Friday, October 24, 2008

Armando Started It

It's been a heckuva week out here in the cornfields, so I've taken a wee break from blogging - as you can plainly see. I won't go into it just now, but Jonathan pretty much summed up our thoughts of recent events when he wandered through the kitchen muttering, "Bi-i-i-i-g news... Big big news" over and over. Stay tuned. And send chocolate.

Last night, however, was a normal sort of night. We went to niece Ana's school music performance.
They don't come any cuter than Ana.
It was quite the show - a musical revue spanning the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and the 90's. It was adorable, and quite impressive for a bunch of 10 yr olds. Ana, in case you can't tell, was a sock hop dancer. It was fun to hum along to familiar tunes, and, as tempting as it was, I resisted the urge to jump up, give the 'rock on!' signal, and scream "80's ROCK!"

We sat a few rows behind my sister's family.

And while we were captivated by the 4th graders' performance, I couldn't resist messing with my nephew...
There is Armando, spying me with my camera in hand.
Not one to miss an opportunity to be silly, he attempted to lure me in....

It worked.

I'm usually not this naughty. I am usually a picture of propriety, especially in public places.

Or not.
Soon enough, Madelina was on to our antics. But thankfully, my sister Jackie was completely oblivious.
Armando - don't you rat me out!

No, don't cry. I didn't mean to yell.
I've got to teach that boy how to be sneaky. At his age, I was the master of sneaky.
It came in handy a time or two.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Grrrl Time

After a somewhat unsettling week, I'm off to retreat with my women's group. It's funny how our retreats always seem to come at just the right time. Of course, it helps that we do it at least 3 times per year, so each one comes right as the magic from the last one starts to wear off. By the time the next one rolls around, I'm usually in dire need of a grrrl fix. Sometimes we have activities planned. Sometimes we don't. But one thing's for sure - our 'check-in' time always last for about a full day.

Invariably, one of us brings a load of stress to the gathering and is in need of some respite from life. One of us brings joy. One of us brings indecision. Another brings sadness. Whatever we come with, we know we are safe in our circle; to share, to cry, to process, or to spout. Sometimes we even get a rousing chant of "F*ck That Sh*t!" going when someone is feeling especially battered by life. (Dear Mom: I'm sorry. But it helps.)

(Dear Rob, it's a WOMEN'S group. Sorry honey, but shoo!)

I received a few bits of unsettling news this past weekend, so I'm more than ready to squirrel myself away and absorb some grrl power. None of the news, by itself, is earth-shattering. But I don't like feeling unsettled, and sometimes just knowing others are in pain - others who are close to me - is enough to send me into a tail-spin. Five bits of such news in a span of 5 days was a bit too rapid-fire for me.

Dear family and friends: Let's play a game called 'Good News Only,' OK? Thanks.

And so I'm off. I don't know what YOU are up to this weekend, but I hope that whatever it is, it feeds your soul. Or, at the very least, doesn't poke any holes into your thin skin.

I will be once again blessed to spend an entire weekend in the company of some of the finest women around.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Trail of Tears. Tears of Laughter, that is

I have a nifty little widget on my blog that tells me where my readers come from. Wait, that's not proper. Let's try again. I have a nifty little widget on my blog that tells me from where my readers come. Sounds stilted, yes, but it's proper. Less proper than 'from whence they come', but proper. You should practice proper grammar. And by you, I mean I.

Anyhoo, I don't pay much attention to the little widget, but on occasion something catches my eye and I hone in for a closer look. For example, one time I noticed people kept coming straight from
Sandra Dodd's website to mine. So I clicked on over and saw that Sandra had posted some things I'd written about unschooling as it applies to my marriage. Ah, mystery solved.

But the really fun part is finding out how people discover your blog by accident. Now, if I see that a person hops on over to my blog from a Google or Yahoo search, I am eager to see what phrase they used in their search. The results are fascinating and more often hysterical.

Please note: If you are of the mind that blogging is dangerous, that 'putting it out there' invites unwanted scrutiny or voyeurism, stop reading. Because you're right.

I've begun keeping a list. I don't keep track of the obvious or mundane ones, like searches for 'Wistful Wanderlust', or 'unschooling', or 'piscesgrrl', or 'that amazing and cool grrl who blogs', because, like, duh.

I do, however, keep track of the ones that I don't quite understand. Or the ones that make me laugh so hard I snort earl grey up my nose. Or the ones that creep me out just a little bit and make me wonder if, indeed, it isn't time to hang up the old blog.

Here are just a few of the searches that led to clicks on my blog.

Some demonstrate the versatility of my blog as a resource:

"omelette man Florida" - It's good to know I can connect my readers to the best omelette in Florida. Dear Don, (May I call you Don?) - I'll take my kickbacks via paypal.

"blue or green benjamin moore colors for bathroom paint" - where my blog was 4th on the list. Dear Ben, Re: kickbacks - See above.

"wanderlust myth – in Arabic" - apparently I'm being translated into several different languages. Wait, did that say myth...

Some show the softer side of my readers:

"blogspot + My Reverie + Ponderings of My Heart + Gal" - Awww. My reverie. Ponderings of My Heart. Somebody, please, slap me if I write things like that. And please don't call me Gal. Or I might call you Shut Up.

Some don't make much sense at all:
"sheikra sit on flip flops" - Sheikra no sit on flip flops

"80's movie magical heart necklace scientist" - I'm not even sure what to think about this. I just hope they found what they were looking for, because it sounds like they have serious issues.

And some made me snort coffee up my nose:

"enormous piles of poop" - Listen, I have two sons, a husband, a dog and a cat. 'Nuff said.

"caustic potash dance move" - Oh ya, I had the moves in the 80's. Still do, if you must know.

"laura endres" - Oh h*ll, they're on to me...

And then there are some that are just plain scary:

"hot girls unleashed" - Mom, I swear, I have no idea.

"homemade shoe box bomb" - It wasn't a real bomb, people. No, you cannot find bomb-making instructions on my blog. It was a handmade birthday card. Sheesh.

And last but not least, there's this:

"inhaling chicken manure" – where I rank 1st on the list.

Dear Mom: I do always aim to make you proud.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Patti, Palin, and Puke - Not Necessarily in that Order

I haven't posted in a while. Did you notice, dear readers reader? I'm still here. We're still unschooling. Life moves along even as the blog languishes.

Life in the cornfields is all well and fine; excepting that on my new diet I'm hungry all the freakin' time, my right ear hurts for some strange reason, and last night I was up at 1:00 a.m. cleaning dog puke and then again at 6am cleaning up the garbage spilled by the cat trying to GET to the dog puke. Welcome, piscesgrrl, to this week's edition of 'This is Your Life!'

On other notes, here's a bit of what we've been up to.

Brady celebrated his sixteenth birthday. As much as we hoped to mark this transition by getting him to sign a "refusal to grow a single day older" contract, he has chosen to fully embrace his newfound status by applying for a job and planning outings with friends to which he can drive himself.

Dear Mom: You're not helping matters with your whole 'wouldn't it be funny to get him a gas card for his birthday' thing.

I'm still on my doctor-prescribed diet on which I can eat nothing, nothing, and nothing with a side of vinegar-,yeast-, sugar-, dairy-, wheat- and fruit-free nothing.

Which means it was nothing short of sanity-saving to finally wash out this pan that once held Rob's choice for his birthday - homemade ice cream hot fudge with chocolate wafer crust dessert. Just looking at this photo makes me want to mainline some sugar.

Jonathan taught me how to play marbles. Right after we completed 9 chemistry experiments at the kitchen table, two of which involved marbles. (Yes way.)

Jonathan also dove into the bucket of pattern blocks I strewed and has been making and photographing cool designs for days now.

Oh, and there was this! Homecoming with Carissa, his grrlfriend. That was a fun time, especially considering Carissa's parents are some of our best friends. It was a lovely, sunny, crisp fall day. The 892 photos I took turned out fabulous. (Note: any resemblance to past outfits is entirely intentional.)

Oh, and I met Patti-freakin'-Digh! The book tour for her recently released Life is a Verb brought her to Madison, WI, just a hop skip and a jump from my little ol' cornfield. Since she selected my essay (had you heard?) as Day 1 on her blog count-down, I figured I'd pop in and see if I could accompany her on the rest of her tour. "Hi, I'm your Day 1!" is how I introduced myself after I arrived 30 minutes early so I'd have plenty of time to stalk talk to her before her presentation.

It was a real pleasure to meet Patti and listen to her share excerpts from her book. She has just the right combination of wisdom, humor, humility, and pluck.

And she spoke at this wonderful bookstore, A Room of One's Own, which takes me back to my college days when I was just a flaky, hard-partying, clueless wannabe feminist from the cornfields and the 80's me generation. Back then, I entered this store with a bit of trepidation, knowing the others who shopped there were so much more worldly than me. While they were reading up on the glass ceiling, women's reproductive rights, and new-age spirituality, I was just happy to make it through a physiology lecture with a hang-over. But I went there, on occasion, nonetheless.

Their window dressing was a "What Would Sarah Ban?" display. Priceless.

But back on the homefront, Rob and Brady installed stick-on vinyl flooring in the basement bathroom and utility room. And see that red wall? I managed to talk Rob out of a Green Bay Packer-themed green and gold basement by compromising on a Wisconsin Badgers-themed red wall. I like red. But when I go downstairs, it blinds me and I scream, "My eyes! My eyes!" It's RED, people.

Speaking of eyes, listening to Sarah Palin talk makes me want to jab the nearest sharp object into my eye.

How 'bout you? Or should we not get started...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Look Who's 16! I Think I Need to Lie Down.

I'm feeling a bit creaky in the joints today, my friends... Brady turns 16 today! However did this happen? I've been feeding him only bread and water for years now, trying to curb that pesky aging process, but it didn't do any good. He's a vibrant, happy, TALL teenager, and today, he crosses another threshold toward adulthood. I fear there's no going back now.

He'll be driving soon, so keep your eyes peeled for him! Should he pass your way, follow just behind him, see that he has safe passage for me. K?

Birthday wishes and "holy sh*t I can't believe you're 16" sentiments can be sent along to bradyendres(at)yahoo(dot)com, if'n you're so inclined.

Or, sing a raucous, off-key, extra-loud rendition of "Happy Birthday" on his VM if you're of the privileged few who know his #. We've been known to leave a few of those messages over the years...

As for me, I'm going to go crawl into the fetal position and ponder having 16 more babies so I'm never alone. Um, ya.

Happy Birthday Brady! We love you! And we're pretty darn smitten to have you as our son.