Thursday, April 30, 2009

Back in Time

I don't always feel like blogging. Today is one of those days. So was yesterday. But it occurred to me that it might be interesting to share some old posts, either 'best of' kinds of posts or posts that have special meaning.

Did you know I started blogging when my father died? I don't know what in tarnation spurred me to decide to blog about the mind-numbing pain I felt, but that's what started this whole shebang. I've come a long way, don't you think?

My first ever post -
Misty Morning Musings. (What can I say? I'm fond of alliteration.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Unschooling Story Hour

Once upon a time there was an audience, a group of people trying to listen to a man and a woman sing songs. The man and woman sang very beautiful songs and the audience members enjoyed their singing very much.

But there was also a group a children playing nearby, children of the audience members. The children weren't so interested in the man's songs. The children weren't so interested in the woman's songs. The children were tired after a long day and just wanted to play and have fun and be a little noisy, as children often want to do.

"Shhhh!" said an audience member, "We can't hear the singing!"

"Hush!" said another, "You need to be quiet!"

"Be quiet!" said another, "And sit still!"

One by one, the audience members, some of them parents of the noisy children, tried to quiet the children. They shushed them. They frowned at them. A few whispered to others nearby, "If those were MY kids, I'd punish them and make them be quiet."

"Those children should behave!" whispered another.

Nothing the audience members did quieted the children, who, rather than growing quiet, grew increasingly loud instead.

But before things got out of hand, before audience members had time to dream up too many punishments, before the man's songs and the woman's songs were drowned out entirely, something magical happened.

The singing man beckoned to the children. "Come forth," he said, "I need help with this song."

The children went forth. They didn't go quietly, and they didn't sit quietly, but they went. They clambered onto the stage and gathered at the singing man's feet and they waited to see what he wanted.

"Let's sing a song," said the singing man. And he began to sing.

And so they sang. They sang loudly, they sang quietly, but all of them sang quite enthusiastically, with arms swinging and feet tapping and mouths open as wide as mouths could open.

And the audience sat back and listened to their beautiful music.

The End

Pat Montgomery, homeschool advocate, founder of Clonlara, and one of my heroes, once said, "All you can really do for your children is model."

Today's unschooling question: Will you be the audience or will you be the singer?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I Have Purpose

Tonight my nephew, Armando, marched into our house and said to Rob, "Where's Laura? I'm hungry."

At least I know I'm needed for something around here.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Love and Marriage

17 years ago I decided to marry this bloke: 17 year later....
I'm still glad I did.

Reuniting with my Inner Activist

Busy today, dusting off the old protest signs. If you need me, all weekend I'll be here.

Story to follow, be sure of that.

Friday, April 24, 2009

You Can Kiss my Grass

Been feeling a bit sluggish, a bit off since my return from Florida. It didn't help that I returned to 40-degree, rainy weather after enjoying 80-degree sunny days down south. I also returned to find my lovely new wood floors but also a fine layer of sawdust over every square inch of my house - which translated into 14 hours of cleaning the first day back. And I always have trouble transitioning anyway.

And my right ear is plugged up. Just like last year.

But today it was delightfully warm - if a bit windy (and by windy I mean 'blow the furniture off the deck') - so I forced myself to get up and outside for a spell. Turns out I found some energy within and prepped a whole new garden. I've been visualizing a circular herb garden for some time so today, I made one.

Even though we're die-hard organic here, I admit it's a bit daunting to find weeds about to bloom - BLOOM! - in a garden in which I haven't even set foot yet this season. And with the winds we get, and the weed seeds we alone create on these here 5 acres, well - let's just say it's a constant battle to find the food among the sea of weeds.
Perhaps we should start a dandelion farm. Wait, we already have. Perhaps we should market ourselves as proprietors of organic dandelion greens. We could hang a shingle and run a "pick your own" biz. Hmm - something to consider.

Jonathan helps keep things in perspective by reminding me that dandelions are his favorite flower. No one can argue that when an entire swath of yard is in full bloom... it sure is pretty. It's the spindly, grow-an-inch-every-minute seed stalks that are less than appealing.
Good thing we don't live in the burbs.

I had my laptop on the kitchen counter today so it was handy for research as I prepped my herb garden bed. Turns out - and I've discovered this by accident - letting the grass grow long in the spring helps prevent the spread of crab grass and dandelions by shading them out. It looks a bit unruly, but then so does a yard full of weeds. As I researched the steps of permaculture and sought non-chemical solutions to some other dilemmas (don't ever - EVER - plant spearmint in your garden. EVER. Seriously. E-VER) I also found some delightful websites on all manner of sustainable living tips. I have quite the ambitious list of projects jotted on scratch paper, 95% of which will never come to fruition - but a grrrl can dream ambitious.

We used to have a sign in our lawn that read "You Can Kiss Our Grass - This lawn is chemical-free!" I loved that sign.

It got taken out by the wind.

I'm still sluggish, and my ear is still plugged - and achy, now that I think about it - but it felt oh-so-good to toil over clumps of sod again today.

And remember, if you ever come visit - you can kiss my grass.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

You Know You Ain't a Southerner When...

You know you're not a southerner when....
you go to a smoke house and order a BLT.

You know your son ain't a southerner when....
he says he wants a pair of cowboy boots with "spike balls" on the back.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Scenes from another Fantastic Florida Trip

Tomorrow is our last day in Florida. *sniff* Here's a peek at our vacation so far...
Lots of pool time - Jonathan is a fish.
Chatting up my new soon-to-be step-sister.

Not sure if it's the game or the size of the game pieces that's so frustrating.

Easter egg hunt.

Look familiar?

Visiting with cousins.

And reuniting with old friends.

Stone crab for a snack.

And a meet-up with Hulk Hogan. Yo, Hulk.

Jonathan loved seeing the Blues Brothers since he did a spoof of their routine for a play last year. (Wait - is that Broc Higgins?)

Rob is now on staff at Universal Studios.

Reunited with Keti - I miss her already.

Wonderworks with Keti and kids - rainy day substitution for Universal Studios Adventure park.

The kids hit it off famously. So glad!
Beach time. Boys surf. I seek shells.

I'm not going back to the cornfields.
Even my feet are happy here.
Building sand castles.
All is well. Life is very good indeed.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It Can't Be

It just can't be. It doesn't seem possible that here we are, in Florida, reunited 23 years after we hung out. 23 years. That's a long d*mn time. That's "don't ever say that again" long, according to Sarah, who comes to our Brady Bunch from "Mike's" side.

Posted by PicasaThis is my cousin Heather, whose life took a radically different turn from mine, considering she's a Capital One bigwig making lots of money and I'm, well, a stay-at-home unschooling mom making no money. Same roots, same cornfields, same experiences, wildly different outcomes. Fun, huh?

And that's Kasumi. Kasumi was the Japanese exchange student who stayed with Heather's family when Heather and I were high school sophomores. Kasumi was - and is - a hoot and a half and my memories are filled with all kinds of crazy stories like the time she told me on a ski trip that she was going to kick my *ss if I wasn't quiet so she could get to sleep. Naturally I egged her on, mostly because it was just so darn funny to hear her say, "I mean it, Lorla - I'm going to keek your ahss" over and over in her heavy Japanese accent. Or the time she insisted that scratching off the tops of my mosquito bites would make them stop itching and I actually let her do it and then walked around for 3 days with little bloody wounds that, now that I think about it, didn't itch anymore but looked like hell. Or the time we all went to a lake in northern Wisconsin on vacation together and Heather and I went to bed to find that Kasumi had decorated our pillows by propping them up on end, dressing them in our bras and panties, and placing tampons and maxi pads in various places.

I have many many more stories about Heather as well - hilarious, obnoxious, blackmail-ish stories that I won't tell lest word get out in the corporate world. Let's just say Heather can be loud. And sometimes barked out car windows. That's all I'm gonna say.

It was great fun to catch up today and catch up on each other's lives.

And now back to my favorite Florida activity: holding down that lawn chair.

Tomorrow, I might get a little crazy and hold down a pool raft.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Posting from Florida

As much as I'd love to write a new blog post, tell y'all what I'm up to, share some great Florida vacation stories, I just can't.

I'm too busy holding down a lawn chair.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Getting Ready to Blow this Coop

After a long few weeks of tending the farm (oh my aching joints) (oh I'm so full of manure), we're nearly ready to ease on down, ease on down the rooooad....

Sometimes prepping for a trip is high-anxiety. I rush around doing a million things a minute (slight exaggeration - more like a couple thousand per minute), worrying I'll never get it all done in time.

Then there are times like now - when everything seems to go smooth as silk, and I even have time left over to play board games with my kids, write a blog post, and send off a few thank you notes. I have no explanation for why this time is easier than others, especially since we had to move every lick of furniture out of our living room in preparation for the wood floors being installed while we're gone. And I ran out of progesterone cream which I thought was a certain precursor for a hellish trip prep. Not so. Go figure. (Update: All faces are intact.)

So today, I not only moved furniture....

I even had time to...
Rearrange furniture in my now-empty living room to see if I like something different.

Seriously - I had nothing but time, baby.

I had so much time, I was able to play 7 games of Mille Bornes with Jonathan, clean out the fridge, and visit with some friends. I even took my sweet old time doing my regularly scheduled pre-trip fashion show, where I try on every possible combination of this-top-with-those-pants and that-top-with-this-skirt and those-shoes-with-which-set and so on. I rarely buy new clothes, so you'd think I'd know which combos worked by now. But I forget.

It's actually a good excuse to go through piles of clothes and realize that if I say no over and over to a shirt, it can probably be added to the donation pile. But after the suitcases were packed, the food was laid out, and the maps were gathered, the most important pre-trip activity was completed.

Now, my friends, the vacation can begin.


Lookie who has a Twitter account. Because I just don't spend enough time, between Facebook and my blog, sharing pointless tidbits with you. Updates in my sidebar over there -->

So, anyone know how to use it? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Will be posting on our road trip to Florida. With this bunch, there are sure to be some newsworthy antics.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Commence Brady Bunch Experiment Part I

We're heading to Florida tomorrow to join up with my mom and her main squeeze betrothed. Mom rented the same house as last year and we're driving down to spend a week.

My (single, silly - but in a good way!) brother will be there.

So will my mom's fiance's daughter Sarah.

The others are staying far far away from this crazy experiment busy.

Looks like we'll be taking this Brady Bunch thing one future-step-sibling at a time. Sarah - you ready to jump into the new-family petri dish?

Sarah's bringing my kids' favorite snacks and sending football smack talk to Jonathan via Facebook. She's prepared.

Me? I'm listing all the things I should apologize for up front. Cohabitation is a risky business.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Uh Oh.

So I've got this hormone imbalance, right?

And I can keep it managed with a strict diet, supplement regimen, and progesterone, right?

And when I run out of progesterone for days at a time, the resulting hormonal hurricane makes me want to rip someone's face off, right?

Well, I ran out of progesterone.

And in 48 hours we leave for a 20-hour road trip.

(It's too bad, really... Rob has a really cute face.)

Scenes from Willow

In cleaning out some out-dated drafts in my blogger dashboard, I ran across this compilation of photos from the last Willow Folk Festival. Apparently, I forgot to post them. Here they are now.

Ok, ok, I'll post some Willow pictures already. We had a lovely time, as usual, with many of our favorite people.

I got to spend more time than usual with Kenz, who taught me to make peace wreaths out of Willow boughs.

Dan, Doug, Maria and Kenz sang beautifully.
While Carissa straightened Brady's hair.

I was initiated into the "nettle" club. (You can eat 'em!)

And this might be when Charlie, who's always draped with lovely grrrls, said to me, "I feel like throwing a cream pie at you" and I replied, "And you think that's a good idea, do you?" while Rob just laughed at Charlie's foolishness in messing with me...

Minstrels in white.

Our feet in matching tulsi anklets.
The kitchen goddess, Joan, worked her magic again.
And introduced homemade kombucha to our palettes.

The herbal blessing bowl at the garden's entrance.
The garden was spectacular as ever.
We actually camped this time.

And Rob got saucy in the kitchen with Sandy.
Who took saucy to a whole new level.
The kids spent hours playing circle games and talking.

And Maria dazzled us with a few solos.
The men held down the fort in the kitchen.
And Sandy got her very own musical blessing from Dan, Martha, and Pat.

Our favorite trio - Dan, Martha, and Pat - accompanied by Taylor on drums.
Sisters Heath sang a lovely duet.
And all the kids joined Dan for a chorus of songs. Love.This.

The teens hung out.
And so did the garden garlic.
And mother-daughter duo, Pat and Kenz, sang together - always so lovely.

Rob even gave kitchen work a go this year. Usually, he dare not tread in the kitchen. There is important, magical work going on in there.

Two of my dishes... herbed goat cheese and eggplant/red pepper spread on crostinis, and beets in a creamy cucumber yogurt sauce.
Oh summer.

All in all it was another lovely time.And we can't wait to do it all again next summer.