Monday, October 31, 2005


Just had to share... :-)

Sunday, October 30, 2005


As we come upon Samhain, here are my two sweeties, working on our jack o' lanterns...

I love the spiritual side of this pagan holiday. I see it as a time to think deeply of those whom I have loved who are now on "the other side of the veil" - a time to think about life and death not as two separate entities or two states of being, but as a continuous journey. Those who have passed on certainly continue to live within me every day. I feel their influence, I feel their love. Here is a website that talks some about the pagan Samhain, and some of the misconceptions.

And the holiday Halloween, which is certainly modeled after Samhain, is just fun. What better way to face that which we fear than by making fun of it?

I'll be the first to admit that I really don't know many details about the pagan religion. But I do know that I feel I have much more in common with the pagan beliefs I've been exposed to at UU than I do with the christian tenets. Pagans revere the earth, revere nature, and so many of their holidays are centered around the cycles of the earth (seasons) and the cycles of life (birth, death). I love the connectedness there is with all of nature, all of the universe.

In any case, Happy Halloween, Happy Samhain, Happy living... Enjoy the candy and let yourself get good and scared. Boo.


Fall Ball is over!!! Hallelujah.
We are indeed a baseball family and my kids love the game (not to mention my husband who lives for baseball for most of the year). As a result, I do have a certain fondness for the game, but that doesn't stop me from celebrating the fact that I can now have a big portion of my life least until March, when the spring season starts.

Fall is all over me now. The leaves started turning for real, and it's finally cold. We've had a few fires in the fireplace. I love the way my kids take off their shirts and sit with their backs to the fire reading books for ages, while their backs warm up. Last night we crashed another subdivision's halloween party. *They* do it up right, with hot dogs, tons of food, adult and kid versions of cider, and a hay ride. My friend Terri took her three boys, my two kids, and the Jamies' two kids trick or treating, brave woman that she is. We ended up at the Jamies' house in front of their wood stove with a few glasses of sour cherry schnapps straight from Austria while the kids did their trading and sorting of candy. (By the way, my Erin traded off several kit-kats for bags of pretzels. What is up with THAT?)

The trouble is, we will do trick or treating again on Monday night in our neighborhood. I am beginning to dream of mountains of candy smothering my children. I usually end up tossing out halloween candy after a few weeks, but my kids are beginning to catch on. Bleah. It's fun to be a kid on Halloween. E is Hermoine from Harry Potter, and she's a perfect one. Not only does her hair look right, but she's got that know it all attitude down pat. Q is an accident victim, which is rather perfect for a 9 year old boy. He covers himself with fake scar stickers, has a totally ripped up shirt, and DH colors bruises all over his face and neck with face paint. Last night was really cold, but real Halloween should be perfect - in the 60s or so.

We're skipping UU this morning. I need a day off badly. My life has run away from me. Any mom knows this feeling I'm sure. I keep finding myself at the end of the day collapsed in front of the TV wondering what was really accomplished. Yet, at the same time, I feel totally fulfilled. Odd combination, and I'm not sure I'm explaining it right. As an example, here was my weekend. Friday morning, after racing and yelling to get my kids dressed, fed, armed with lunches and signed planners with homework in the appropriate folders, I ran back home from the bus stop to dry my hair, throw on work-out clothes, pack up a change of clothes, oh yes, remember to grab the gift books I bought at the book fair for teachers and a sweatshirt for E...(deep breath in the middle of this never-ending sentence), and sped off the the rec center for my aerobics class. Left aerobics 5 minutes early to throw on good clothes and speed over to the school to chaperone E's field trip to the pumpkin patch. (and by the way, hats off to E's teacher who is apparently very good with um... high energy and spirited kids because the principal FILLED her class with them. O. M. G. I was exhausted). After field trip (which, by the way I went lunchless on, as I forgot to pack my own lunch with the kids), I raced off to the Outlet Mall and the evil WalMart (which I normally boycott but some days it's just too damned convenient) to buy gifts for a baby shower and leotards for E for her gymnastics class. Rushed home to count 4K in money from the PTA fundraiser, grabbed the kids off the bus at the bus stop, threw Q into his baseball uniform, and grabbed hamburgers from Sonic on the way to Q's next-to-last baseball game. After the game, came home, threw the kids into baths and bed, and fell asleep on the couch in front of some weird movie called "The Spring". And Friday is my day off. I won't go into the timeline, but Saturday included a baby shower, another baseball game with end-of-season pizza party, gymnastics for two, and the crashing of Riverview's Halloween party, described earlier.

So hell yes, I'm skipping church today.

Mare, I will include a description of my darling daughter's interaction with Greg the neighbor at the bus stop in my next post.

As for now, I've got my coffee, John is reading the paper, the kids are quiet doing something (I'm trying not to worry), and I am going to WALK SLOWLY throughout the house and not run, speed, dash, or throw anything.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

graves mountain

What a nice day. Truly.

We made our annual trek up to the Apple Harvest Festival, in the Blue Ridge today, near Syria - which is in Madsion County, but not the same Madison County as the Bridges Of... fame. This is rapidly becoming my favorite fall tradition. We end up with nice weather every year, with blue blue blue skies and cool temperatures. It's up on a mountainside, where we munch on Brunswick stew, apple butter and cornbread, served with live Bluegrass music, all under the shade of trees by a happy stream where the kids love to skip stones. There are Pony rides for the kids, a hay ride, an awesome and confusing hay maze, and a mountain of hay to jump in, all of which leave the kids totally filthy dusty with hay, and totally exhausted. I bought a half bushel of apples - all kinds, and we bought our nice fat Halloween pumpkins on the roadside on the way home. Here are some pictures:

This is Q on the hay mountain. He was good at finding the best places to jump, and was a pro at spectacular falls.

E on her horse "Willy." It's a pretty lame ride, twice around a corral, but the kids EAT IT UP.

Happy children on the hayride, which takes us up on the mountainside through the apple orchards.

The kids in the newest gap ad.

It's also been a rough weekend. Callias had more seizures on Friday. I took her to the vet Friday afternoon and begged him to put her back on steroids, but permanently. Luckily, I had the "good" vet, and he listened and agreed. Honestly, why is the evil vet so concerned about long term side effects when she's a 15 year old dog? She has no long term left. It makes no sense. But anyway, she started steroids again Friday. They hadn't kicked in Friday night, however, and she had another major seizure at 1 am. Horrible. Awful. If you've never seen a dog having a seizure, don't wish it on yourself. I won't describe it. She spent the rest of the night stumbling through the house (her back legs weren't working well), tracing out a path. I think her eyesight left her, because it was like she was memorizing steps. She'd get off track every few laps, and I'd have to rescue her from being stuck from under furniture or in toyboxes. The steroids seemed to kick in Saturday afternoon, though, and she's mostly back to normal. From what I read, most of these tumors occur in a place that affects the sense of smell, and I see that with Callias. She's always been a scavenger, but now, she's almost unbearable. She walks around with her nose in EVERYTHING, under my feet, in the kids faces, everywhere. Snuffle snuffle snuffle, chomp chomp chomp.
I've told her goodbye 3 times now. This is indeed a rollercoaster. Bleah. And since she's permanently on steroids, this is probably the last round. Once the tumor overcomes the help from the predisone, that's likely going to be it. But hey, she's back with me for another round.
Here's a picture of my #1 baby:

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

little tiny world

I went out to dinner tonight with a mom's group. I really only know one of the moms well, but it's fun to meet new people and enjoy a nice meal. Dinner was at a local grill on a reservoir - a little restaurant out on the banks of a river in rural SE US. So there I am enjoying my Merlot and Veal Monte Carlo and chatting with the ladies about racism. "Well..." I say, interjecting myself..."I grew up in a little town in southeast Texas that was all white, with a little town just down the road all black, and the KKK would hold meetings at our county park." "Oh", says a lady down the table. "I lived in a little town like that in Texas where the KKK was active! It was a whole 'nother world. It was called Santa Fe". (Which, as those who know me, is indeed my hometown.) We lived there at different times, but we chatted about the Busy Bee and Red Cap and such. How odd to find someone sitting at my table, who lived in Santa Fe.

A couple of comments about Santa Fe and racism and the article I'm linking to. I love Santa Fe because it is my hometown. I love the people I knew there - my family, my friends, my teachers... When I call it racist, I of course am speaking of it as its own entity, which is not necessarily the same as the individual parts. I never personally saw direct racism there, at least not that I can remember. But it is very insular, very homogeneous, and I was only exposed to the inner safe haven there, you know? That's the *point* of separate yourselves. Looking back now, I understand that it's not by chance that the town had like one black family living there, while Hitchcock, a couple of miles down Highway 6 was the racial mirror image (duh). Those things don't accidentally happen. A large part of racism is unspoken. But the individuals I knew then, and know now, are really good people. It's uncomfortable for me to look back at the culture of Santa Fe and see it in the daylight and know this is my heritage. I'm enjoying this thought progression and will have to devote an entry to it one day soon. But in the meantime...

...I digress. That's not the end of my story. To recap, I am in a little tiny restaurant out here in SE US and meet someone who lived in the same town I did in Texas, about 1500 miles away. And then...

The conversation continued and the lady next to me said "Well my parents just bought a place in Texas to retire to near Lake Livingston." My ears perk up, since, well, that's where my parents bought a lot to retire to, and currently live. "Wow," I say. "My parents live up there in Trinity". She looks at me strangely - "Yeah, that's it...Wildwood something?" "Westwood Shores?" I ask. "Yes," she says.

So what are the odds of all *that*?

It's a big world out there, and when it shrinks around you like that, it's kind of freaky but kind of comforting. These threads of commonality - of shared interests and backgrounds are just floating all around us, mostly unseen. It's good to know they're there.

welcome rain

It's been raining here for the last several days and it's like a reprieve for me. The kids' baseball games are cancelled on those days so suddenly, we have evenings at home to ourselves again. Apart from that, I have always loved rainy days. I like the darkened skies, cooler temperatures, and the drumming of the raindrops on the roof. It's a reminder to myself to s.l.o.w. d.o.w.n. and just ... be. I remember when I was a kid, my absolute favorite weather was just before a storm came. It gets ominously dark, the wind picks up, and there's just something in the air that promises you something big is coming.

Anyway, weather is on my mind in many ways. I promised Q's teacher that I'd teach a lesson to the 4th graders on weather, so now I'm regretting that. What to say? What to do? I have my trusty video tape of a year's worth of satellite photos of cloud patterns. In a loop, it's amazing to watch. But I've used that one before with some of the kids. I'd love to do a nifty experiment with them, but my fear is it would totally flop. Look at me...all worked up over talking in front of a bunch of 9 and 10 year olds. How pathetic.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

my beautiful rut

I woke up this morning and couldn't remember where or who I was. Really. You know the fog that sometimes covers your brain when you're fresh awake? Normally it only takes a second or two to burn off, but this morning I swear I sat there for a full minute trying to remember the last several decades of my life. Imagine my surprise (and disappointment?) when I realized I'm so horribly normal, so average, so married with 2.5 (ok, honestly, it's just 2) children, a dog, a cat, an upper-middle income, a house, a position with the PTA and stuff I do at my church. Two TVs, a minivan, kids that play baseball and chess... I'm quite happy. I really am. But - BOR-RING. Uninteresting. Pasta without peppers. Zestless.

Anyway, heavy stuff to wake up to on a Sunday morning.

I haven't written in a while... Rita has come and gone since then. My dad's hometown (Kirbyville - 30 miles north of Beaumont, TX) and, more significantly, my grandmother and several aunts, uncles and cousins, were all directly affected. The storm leveled the town and took out all the bountiful east Texas trees around there. All people are fine and houses are fine, though. My grandmother is living with mom and dad until the town is back operational. So then, a friend in southern California evacuated her home because of the out-of-control fires, and yesterday in Pakistan, something like what - 20 thousand people died in the earthquake? I think the soul of Gaia earth is angry. She deserves to be, since we are essentially raping her.

On a more local level, I helped with our school's fall carnival on Friday. Good lord. I have never been so tired in my entire life, and that includes the double all-nighter I had to pull in college during my PhD qualifiers. This area has suffered a drought, for something like all summer, and it picked the day of our fall carnival to rain. (Gaia earth is mad, I told you). So we moved the whole thing inside, which was fine other than the noise and heat and the noise and heat and the noise. The kids had a blast. We made lots of money that we can feed right back into the school. But I killed my feet - I think I gave myself shin splints from running around for 12 hours in my cute little boots. I looked good, yeah hey, but now I'm hobbling around in constant pain.

I also got sick, finally. I knew it was only a matter of time since I've gone nuts with trying to prove I'm superhuman and can do it all. I actually didn't feel all that bad at first, but I totally lost my voice for two days. Now that's something fun. It's comical how so many people whisper back to you when you whisper at them. And Q was so sweet. He was very worried about me and kept patting me on the back and asking if I was OK.

So in my blog-absence, my life has continued along happily through the well-worn rut. I will give myself this, though. I am enjoying my rut. I occasionally stop and watch my children in all their innocence and with all their potential, I see my rock of a husband, I look up at the stars and try to see their color, and I try to let the fall season really seep in through my pores. I remember to try to get high on air and sun. So though my rut is a rut, it is well-loved.