Thursday, February 25, 2010
Something about the stark bare branches against the sky, the snow clinging and balancing precariously
Monday, February 22, 2010
Here is what it looked like sometime in Aug or Sept of 2008 (I can't read that number there).
And here are some pics of Zac working on it. I am pretty sure I took some other pics along the way, but it's been soooo long - I think some of them are actually on film before we even got our digital cameras - and I can't find them. So oh well.
And yes, I will have to confess that Zac worked on it all by himself. I did not help. Well, I helped by supervising and taking care of the kids while he did it, which is something. But - I thought about it and came to a realization of why we didn't do more together on this big project. And the realization was this: Zac likes to learn new things by diving in and kind of figuring things out as he goes. I, on the other hand, like to get a book on the subject, read up on it and follow step-by-step directions on the entire process. There are pros and cons to both approaches, I am sure (for instance, let's not forget the time, ah-hem, that Zac killed my rose bush by pruning it at the wrong time of year without bothering to even Google it. hahaha. I do love him anyway). But. Anyway. I think when we first began this whole thing, Zac was getting frustrated with me because I kept pestering him to make sure he was doing things "right" - and I was getting irritated with him for just wanting to "learn by doing." So, I think it worked out best for both of us for me to step out of the room and let him just do his thing. We work together really well on most things, actually - but this particular time wasn't one of them. And, since I was nursing a baby when we first started the whole project, it made much more sense for him to be the one to do it (and nail-gunning into concrete pretty much terrified me).
Anyway, his brother helped him put in the electrical work. And, as you can tell, we hired someone to install the carpet. But other than that, Zac did all of the work all by himself. All. by. himself. And considering this is the very first time he has ever done any work of this kind, I think he did a really great job. It is a not a perfect "professional" job - but it works wonderfully and for the amount of money we saved in the process, I couldn't ask for more. :) It just took for-ev-er!! haha. But oh well.And here it is today! All done!! Here are the shelves I love:
This is a close-up of the carpet. Pretty isn't it? Well, we think so.
And the green paint didn't turn out exactly how I had expected - it's a little brighter than I had wanted - but I still like it. So, this will be Abigail's room until we finish the bathroom downstairs and then, eventually, it will be the boys' room (since it's the biggest of the bedrooms it makes sense for the boys to be sharing it. And with the 7 yr age difference between the girls, I feel like
it'd be better for them not to have to share , unless absolutely necessary).
So, HIP HIP HOORAY!!!! YAY for us!! (I will probably post more pics once we get her all moved in) :)
(now to move on to the other bedroom, and laundry room, and bathroom, and family room . . . yeaaaaah, right.)
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Here's what I read in Jan:
1. Lost - Gary Devon
This was the long "lost" (haha) book that I had jotted down in my old notebook of books read from high school, but could never find again. I only had the title and couldn't figure out which of the many "Lost" books was the one I had read. That is, until I began browsing through my old journals and found that I had made mention of this book I was reading, the title and author. Anyway, I bought it used with my trusty Swagbucks and reread it.
All I can really say about it is that it is not surprising that this is a book that I never really forgot. But not necessarily in a good way. I had only a very vague recollection of the story, the opening scene, for instance, never left me. But I really had no idea how truly horrible the story was. It is interesting to me as a study in mental illnesses. But it is brutal and harsh and tragic. I wouldn't really recommend it.
2. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
January was a month of some disappointing reads. This was another one. I have liked the other Hardy books I've read, but this one was just such an incredibly messed-up and twisted story, by the end you're not even quite sure if you are happy with how things turned out or not. There were some interesting themes to think about, but as I said in my Goodreads review, just not enough redemptive value for me to enjoy it much at all.
3. I am the Messenger - Markus Zusak
Another interesting but essentially disappointing read. And how this author's books have gotten pegged as Youth Fiction is absolutely beyond me. The Book Thief was a much better book, but still not exactly geared towards "youth" in my opinion. But this one, was much much worse in terms of language and sexual content. Nothing explicit, but not what I'd want my young pre-teen reading, for sure. Even the main character is a guy in his twenties, so it can't really be justified by saying that if the protagonist is young, the story is for young people. I don't know, I'm baffled by it. But my recommendation, in a nutshell, is to read The Book Thief instead, and just skip this one.
4. The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
Ah, now this is Youth Fantasy at it's best. I loved that it is based on real mythology and that it inspires readers to find out a little more about the myths and mythological characters - so you get a little real history thrown into the fantasy mix, which is fun. I also loved the sarcasm and style of the writing. Very good stuff. Happily recommending it to my kids - and anyone else. We are also anxiously waiting for the movie to get to the dollar theater where we will perhaps go see it. :)
This reminds me, though. The movies based on kids books are really a lot of fun. We enjoy them thoroughly. But - I have some deep-seated issues with turning all the good books into movies. Can't we just leave good literature alone sometimes? Just let it stand on it's own merit? Let us keep our own visualizations of characters and scenes, instead of waiting for the inevitable movie to come out?
Well, anyway, that's just a little pet peeve of mine. Moving on . . .
5. Fugitive Pieces - Anne Michaels
This was my 1001-Books-You-Must-Read-Before-You-Die book for Jan. It was a really hard book for me to rate because it was very unique in it's format. Sometimes I felt lost, sometimes bored, and yet sometimes enlightened, sometimes intrigued. Overall, I'd say that it wasn't the most enjoyable read for me. But then, it was filled with such beautiful writing and wonderful quotable tidbits that I wouldn't exactly say I didn't enjoy it. Complicated to be sure.
Here's a quote: "I listened to these dark shapes as if they were black spaces in music, a musician learning the silences of a piece. That my life could not be stored in language but only in silence." (p 111)
and another: "He asked endless questions to order his thoughts, leaving "why" to the last. But in my thinking, I started with the last question, the "why" he hoped would be answered by all the others. Therefore I began with failure and had nowhere to go." (p 118)
6. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint Exupery
This was another reread for me as the bookclub pick for Jan. I liked it better this time around than I did the first time I read it. It is interesting to me to think about what the author's intent might have been in writing a story. And whether we are reading too much into it, or taking it too much at face value. It could go either way. I've decided that I don't know if it matters too much, though. Just as with any art, it can mean whatever we want it to. Sometimes the power is in holding different meanings for different people, different times of life, different needs.
7. Paper Towns - John Green
This was probably my favorite of the books I read this month, with a precaution for some PG-13 content and language. But this story stuck with me and thoughts about it kept creeping up on me throughout my days, long after I finished it. One of the most interesting themes to me was that people are never what we remembered them to be or what we think them to be from our egocentric perspective. Combined with all my fun flashbacking in the month of jan, with journals, letters, music and photos, this was just a very poignant reminder. What we see is not what people really are, or not all of it anyway. And what we remember isn't really what was. Thinking about memories and people and events is just so interesting to me - and piecing together different perspectives of what is and was - putting things together and trying to find what is "real." Anyway - I've been contemplating writing more on this topic. I never did really get all my thoughts to make sense on it, as you can see. But I really enjoyed this book. Great story.
And that's it.
What have you been reading?? Have any thoughts on books (these or others) to share??
Looking forward to continuing this conversation next month . . .
Saturday, February 20, 2010
And I said "ok!"
For the record, I have been feeling better lately. As long as I try not to think too much. I've had some pretty good distractions. :)
And February is almost over! That, perhaps, is the best news of all. Because even though it is not at all unusual to get more snow in March, it is still just that much closer to the official end of winter. And I am really hoping for an early and long-lasting spring this year. Oh, please please please.
Have a nice weekend, everyone. :)
(Big Exciting News Coming on Monday!! Stay Tuned!)
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Just some blog things.
You see, I've been receiving some odd random anonymous comments lately, unfortunately. Nothing inappropriate, per se. But I don't like it.
So, I'm afraid I am going to have to activate the "comment moderation" option, where I will have to approve comments before they appear on the post. Sorry about that.
And, if that doesn't work, I may have to disable anonymous commenting altogether. Or even make you do the word verification thing. Ugh.
But for now, I think approving comments might do the trick. Any other suggestions, recommendations, preferences?? I'm not sure.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
This is a little person Samuel drew:
We played with our shadows:
Monday, February 15, 2010
They changed their topic a couple times and kept running into large and small obstacles.
But - once they worked out all those minor details, they did a great job together and ended up winning a school honorable mention!! Yippee! They even got medals with their names on them, which was pretty fun. :)
(their topic was whether weight would affect how fast a sled went down a hill)
So that made both of them very happy last week - and it makes me happy to see my kids happy, so that is my happy thought of the day. So proud of Abigail for all her hard work, and for how much she values her friendships, too. I'm not sure a lesser friendship would have survived the ups and downs of this project. Hahaha. :)
Friday, February 12, 2010
All I really want our love to do
is to bring out the best in me
and in you, too
- Joni Mitchell
can't conceal it . . .
don't you see?
can't you feel it?
I love you . . .
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do.
If you let me take your heart
I will prove to you
We will never be apart
if I'm part of you
- The Beatles
I'd ask you if you
to kiss you
a hundred times
- They Might Be Giants
No matter where you go
All romance belongs to the past,
not the present
- a past transfigured by imagined memory.
We are moulded and remoulded by those who have loved us, and though the love may pass, we are nevertheless their work, for good or ill.
- Francois Mauriac
I hope that you will think of me
in moments when you're happy
and you're smiling.
- John Denver
Rain and Sun for everyone, I finally
know that she's the one,
as sure as gold.
- The Ocean Blue
The entire sum of existence is the magic of being needed by just one person.
- Vil Putnam
The decision to have a child is to accept that your heart will forever walk about outside your body.
- Katharine Hadley
What do we live for if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?
- George Eliot
My heart is fixed
I cannot range
I like my choice
too well to change.
- from a decorative pot we had in the kitchen
How to handle a woman . . . ?
Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day, filled with love of all kinds.
And do you have any favorite love quotes?? Do share . . .
(all photos borrowed from Flickr)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
My sister Melissa and her boyfriend Chris were out here visiting from VA a few weeks ago. These pictures make me smile to remember how completely crazy and out of control my kids were while they were at my house.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I have been in a bit of a slump. A combination of February, when my daffodils are starting to peek up out of the dirt but springtime still feels impossibly far away, and some introspection and reflection that have left me feeling more exposed and vulnerable deep inside anyhow, and then some other events that seemed to have wounded a tender tender spot for me - and I have found myself struggling.
But I have felt that I need to make a more conscious effort to seek out my own solace. To look for the little things that bring me comfort and happiness and peace. Even if that is only in feeling understood. Or seeing something beautiful. Or simply accepting my own personal struggles. I am searching for these things right now. And I hope to share some of them with you as I find them.
I found one such thing this morning - not surprisingly, in another blog (one of my favorite things in life right now). This was a new find for me, discovered by a link on a different blog I read regularly - I love that! :)
It is called The Hermitage. This appealed to me at first glance because I have been severely tempted lately by the idea of becoming a hermit. I just want to be alone. For awhile. I want a warm and comfortable cave where I am safe and secure and protected. I don't trust myself to speak because my emotions are too close to the surface, too volatile, too raw. I want to be far far away, at least physically (although I might be able to handle virtual closeness, hehe).
She then begins this post with these words:
"THERE IS A KNOT in my heart made of old string, melting snow and hesitant birdsong.
I cannot tell you its tale, for it is far too sad. But I will tell you some things I have been thinking these last days of quiet... "
Something about that, the knot of old string, melting snow, and hesitant birdsong, felt so familiar and comforting to me. Comforting because I feel I am not alone. Beautiful in it's sadness, because I feel it too. I don't know if that even makes sense to anyone else but me. But you know, this is my blog, so I'll blog what I want to. :)
She then goes on with this line later in the post:
"I have agonised over how to write, how to be true and yet hidden."
That is truly an agony I have felt keenly. I try to write about the things of my heart here on my blog. It is painful for me to feel that I cannot share everything I would like. But circumstances close to home have caused me to have to restrain from discussing some things. It is just what has to be. But it is torture. I feel it is almost a dishonesty to have to ignore the things that are utmost in my mind and thoughts. I feel that being true to myself is the highest and most important task in my life. It is not often easy. But it has to also be tempered with some consideration and compassion for others. Some respect for my own privacy and necessary "hiding." Some obvious restraint and common sense. The balance between saying enough that there is some release of the internal pressure, without saying too much. Sometimes it is just easier said than done. For me, I guess.
And then finally she ends with this poem:
by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
I can't even explain why, but that struck me, too. This sharing and belonging and being part of our world. Our place "in the family of things."
I have needed to feel that.
So. That is what I am finding a bittersweet happiness in today. Maybe not even happiness. But a peace. A calm.
And be sure to click on the link to see the post for yourself, because the images and photos were also a huge part of what I found soothing (but I didn't feel like I should copy and paste them here). :)
I will be going back to visit The Hermitage often, because it seems to be a place where a part of me feels at home. At least right now.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Well, once again, last weekend we were given the fantastic opportunity to see a play at the Hale Centre Theater in SLC with my aunt, uncle, a few cousins and my mom. This one was The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. It was one of the funniest things I have seen in what feels to be a long long while. It was so wonderful to be there, laughing out loud and watching the reactions of other audience members (there were some in my line of sight that kept clapping their hands in glee at all the funny parts - I enjoyed them). And it was such a needed and welcome distraction from some of the drama in my life right now (the neighborhood scandal-thing). But that's all I'll say about that.
Anyway - the last night of performances for this play was last night, so unfortunately I cannot recommend that you go see it this time. But if you ever have another chance to see a good production of The Importance of Being Earnest, I'd suggest you do it. And that is my theater review for today. :)
Thanks again to my niece Chelsea for driving up from her college apt. to babysit for us. We are so incredibly grateful to everyone who made it possible for us to "go out."
(approx. 1 more year until Abigail will be official legal babysitting age and then I fully expect my life to change dramatically!!! Really. hahaha)
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Juicy Scandal (March 3 1993)
Throw it on the grill
and instantly it
every juice consumed
every word absorbed
watch it cook and brown,
changing rapidly in the heat
of the moment,
everyone wants some
everyone is hungry to take
out of the "big news"
but leave it awhile longer
let the flames die down
and grow cold
and all that is left
is the tough meat
of the matter,
the cold leftovers
that sit in truth
but not good enough
Thursday, February 4, 2010
First, I met with his kindergarten teacher last week (I think it was last week). She confirmed my suspicion that there isn't really a class that Samuel really "fits" in for first grade next year. So she basically told me she just doesn't know yet what placement will be best for him yet. Gee, thanks. I know that's really all she can tell me, but it is just so frustrating not being able to plan. If he goes to regular first grade in the public school (with whatever amount of resource help), then I will have kids in 2 schools (no more bus service for Samuel) and I will be driving in opposite directions back and forth at basically the same times. Hello?!?!?! Can we say "mommy is going to go insane?!?"
But, if he is going to get more help there, what can I do? If, however, they put him in a special class, then he will still get transportation services. So it would be kind of nice to know what to plan for. I could take my older kids out of the charter school and put them in public school - but then, I don't know if that would be best for them. Do I sacrifice the needs of one child to meet the needs of another without losing my own sanity?! I don't know.
And I know I will figure this out somehow. I have to, whether or not I ever actually feel confident about my decision or not. Every day ticks by, and at some point, we will just do what we feel is best and move forward with it. I know that. I just have to vent my dilemmas as I sort it all out in my brain. It helps me to put it all into words. So, there you go.
On Sunday, Samuel was asked to give the opening prayer in Primary. All the kids from age 3 and up meet together in primary and they take turns saying the prayer, reading a scripture, or giving a short talk. Samuel has not ever been asked to do anything, mostly I assume because of his speech issues. So I was glad for him to have this chance for the first time. He has started to say prayers at home (at last!) so we really hoped he would stand up there and say something intelligible and that it would be a good experience for him.
So, Zac walked him up to the podium and microphone and I stood in the back of the room to watch. Zac whispered words for him to say - but Samuel just started giggling into the microphone and shouting random loud sounds. My heart sank. I caught the eye of the Primary leader and she mouthed "it's okay" to me. But it was just hard. Most kids his age, even if they felt shy and reluctant to stand in front of a group, would recognize that it isn't appropriate to shout into the microphone when you're supposed to be praying. He just didn't seem to even be able to control his impulse to be silly with the mike. Sigh. He didn't say a single actual word. So Zac ended the prayer spoken softly by his side, and walked him back to his seat. Zac and I exchanged glances as we left the room to go back to our own classes, and I could tell he was thinking the same thing I was. I think we were both holding back tears.
I know that someday . . . someday . . . we will be holding back tears of surprise and joy when he accomplishes a goal that we had only hoped for but had not yet seen. But. We're not there yet.
Yesterday he had another visit with the audiologist and ENT Dr. They did another hearing test and he is still showing about a 20 DB hearing loss esp in his left ear. She looked in his ear and did a tympanogram which still showed negative pressure and ear drum dysfunction (something like that). It has been this way for about a year now and she has just kept us coming back every few months to see if it has improved. She has said that we could put tubes back in (again - for the 4th time) - but she is not sure if that will improve his hearing or not. And the dysfunction could cause permanent damage if that isn't fixed - but again, she isn't sure if we should do surgery again to try to fix that.
This time, she started to say we should schedule surgery. Then she changed her mind again. And she said for us to come back in 3 mos. But if we decide in the meantime that we just want to go ahead and do tubes again anyway, we can just call and schedule that at any time without coming in for another appt.
So - she left it up to us. And I just thought - how am I supposed to make a decision like that?!? If the Dr. is confused and unsure what to do, how am I supposed to know how to decide?!? I don't want it left up to me. I don't.
So I am just confused. That's about it.
Thanks for listening . . . :)