Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Real Man Knows How To Cry

Someone over there on that crazy party island got me thinking about my wedding day. The question was, "Did you cry on your wedding day?" and I was remembering that a few people shed a tear or two on the day of our nuptials, but that there was really only one person who let it all hang out.


This is me asking him if he is all right. I won't tell you why he was balling because it might embarrass him, but the time-out we had to take down at the dock for him to compose himself was one of my fondest memories of the day.

And I cannot tell a lie. He was not the only one balling that day.

But I was only crying because Paul Bunyan just finished off a pint of Chubby Hubby in one sitting and I was worried about how I was going to enable his Ben and Jerry's addiction for the rest of our lives.

It's turned out to be not as hard as I thought.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Can I Arrange This Marriage Please?

So, Claire has started her singing career this winter with a small group of kids who call themselves The Minor Key. She'll be auditioning for American Idol in a few years and then we'll be packing up the homestead and all the animals to find a small patch of land right outside of L.A. Or not. However, she's having a blast and singing her little head off whenever she gets a chance. Paul Bunyan has always wanted to be a singer, and considers himself a good singer despite the fact that he completely sucks at it. I know that I am so much better at most things, including wiping my own ass, than singing...so I'm not quite sure where she's gotten her sense of "tone". She did, however, inherit her wicked big under bite from me. I'll have to show you some photos of that at a later date. But for once this post isn't about me.

It's about HER:


video


I let you listen to all three girls sing so that you can see how far superior my daughter's voice is compared to the others. Just jokin'- sorta.

But really, what this group is for Claire is a way for her to gain some confidence and experience another little slice of life she might be missing because we're not church goers. There is no choir up here on the mountain, except for the choir the birds make up but we don't speaka their language. If you know what I'm talkin' about.

What this group is for me is an avenue for me to work my wily hands at the arrangement of my daughter to this young boy, whom we have known from our days at Bellwether. He and Claire used to be classmates. And soon they will be husband and wife. I know you think I'm crazy.


video

But he's so freekin' cute. And talented. And someday he's going to be over the top famous. And I'm just sayin'...the two of them could go to the moon!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The House That The Hussy Built

This is a pretty innocuous blog. I don't espouse my religious beliefs (well, I guess I sorta do by stating that we don't have any). I don't use this place as a soapbox for my political views, my thoughts on abortion, circumcision, or people who choose to pick their noses and eat their boogers. I'm not that funny, witty, or smart. I don't give you any tips on how to live your life better, how to cook better, how to smell better, how to knit better. Hell, I don't give you anything. I sometimes will write something that makes someone think, but generally what I do is write things as vague as the beginning of this sentence.

*if you're reading this blog for the very first time, know that I often put myself down and that I know self deprecation is not an appealing character trait but it's sort of all about self preservation and that I also know this house isn't that boring. I actually have a pretty interesting life, with very amazing friends attached. I hope you'll stay to find that out.

But it's been a year now that I've spent chipping away at our lives up here on the mountain- dissecting the good from the bad. I'd like to thank you all for coming back to see what we're up to and for sometimes participating and for...sometimes not. I'd like to particularly thank Char and someone who I know named anonymous, whose deposits into my mental bank are making the adventure here seem somewhat lucrative. And I'd like to thank her and Angie, who always tell me they love visiting. And to Mud, who gives me gentle nudges of encouragement, I appreciate you. And, of course, to my mother and father, I feel very lucky that you still call me yours.

I started this whole thing because of him (please read it world, because I didn't expect you to be here when I wrote it)
. And I still regret to this day that I don't have the energy, stamina, willpower to choose him over all the other daily goings on that make me have to sometimes choose them over him. And now it's a handshake or a general wave at each other as life swiftly rushes by. And I always dreamed it another way. I still dream it another way.

Paul Bunyan is often too busy doing all the things to make this homestead a better place to read my words. But someday he'll read this. Maybe when I've retired from this blog world, or worse yet from THE world.


But he'll remember the day I took this picture. I showed it to him on my camera and he said, "ack, not enough contrast." But I kept coming back to this image. I know if I knew anything about Photoshop I could add me some contrast into it, but I don't, so I won't. Instead, I added my own style of contrast...

So to Paul,
The color of dusk is ringing. Its bell is faint. But I think you can hear it if you relive the night you drove all the way to me.


I politely ask you as you
carefully sway in a dark breeze,
"Catch me."
"Give me the chance to touch the tips of you."
"Help me stay for a moment."
"I want to see down to your roots and recall
the unfledged way you kindled me
into your fire."
That's all I should need.
Until I'm blown again your way
and I can feel your fingertips
tickle my belly.
And, then, I'll laugh.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oh, Yes He Did.


This is all the ice that is left, except for the new ice forming down at the other end. But that's because it was in the 20's this morning. And tomorrow it's not supposed to get out of the 20's. So maybe there will be more ice. But for now...there wasn't any at this end of the dock.

And you know what that means. And you know you've been waiting to see this sight all year long. C'mon admit it. And you know what it will take to shake the images that will follow. But you now know that this is your warning. So if you look it's your fault.

I'm warning you- I've heard the geese returning North. I've seen the robins. I've heard the ground gurgling. I've got flowers poking through. I've picked up all the poop. I've put away the sleds. I've gotten a little tan on my face.


However, it is...officially Spring.





In its truest form.




Arriving with a big splash.



And a shrunken...well, you know what.



Happy Spring All.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oh, Yes We Did.

mmmhmm.



We gone and done it.



We on our way.



To being true homesteaders.



We'll see how far we get.



In this new adventure.



But hopefully their newness will wear away.




I'm certain it won't take long.




And then we'll have fresh eggs...free for the taking.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Why am I doing this?

Report Cards....sent home in backpacks last Friday.

Trimester 2. Complete.
Kindergarten (may I remind you)

4= Exceeds the Grade Level Expectation for this time of year.
3= Meets the Grade Level Expectation for this time of year.
2= Approaching the Grade Level Expectation for this time of year.
1= Skill is not Demonstrated.

Okay, thank the good lord we don't believe in that there weren't any 1's. Be grateful that there are mostly 3's on the computer printouts (remind me not to save these so that the boys don't have to look back and regret that they were ONLY meeting the Grade Level Expectation (and sometimes not) and never Exceeding at anything they ever did in Kindergarten).

Here is where we are "approaching" the expectations...

Auggie:

Student completes quality work independently: 2 (still only approaching grade level)
Student is an active listener and effectively participates in learning activities: 2 (still only approaching grade level)

Teacher comments: "Auggie is a good friend to all and has made many new friends in Kindergarten (read: Auggie likes to spank the girls in the class, because he's obsessed with butts and he sometimes kisses them on the lips). I often have to remind Auggie to use self control and to attend to the job he is working on. (Yes, because you ask him to sit all day long and he's 5 (FIVE) years old)"

Word Identification and Strategies- Student recognizes and names all upper and lowercase letters and can identify the primary sounds represented by most letters- Moving down from a 3 in the first Trimester, Auggie receives a 2 this trimester (still approaching grade level)

Teacher comments: "Auggie is getting extra help in reading 4 times a week for 30 minutes each session. (GREAT) Auggie is coming along really well in his reading skills. He has learned all the letters and their sounds (So why the fuck did he get a 2 on Word Identification and Strategies, when last trimester he got a 3?). Auggie is also recognizing many sight words and is excited about reading books. Keep up the work at home with his reading bags, he gets really excited when he can get new books to bring home".

Auggie got all 2's for his writing standards. His teacher writes, "Auggie is beginning to take risks in his writing and writing down the sounds that he hears. (nothin' like a good risk taker)"

Timmy:
Student completes quality work independently: 2
Student is an active listener and effectively participates in learning activities: 2
(Same as his younger brother- only approaching grade level expectations)

Teacher comments: "Timmy has made some good friends in Kindergarten. (Same as his younger brother) He gets very excited and has to learn to control his excitement. (Well, of course, because he's a f-ing kid, and also five, and also because you make him sit all day long) Timmy does work hard on the tasks that I ask him to complete. (Great, but he doesn't complete "quality" work independently. So, he must be completing shitty work)."

"Timmy is excited about the reading that he is doing. He is beginning to use the strategies that we have been working on. Timmy gets extra help 4 times a week for 30 minutes each time. (GREAT)"

Timmy also got all 2's on Writing Standards (Well, because he just learned how to hold a f-ing pencil).

"Timmy is really beginning to take risks in his writing (Just like his younger brother). He uses the knowledge that he has about letters and sounds and does a great job sounding words out. Timmy also challenges himself by sounding out words at any opportunity that he has. I would like to see him widen his interest in what he is writing about (Yea, because writing about Monster Trucks is sooo boring)."



I'd like to take this Monster Truck Auggie drew (exceptionally well, I might add) and crush all standards and expectations.



And I'd like to take this monster truck Timmy drew (exceptionally well, I might add) and crush the fact that even though my boys have made incredible strides in their independence and confidence, I'm being told that they're below the expectations put on them by the state.

And I'd like to get into a monster truck to feel like I could actually do something to change public education, or better yet, have the gumption to homeschool their asses, without fearing that I'm going to screw them up for life.

And I'd like to teach them how to build their own real monster trucks so that one day they can feel that they exceeded everybody's expectations because who would expect a 5 year old to be able to do that? And then Timmy wouldn't have to "learn to control his excitement" but rather, drive that sucker all over town. And maybe he could even have his monster truck jump up and down, which is what he does sometimes when he's excited.

I hate expectations.

**Mom, and to anyone else who might be offended, I'm sorry about all the swearing. I might be making an assumption, but I think that's how all monster truck driver's talk.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The House That Paul Built


The doors are open, left ajar even, and the wind enters making the dried mud swirl in the corners.




The smears from a winter's worth of smudge are more noticeable on the windows when the sun sets, later every day.




The favorite t-shirts are resurrected, replacing torn polar fleece. Ball caps return from the bottom of the bucket.




The evaporator is cleaned. And flushed. And rinsed again.




And the smiles, they seem brighter, more full with the longer days.




And it all just seems to come together, no matter the different ways we arrive at Spring.





The sweet steam favors the season. It just wouldn't work in summer.



And like bears wakening after their slumber, we saunter out to find who else might be alive and well.



The popping fire hides the sizzle the ground makes as snow melts in the background.




And the tasting begins.



It's the kind of sweetness that hurts the back of your jaw.



But you just can't resist having a little more.



The steam is mesmerizing.




So is the fact that we can make such sweet love out of the juice of trees.




Just with a little stoking of the fire.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy Poopsicle Day!!

It's Poopsicle Day on the Homestead today. It's a great day for poop. There are signs of Spring popping up everywhere. However, it's not officially Spring up here until Paul Bunyan jumps off the dock into the ice. He fell in yesterday up to his chest. But that doesn't count. Because he had all his clothes on. And he didn't choose to jump in. And he wasn't naked. And I didn't get a picture. So you will all know when it's Spring when you see his naked ass plunging through thin ice.

But for today, we're celebrating Poopsicle Day. It was a perfect start. The temperature was hovering right around the freezing mark. Not too cold. Not too warm. The sun was rising slowly over the ridge. Slowly is good. Poopsicle Day starts out with me picking up all the poop that the dogs have shat all winter long.

I'll show you how you can have your own Poopsicle Day.

First, you gotta have one of these:

She just turned 11 four days ago. But old dogs still poop. So there is always poop to pick up. The more dogs you have, the more poop you have to pick up. Easy math. I'm good at easy math. If I estimate...let's just say we haven't picked up poop for 120 days. That's two poops a day for two dogs. Which puts us at 480 pieces of crap...on the grass, which happened to have just presented herself after being covered with snow for the last four months. So I guess you need dog(s), winter, and snow to have your very own Poopsicle Day.


Now the idea of Poopsicle Day is very simple. You must work quickly to pick up your pieces of shit while they are still frozen. Mooshy, melted poops....BAD. Frozen poops, not thawed by the sun yet....GOOD. Easy. You should start in the part of the yard that gets hit by the sun first. And then work your way toward the side of the yard that get hits by the sun last. If you work efficiently, you should be able to pick up all you Poopsicles in one morning, before the sun has time to thaw those suckers.

I recommend one of these:

A bucket.


And one of these:

A rake. It doesn't have to be your child's rake, like this one is. But it just so happens that they don't know it's missing and if they do find out what I've been using it for, I'm pretty sure they won't want it back.


And this too:

Although this poop bucket is a luxury item, handed down to me from Paul Bunyan's alpacas, I really feel like it saves the back from the pain of the shovel.



So here is my technique:

I use the rake to rake the frozen poo patties into my poop container and then in the same manner a gourmet chef has when he/she flips her sauteing veggies in his/her fry pan, I flip back the poop into the back of the poop bucket. When the blue bucket is full, and almost spilling out, I empty it into the white bucket. When the white bucket gets full, I bring it to the woods and empty the white bucket into the woods. I emptied it three times today. And now I feel all refreshed, except that my forearms and wrists are a little sore. But that's a very small price to pay for a clean yard.

My children will do a dance in the dead grass today. Momma cleaned the poop off the yard! And Mom will do a dance because the shit won't come into the house on the spawn's boots. And that's what Poopsicle Day is all about...the poop and the dancing and the...I almost forgot! In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, when everyone and their mother drinks green beer, we'll be serving BROWN beer up here at the Homestead today. But today only. So, if you're in my neck of the woods come on by and we'll share some poop colored beer this afternoon, while we watch the spawn try to play some baseball. And then I can show you some of my poop flinging techniques.

on a side note: I'd like to thank my mother for giving me the best lessons in how to pick up frozen Poopsicles; she's really the one who taught me everything I know and I owe her all the credit.

on another side note: Lonetree's Miss Sydney, I know you just had your first seizure and that this might be a sign that it's the beginning of the end, but I have to let you know that I love how you've decided not to waver between being brown and black but that you've discovered being black and brown is okay, and I love that you have decided that it's okay to both pee like a girl and a boy and that you're comfortable with the decision to pee both ways. I hope 11, even though it might be the beginning of the end, is the best year of your life. Because sometimes beginnings can be wonderful.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spa for the Psyche

I've been whoring myself out lately, ya know because I'm a Hussy and all and because a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. The change bucket has gotta get filled somehow. But the whole selling one's body thing is a bit tough on the psyche. Paul Bunyan's sick of my persistent pout. And I have to admit I am to.

I had a little therapy this weekend. At the spa. Yea, no facial. No massage. No hot tub. I had a spa evening for the soul. Let me take you there...



You have to pass the familiar sight of blue tubing. Sweet juice flowing with gravity.




And duck under plastic pipes that cross over the road.



And do a little dance with the ruts...all in their infancy.




And see the welcome committee.




With their welcome banter.



And their welcome dances.



And their welcoming, beautiful, slobbery kisses.




And gentle nudges. One will never feel more welcome at another spa than at this one. Well, unless you hate dogs.




This is where the story in my head starts....with this view.



And she is sitting with me.



On a seat like this.




And we're looking at this, except that its painted pink by the setting sun.



But to get back to my spa night- I got to see some of these.



Even though it has a rat tail, it's still cute.



And this thing is usually running- even if it's not that cold out. To heat the soul- even if the soul is too cold to heat.




And the kids...they sorta get lost in the cracks and even though they rode up the hill with you, in your car, you sorta forget that you're there with them. This is super food for the psyche, like wheat grass is for the body.




And even though you might sorta want to forget what Paul Bunyan might look like with a mullet, you're not going to avoid it at the spa for the psyche. Nothing feeds the soul like a good laugh or a Lablatt Blue. Unless you like local beer, like I do, and then you don't touch that shit from Canada with a ten foot pole, or your husband for that matter, if he looks like this.



At the spa, you're surrounded by greatness.




And great love.




And great toe heads. Or straw heads.



And the tables around these parts are never empty for long.



Because a little Annie's Mac and Cheese...





goes a long way. Especially if you don't have to make it and you can just sit and watch someone else do the work.



And you can just curl up and do one of these.




Or snuggle with one of these snoring things.


Or just be, which is all I do at this spa.

And now I'm all rejuvenated and ready to hit the street corners and back alleyways again. But don't worry, there's no kissing involved. It's mostly just scanning. Town records. And mortgage statements. But it sorta sucks the soul right out of me. So, Mud? Whatja doin on Friday?