Thursday, January 31, 2013

How I Spend 100 Percent of My Time: No Blogging Edition

That's about the size of it.

Man, it's been too long since I made pie!

What's filling up your pie plate?


Friday, January 11, 2013

Varying Levels of Mastery

Just now, Hank came home from Kindergarten and announced that he had his report card. I looked over it and noted that he had high marks in each area of assessment, except he had just a 3 out of 4 in "Language and Vocabulary Acquisition." This is the child who, as he handed me the report card, said, "Prepare to be dazzled."

Somehow I feel that he will make himself understood in this world. Or that is my hope.

He is branching out all over. On Wednesday, he went to his first after-school meeting of the Lego Club. When I picked him up, he said, "I learned a lot about the history of Legos." I told him I was very interested to hear it. He told me that Legos were first invented in 1289. I allowed as how that seemed rather early to me, and he said, "Well, they were made of wood back then."

Yes, I suppose they would have been. Or carved out of bone by Vikings.

Lego Viking Series 7 with a twist

And speaking of wood.

At Laura's middle school, the kids rotate through a series of elective classes every nine weeks. Or "elective" isn't really the word, because they don't choose them, actually. Laura got to choose a year-long chorus class, and then the other classes could be PE or health or something else. I like this system, because I don't think kids really know what they like, necessarily, and they should just be made to try things.

So Monday she came home, having started a new quarter, and announced that she was enrolled in Woodshop. Y'all, the look on her face when she told me how the floor was covered ("just abolutely covered") with wood shavings. It made me think of the time we paid her to eat a pickle.  Anyway, back to woodshop, I was a bit mystified, because her schedule says "Engineering and Technology," and I figured this would be a computer lab. She said that the teacher presides over a computer lab and the woodshop, and told them that they would be spending most of their time in the shop. This will be interesting and new.


Her exposure to new areas of craft may have left her feeling extra venturesome. Yesterday I went to work out with Pretty Neighbor in the afternoon, and accidentally left the house locked up. I didn't know it was locked; I figured Laura would get off the bus, let herself in, and be waiting for me there.

When Hank and I arrived back home, sure enough, she was waiting inside. She said, "Where WERE YOU?" I was like, where am I ever? What's wrong? She goes, "You have to hear MY STORY." I was all, okay! What!

She told us that she'd come home, found the front door, back door, and basement door locked. I was like, "Yet here you stand, in the house, how did you get in?" She had gone down to a basement window, removed the window air-conditioning unit, and climbed right in.

That's how I found out that our house could be broken into by a preteen girl. Or really by anyone. I praised her resourcefulness, but wondered aloud why she didn't use her phone to call me. Or to come look for me at the only one or two places I could be. And that A/C unit is heavy! But okay.

Later she said, "I'm kind of glad that I got locked out. When I put my leg up over the windowsill and hopped in, I felt..." and then she trailed off and just made a kind of finger-waggling gesture, like, happy jazz hands.

A girl's first B&E is very special.

I hope your reentry to school and routine has opened some new vistas for you. xoxo

Friday, January 4, 2013

Moonshine and Magnolia

lj sylva
Her: "It'll be like Abbey Road but in Sylva."  Me: !!!
winter tree finder
Mountain house reading.

xmas party
Dolled up.

Happy New Year to you! And you. And to you, little blog.

We were up at the mountain house in western NC for the weekend leading up to New Year's Eve.  Man, the stuff the happens up there. It really is a different place.

One case in point: Mom and Dad returned from the little bookstore one afternoon and reported that they'd seen a guy--a kinda militia-looking dude with a crewcut and a Krav Maga t-shirt on--buying multiple copies of A Witches' Bible. He said they were gifts for the members of his coven, and that that night was a special celebration for them. Then he said the German name for it, which sounded to their ears like "Frauyellen," but I'm sure that's not how you spell it, and it meant that it was a night to "celebrate the women."

He said they were all going down to the lake, and that they would wash the women's feet by the light of the moon.

I actually thought that sounded delightful. I mean, probably chilly. But I just thought, there is stuff you could be into that makes way, WAY less sense to me than that. Like golf, or the Tea Party. Sure, he is not the person that I would have thought would be up in that, but carry on people. Carry right on, good mountain folk.


Another case: On the afternoon of New Year's Eve, Dad cozened Matt, my brother Dave, and me into going with him on his usual walk around the mountain. We've done this lots of times, and it's more for fitness than nature contemplation, as it involves about 50 minutes of briskly climbing steep hills. So, okay, but on this day he said he had added a section on a forest track that extended it to about three miles and just over an hour. We were game, so we set out.

A little ways in, we ran across some neighbors from down the way, friends of mom and dad's who may or may not have a small-batch home distillery for spiritous liquors. I cannot say for sure, in case there are any revenuers reading this, or perhaps Boss Hogg. We exchanged the pleasantries of the season and complimented him on a recent batch of his work that we had sampled. Then we went on our way again.

We headed into the new portion of the walk, and I kept saying, "I mean, where ARE we?" It was just parts of that mountain I ain't never seen before. There are just a handful of houses on the whole side of the mountain, but somehow this was like, really truly the back side of nowhere. And it also seemed like more than three miles. As we climbed a hill, me thinking we would crest it and see Shangri-la, who should reappear but the crafty neighbor, coming the other way. I was like, how did he get here? We left him way back there and, I don't know, is he a leprechaun?

He hailed us, we stopped, and he handed my dad a mason jar filled with almond liqueur that he'd made. He had gone home to fetch it and set out to meet us again. I still don't know exactly how he knew where we'd be, but probably leprechaun powers. But yeah, mason jar of hooch. That's some mountain hospitality. We opened it and all sampled it, and it did fortify us for the walk home.

Which turned out to be much longer than three miles, Dad having misundercalculated, and was in fact closer to eleventy-nine thousand miles. But it the walk hadn't been so long, we might not have come upon the mason jar of booze.


So we did that little hike and then the youngsters among us left our children with mom and dad and got gussied up and went to Asheville for some New Year's revelry, where I danced for two hours basically sober, then we saw the New Year in, and came home and hot tubbed the New Year in some more, and I went to bed and was awakened by Laura coming down with a stomach flu, which I then proceeded to get, and was sick in bed all of January 1 but it's all okay now.

And that's the rest of the story.

What are you up to? Did you have a nice Christmas? I bet you did. xoxox