --or don't get upset.  Why did we say it? I don't know.  It was 7th grade.)  But, I am going to have a cow.  On Wednesday Mr. Farmer will be delivering a full cow to my house.   

Our congregation was challenged to make a "Happiness Pledge" last year.  This was to be something that would simultaneously make the world a better place and make us happier in some way.  CD and I decided we would purchase grass fed beef and then eat much less beef than normal. Hopefully that would keep the cost reasonable across the time frame.

The farmer keeps about six cows at a time, completely back yard grass fed.  He also raises chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, goats, lamb, and pigs.  We call it "happy cow" and try to take a moment to thank the cow, in a Native American style, before eating it.  I like that the boys care so much about the source of their food.  They ask at most meals about who grew the food they're eating.  I'm pleased to say that we often know.  (Not that Kroger isn't frequently the source.)
This farmer brings meats to our weekly organic farmer's market so I purchased a few steaks to see if the family liked grass fed beef enough to make the leap before we each bought about 25 pounds.  Two families shared 1/4 of a cow with us. We kept our pledge and were successful in changing our eating patterns, and in becoming spoiled for really, really good quality meat!

Now, I'm not sure that meat should stay in the freezer for a full year, but I pulled out the last sirloin steak today, and it was still incredible. CD marinated it in soy and garlic and then put it on the grill.  That is some of the best meat I have ever eaten.  (That and some potatoes sliced and grilled with Dijon mustard, horseradish and olive oil which were referred to by the boys as "happy potatoes" since they were also grown on an organic, "happy" farm.)

This year I decided to spread the love.  I found eleven other families to share a full cow.  The price per pound goes down naturally as you buy more, so the full cow was my goal.  The meat is all cut and labeled and approved by the government, vacuum packed and pre-frozen before delivery. I've made everyone promise to keep complaints to themselves if they have any.  The cow will do its best but, for example, it has only so many ribs.  The coolers will not be identical, but I will try to make the distribution as fair as I can. CD thinks I'll regret this.  I'm just going to try hard not to have a cow.