Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Noiseless Patient Spider

Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Leaves of Grass.  1900.

208. A Noiseless Patient Spider

A NOISELESS, patient spider, 
I mark’d, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated; 
Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding, 
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself; 
Ever unreeling them—ever tirelessly speeding them.         5
And you, O my Soul, where you stand, 
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space, 
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,—seeking the spheres, to connect them; 
Till the bridge you will need, be form’d—till the ductile anchor hold; 
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.   

Found here: http://www.bartleby.com/142/208.html

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

If You Give Hamish Some Milk

If Hamish wakes up at 6 am, he'll want to climb into bed with you.
Once he's there he'll ask for some milk.
You'll have to make him up a sippy cup.
Then he will want crackers.
If you get him some crackers, he'll quietly lay down in bed with you...for about 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds he'll stare off blankly into space and say, "Cacar? Cacar? Cacar?" despite his bowl of crackers being right there for crying out loud.
If you finally break down and place a cracker in his hand, he'll say, "Taaaaaank oooooo." in such an adorable manner that you will immediately forgive him for being up at 6 am.
He will pop the cracker in his mouth and absentmindedly gum it for a minute.
Once he's finished his cracker he will want his stuffed Darth Vader.
You will have to find it.
He will snuggle right down with his Vader doll, happy as a clam...for about 30 seconds.
After which he will start shaking his sippy cup over your head while making a "gulp gulp gulp" noise
Once you've cleaned milk droplets out of your hair Hamish will turn to his sleeping father and try to shove an animal cracker in his mouth.
Then he will probably drive a toy car all over the headboard. 
And go, "brrrmm, brrrmm".
Maybe, if you are very lucky, he will eventually lay down and start talking to himself.
He may even sing.
And if he sings long enough he may actually drift off to sleep.
As will you.
Until 6:30 when he decides laying in bed is for suckers.
Then he will smack you in the face until you wake up and make him breakfast.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

And the results are in!


 Here are a couple of pre-Paleo photos of me. 
Both of these were taken December 2012, about a month after I had Hamish.  Wasn't I gorgeous? So voluptuous and talk about snuggly!  Everyone wanted to rest their weary heads on that bosom.  Though I must admit I enjoy not carrying so much extra weight around with me now-a-days.
PS - Didn't my hair look great in this bottom picture?

Some of you have asked how I liked eating Paleo this last year.  I must say, I really, really liked it.  I eliminated certain things from my diet, namely processed food, anything artificial (dyes, sweeteners, preservatives, etc), wheat, and sugar.  I also cut WAY back on other things: legumes, dairy, grains, and starches. By doing this I discovered sugar and wheat have a strong adverse effect on my energy levels and mood.  When I eat wheat and sugar I'm sluggish (mentally and physically), irritable, and moody.  I've also discovered a direct negative link between my dairy consumption and my complexion.  So next time you notice my face looks like that of a teenage fast food worker, it's all milk's fault.

I didn't just cut out a bunch of bad foods, I also ate more good stuff.  I eat tons of veggies, fruits, nuts, berries, and yes, meat.  Though not as much as you'd think.  I probably eat as much meat as I did pre-Paleo, but all the grains and starches I used to eat are replaced by vegetables.   Spaghetti is replaced by spaghetti squash, rice by cauliflower rice, potatoes by sweet potatoes or mashed cauliflower, pasta in lasagna by zucchini or eggplant.  And I didn't just change a bunch of my normal recipes to Paleo versions of the same.  I found some amazing Paleo recipes that were just, Paleo.  I've discovered Paleo food tends to be more flavorful because it doesn't rely on butter, sugar, and empty carbs. The flavor comes from the seasonings, the fresh veggies, and overall awesomeness.  If you've never tried Paleo before, you must check out Nom Nom Paleo.  The blogger is a total foodie and you can really tell in her recipes.  Spoiler Alert: Her food is AMAZING.

 Here's me from about 6 weeks ago.  I can do more yoga poses now!  Go me!

I think if this challenge has taught me anything, it's that I'm Paleo for life.  I have no desire to go back to the exhausted, cranky, foggy-brained person I once was.  So if you know of anyone who wants to buy a used bread machine or toaster, please let me know.  They're just taking up space.

Mission Completion!

Ten days ago I started wondering when my EHOPD Challenge ended.  I never memorized the end date, you see.  It was such a long challenge, and the ending was so far away, that I didn't see the point of counting down the days.  It was just there in the distance, a rather hazy dream more than reality.  I had wondered, in a rather vague sort of way, about the end date a few times before, but the thought always passed into the ether before I ever acted on it.  But this time my phone was nearby and it was just a matter of a few taps of the screen to find that old blog post, the one that started it all.  I skimmed down to the dates.  "...between May 13th, 2013 and May 13th, 2014"

I gaped.

And gaped some more.

My challenge ended the next day.

As in, mere hours away.

As in, I did it.


That's right, folks, EHOPD Challenge 2013-2014 is complete!  I am crazy excited about this.  I really did it!  YAY me!

The next day I kept going back and forth between wanting to eat all the previously forbidden foods, and most definitely not wanting to eat them.  I wanted to because, you know, FORBIDDEN!  But most of those foods just don't appeal to me anymore.  99% of candy looks like brightly colored pieces of plastic and rubber. Skittles?  Twizzlers?  Laffy Taffy?  Yuck.
Soda appeals to me about as much as a glass of burning, fizzy chemicals.
Cheeseburgers?  Meh. Okay, perhaps a Hawaiian burger from JCWs, but they don't have those here.
Pizza?  I could take it or leave it.
Doughnuts?  Ok, doughnuts still sound good.

Of the foods that are still appetizing, not many of them will live up to my expectations.  Last week Whig brought me home an apple fritter.  And you know what?  It was not melt-in-your-mouth delicious.  It was not a little slice of heaven.  It was a little stale and much, much too sweet. 
So yeah, I don't think I'll go on a binge now that I'm free to do so.  For one thing I'm pretty sure a binge would make me monumentally ill.  For another, it just wouldn't be worth it.  That apple fritter was not worth the massive sugar crash afterward, or the headache I had that entire day.  Crap food just doesn't cut it for me any more.

But then again...forbidden.

So, we'll see.  I may need to do the challenge again.  Only this time I think I'll make it even more challenging.  Maybe no once-a-month cheats.  Like I said, we'll see.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Catching Up

Fair warning: I don't have any coherent blog post here, guys.  Just a collection of random thoughts as they enter my head.

Texas is trying to kill me.  Not just me, my whole family, in fact.  We have never gotten sick as often as we have this winter.  Flu, stomach bugs, the black plague, you name it, we got it.  This past week was probably the worst of it.  Whig took the week off -not because we were planning a vacation or anything, just to get some odds and ends done and maybe sleep in a day or two.  But instead of accomplishing his grandiose plans, he spent the week either nursing us back to health, or being sick himself.  And now that it's Sunday he's finally starting to get back to normal.  Just in time to go to work in the morning.  Poor man.


I think I would rather give a speech in my birthday suit than play the piano in church.  It's seriously sooooo stressful for me.  I played the piano in Relief Society today and it nearly killed me.  I don't know why but I am TERRIFIED the entire time I'm playing.  Take today for instance.  I was anxious all during church, dreading that third hour.  Then when it was time to play I could barely breathe I was so scared.  My hands were sweating and clammy, so my fingers alternately stuck to and slid off of the keys.  I hit some of the keys too hard, some to soft, making the music sound off.  Then there were the keys I just got plain wrong.  And any time I mess up it really throws me off because I want to go back and correct myself, but I can't because everyone else is still singing and oh crap I lost my place!  Where am I? What are all these black dots and lines swirling around the page?! Um, um, um...oh, here I am.  Ok, start playing again...right hand...now both hands.  Phew!  Keep going...keep going...don't mess up, don't mess up...
Aaaannnndddd rinse and repeat.  It's a miracle I didn't give myself a heart attack.  The good news is it's not a calling, just a subsitute gig.  Bad news is I have to sub next week too.  Cue the panic attack.
But really, I'm kinda glad I'm doing this.  It's crazy terrifying, but it's a great chance for my kids to see me do something that's really hard and scary.  Also it forces me to practice, which I have been sadly neglecting to do the past...ever.  So, yay for hard things!


I started our garden!  I'm very excited about it, though man! it's a lot of work.  First, I tilled the ground.  Then the kids and I attached two additional feet of fencing along the top of our current fence so the chickens can't fly over.  We also stretched a 5 ft tall fence across half the back yard to keep the garden half separate from the regular half.  Then we raked up rows, mounds, and grow boxes (only without the actual boxes). Next we mixed in composted chicken poop and peat moss. Then came the landscape tarp thingies to keep weeds from taking over the aisles,and the irrigation system to, well, irrigate.  Finally, we planted the seeds. Though, to be honest, we haven't gotten to that part yet.  Getting sick last week threw a wrench in my plans.  We should (fingers crossed) be able to finish it all tomorrow.
It's been loads of work, but I find it so darn satisfying.  I always have loved outdoor chores more than indoor ones.  No, that's not true. As a kid I hated gardening.  I thought my parents were the meanest people EVER for making me do things like rake and pull weeds and kill squash bugs.  But now I find it all very rewarding.  (Ok, not the killing squash bugs part.  That's still groady.)  Hopefully I can instill some of that love of work in my children.


I have been reading some amazing books lately, which I really want to talk about here, but it is getting late and I'm going to call it a night, though maybe I can keep going just a little bit longer, just for the sake of this atrocious run-on sentence.

Till next time, fair minions.  May your days be filled with rewarding work and terrifying challenges that make you grow, though hopefully none that include vomit.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Digging (Life by Design, Part 1)

Aurita was only in my life a short time.  She was an old Army buddy of my husband's and since she needed a couch to crash on, and he lived nearby, she called.  He happened to be out of town that day, so he gave her my number.  I said yes, of course you can come over, though in reality I was quite hesitant because I had never met her before and am shy around new people.  Aurita showed up an hour later.  Turns out she had flown in to SLC from Alaska late the night before.  Wired from her long flight, she opted to go salsa dancing instead of getting a hotel room for the night.  Now it was morning and all she needed was a few hours sleep before driving down to St. George.  See, she was going to attend a three month long survivalist school -the kind where you learn to live off the land.  Aurita had won a scholarship, so tuition, which normally ran in the thousands, was free.  It was probably her essay that got her the free ride, she speculated.  She wrote about her past in Army intelligence.  She made good money, had plenty of job security, but she wasn't doing what she wanted in life.  So when her time was up, Aurita got out and moved to Alaska.  She worked as a rafting guide.  She didn't make much money, but she was happy doing something she loved.

Three years ago Aurita slept on my couch for a few hours, ate spaghetti with me and my kids, and left.   I've never seen her again, and I've never forgotten her.  Because to me, there is something unbelievably inspiring about a person living their life by design.  Instead of going with the flow, and letting life take her where it would, Aurita decided to ditch the safe path, the easy path, and forge one of her own. 

I am an extremely visual person, so when I think of Aurita and people like her, I envision a river.  We're all of us out on the water in canoes and rafts.  We have paddles, so we can steer right or left, and go faster or slower.  But in the end, we're all at the mercy of the river.  We follow it's path.  But there are some people who say, "Screw this! I'm digging my own river!" So they paddle over to the bank, jump into the shallows, and start digging a channel.  It's backbreaking, muddy work.  It's scary, because they don't really know where this new river will lead.  But they dig.  And dig. And dig.  And eventually, their ditch fills with water and they paddle down it.  Sometimes this channel leads to a dead end.  Sometimes it leads to crocodiles.  But sometimes it opens up into a brand new river that is headed exactly where they always wanted to go.  It's filled with people like them -people living their life by design.

That's what I want.  I want to create my own river, forge my own path.  And you know what?  I've already started.  I know where I want my life to go. I've even paddled my canoe over to the embankment and jumped out.  Now I just need to start digging.  It's going to be a thankless, tedious task.  I will need to dig every day for months and weeks and years, but the end result will be the life I've crafted, the life I want.

And guys?  There are shovels everywhere, just waiting to be picked up.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

This Cold House

I love our new house.  Well, new-to-us house.  It want to say it was built in the 70s.  It's sooooo much bigger than our last place (almost three times bigger, now that you mention it), and it has that random charm that you often find in older, added-onto homes.  I've always said that I love living in older homes, but I would not like owning an older home.  They are just too much maintenance.  I want a brand-new home that feels old.  All the convenience and efficiency of a new home, with the character and charm of an old one.
Anyway, our new place.  Since it's so big and parts of it are insulatedly-challenged, we've had to be a bit creative with our heat usage.  We live out in the country and our heat is propane, which can get pricey.  We also have two furnaces and two water heaters for the house -which can also get pricey.  So to try to save money, here are five things what we do:

1. One furnace heats the master bedroom and the living room and the other heats all the other rooms.  On super cold days I only turn on the heat to the living room, then close the doors to the rest of the house.  The kids and I spend the day snuggled up on the couch with lots of blankets, hot cocoa, and a fire in the fireplace.  We do homeschool, read, watch Man vs. Wild (Gigi's new favorite show) or Gravity Falls (everyone's favorite show), and make occasional forays into the freezing kitchen for provisions.  On not-as-cold days I go ahead and leave both thermostats on and we use the whole house.

2. The playroom is a long room on the south side of the house. It used to be an enclosed porch, I'm guessing, because there are about three hundred windows along two walls, and a glass door leading to the backyard.  Since this room is on the south side and has five million windows, it warms up faster than the rest of the house.  Which means it doesn't really need the four heat vents it has in there to be open during the winter.  So I closed them.  When we do have both furnaces running we keep the playroom closed off until it's had a chance to warm up on it's own from the sun.

3. Our laundry room/pantry has a door leading outside which is not very well insulated.  To keep it from sucking the warm air out I hung a heavy curtain over the doorway between the laundry room and kitchen.  It works amazingly well.  Today it was a good 10 degrees colder in the laundry room than in the rest of the house.  Take that, Winter!

4. The master bedroom also has a door leading outside that is not hung very well.  Basically any time the wind blows we get a fine layer of dirt on whatever is next to the door.  I can only imagine how much heat is getting sucked out of there.  Since we never use that door anyway, I covered the cracks all the way around it with painter's tape.  Not very stylish, but it gets the job done.

5. At night I turn all the heat off and we stay warm with little space heaters in each of our bedrooms. Everyone stays toasty and we're not wasting gas trying to heat empty rooms.  Win-win.

So, that's that.  Looking forward to those fabled days of spring.  Looking less forward to the sweltering days of summer.  That's going to have it's own challenges.