Sunday, May 31, 2009

Morning Glory, Memorial

The first morningglory this year:

Yesterday we were in Alamogordo for the memorial service for Keith's mom.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Big-Name Lilies on a Friday

I bought one pot of lilies last Saturday, and was so happy with it as the week went by that Holly and I went back today and bought two more. It has the coolest name ever: Peter Pan Lilies of the Nile. The first one I brought back sitting in the floor of the front seat of the car.

When Holly and I went back to get some more, one of the plants was too big to fit in the car without breaking the already-bloomingness of it, but luckily we were just a couple of blocks from the house, so I walked them home in the cart. Keith will take the cart back when he takes the dog for a walk tonight. Keith dug two beautiful big holes in the back, much better than the one I did by myself while he was gone last weekend. [There used to be a slideshow or widget here that doesn't work anymore; sorry.]

1. It's cold and lonely in the deep dark night... and it's cold and wet 18" below the surface of our yard; Keith just dug two deep holes for our new flowers (see above!).

2. On my deck are hanging tomatoes.

3. My favorite health and beauty product is SLEEP! (This question has come around before... I did just recently buy some Skin-So-Soft to keep mosquitos off Holly, and it smells like the tub baths of my childhood, which is a nice thing.).

4. I no longer enjoy a nice long ride. I'm increasingly afraid of car rides.

5. Well, first of all ... First of all, now can there be a "first of all" without a second of all?.

6. My deceased mother and Holly; those were the cast of characters in a recent dream and it was irritating. (My mom irritated me, not Holly.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to ice cream, tomorrow my plans include a funeral (memorial service, rather) for Keith's mom, in Alamogordo and Sunday, I want to water my wonderful yard and meet Nuee, a cat who's going to come and live with us because her owner is moving to Hawaii.!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Death and Life

Keith's mom died yesterday morning early. I waited for him and Marty to get back from their long camping weekend to let him know. He and Holly visited her a couple of weeks ago; we knew it wouldn't be long. She had inoperable cancer in several places. Saturday we'll go to Alamogordo to a memorial service.

There's another YouTube video of me up:

I'm stuck wondering which philosophy teacher said that thing. I remember it in a male voice, but I remember being outside with her. Maybe it was a guest speaker in her class. Probably someday I'll find it in a notebook. I still have my college notebooks. The world inside my house is growing too, because I'm a packrat.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Me on other blogs

20 Unschooling Questions: Sandra Dodd from NM, USA
I actually only answered eighteen, but I'd already covered the other topics in what I'd written.

Tidbit from a list
Ren Allen wrote about her concern that some people who come to unschooling are wanting to join a group more than learn how unschooling works. Then she quotes something I wrote recently.

TODAY: Homeschooling: Freedom and Fun For Your Family

Not so recent, but I discovered it recently:
101 Ways to Increase Your Longevity and Quality of Life
My video games page is linked as their #89.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Humor, Literature and Real Life

I didn't write or make this. It's gone around. I got it from CrookedBrains which cited another site that's not there now.

It reminds me of Holly, who is going to Iowa for over a week, and then to Austin, and then after she goes to a conference with the family in September, is planning to move to Oregon. Can she *DO* that!? I mean seriously. She's not an orphan. Why would she want an adventure?

I got up to get food, and was joking with Holly. She didn't know I had been writing about her move. She asked me," What are your thoughts about me moving to Oregon, because I feel like I'm getting mixed signals from you."

I said "You're getting a clear signal! I have mixed thoughts."

The trip to Iowa has mostly to do with learning more about photography and photoshop. She will be with Chris/Zamozo's family, and then go to Austin to see Kirby for a few days. The Oregon plan is less certain, but it's somewhere between possible and likely that she'll go to live with Diana/hahamommy for a while. "A while" might be a polite mother-soothing euphemism.

Holly got lipstick that matches my glasses:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Karaoke and the song I didn't sing

Last night as my mother's day "doing," I went to karaoke with Holly, Marty and Brett. Holly goes every week. Brett goes sometimes. Here's a video of Marty. Holly had gone off to take a phone call from her boss at the flower shop. The first table of people are Cindy, Antoine, Nick, Ian and Josh, and then at my table Ashlee and Brett.

I had planned to sing Circle Game and Queen of the Silver Dollar. They didn't have either one. Holly and I did "Color My World," by Petula Clark. I was doing verses and harmony. Holly did the chorus. We also did "I Won't Say I'm In Love," from Hercules. I did "the chorus" and Holly did Megara. Holly also did LDN by Lily Allen, and I don't know what else. After the official end of the karaoke time when there was hardly anyone there anymore, the guy put on "Jizz in My Pants" and "I'm on a Boat." Holly was on the stage with Josh and Nick for the first one, and Marty was big into the second one.

I had been thinking of doing "Circle Game" because Marty's twenty years old, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it might not be so appropriate. Joni Mitchell was writing from not having raised her daughter, and thinking fairly negatively and theoretically about having a twenty year old. I have a really happy twenty year old. So I was thinking about the lyrics:

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a butterfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on a carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round in the circle game.

Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like "When you're older" must appease him
And promises of "someday" make his dreams...

Sixteen Springs and sixteen Summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town
And they tell him "Take your time, it won't be long now
'Til you drag your feet to slow the circles down."

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through.

I've liked that song since the summer of 1971, after my first year of college, when I listened to Joni Mitchell every day, at my mom's house on McCurdy Road in Española. I was melancholy and young and angsty and it was a great soundtrack for that. (I wouldn't recommend it to a lonely 17 year old angry with her parents nowadays, at all.)

So thinking of Marty, and looking at the song, the only thing that's like Marty about it is "the boy is twenty." That and that he can ice skate, but we're in Albuquerque, not Sasketoon or Toronto, so skating is inside a skating rink. Marty wasn't sad or afraid as a child, we didn't say "when you grow up" to him, we didn't try to hold him back and he didn't create grand dreams to look forward to. So it's okay that I didn't sing it.

(To be fair to New Mexico, there are outdoor skating rinks in a canyon in Los Alamos, and in Kit Carson Park in Taos. I skated with my dad at the Los Alamos rink later that same Joni Mitchell year.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cerebral Doings and kid reports

I was looking at the table Holly's using for her computer. It's covered in DVDs (in their cases) and art supplies. In the next room is a computer that Brett uses for playing WoW, and not much more, but it gets use. In the kitchen (often, and now) is my laptop. None of these rooms look "like they're supposed to," designer-wise, magazine-photo-wise. When Keith and I were first together we were more often out of the house than in, and the house was sewing room, office, workshop, books, patterns. We joked that we were living like grad students, and that someday we wouldn't. Then later we were living like parents of young children, and then we were living like unschoolers, but I think the thing is we were not living like people whose houses were decorated for magazine shoots.

Sometimes parents argue about the state of "beauty" of the house, but probably all of us know tales of children living in houses they couldn't play in, with tables they couldn't put anything on, with carpets they couldn't eat or play on, maybe couldn't even walk on barefooted. The purpose of a house is rarely considered. Pioneers' houses were shelter from wild animals and from weather. A place to store food. Some houses are intended to one-up the neighbors with the size of the front door or the number of garages, or the size and maintenance of the hedges.

Somewhere between those, most of us dwell. It's worth thinking about what a home is for, and not thinking in other people's words, but in the depth of considerations of what we want now and in ten years and in twenty and thirty years. What memories? What advantages?

Now that my childrens' ages average 20 years old, I garden without regard for their need to dig in the dirt and play hide and seek and sneak through the corners of the yard. When they were little, their use of the yard was primary. I planted some trees, and had morning glories on one fence, and vines on another fence. I kept the weeds pulled and the grass watered. The purpose of the yard then was for children to explore and to live in, not for an old woman to walk around in and to water and to experiment in.

Expectations and behaviors can have arcs, as life changes. Childless couples have fun in different ways than parents. We never considered ourselves homeowners who had unfortunately had children who posed a danger to the house.

What I created with a computer when I had a Kaypro II and a daisy wheel printer was paper, taken to a printer to turn into more paper. Now it's rare that I hit "print." Now I put words and ideas and pictures in where others can share them without waiting for paper to arrive in the mail. My children will be able to get to them someday, and not have to decide who gets what and what goes in the trash. What Holly does with her computer is to learn and share, and to amuse her friends. Marty listens to music and watches videos.

Meanwhile, in Texas, Kirby has moved from an apartment which had his computer and his roommate's in the living and dining area, into a house in which each of the four residents has his computer in his bedroom. House usage changed. There are no children there; if there were, it would change again.

Kirby called me for Mother's Day. He said mandatory overtime had just ended, but something else came up, and they're going to offer or encourage overtime. I asked if he was saving enough money aside for an unexpected major car repair, and he said he usually was, but had depleted his savings. I think the expectation of some people would be that what a 22 year old male living with other young males would have spent his money on would have been less responsible than this: "fancy" lawn mower, new couch, and a barbecue.

A few weeks back, Marty was inquiring about the possibility of moving into our old house, and what Keith would charge him in rent. Partly, other friends of his had asked. They're living in an apartment now. After a few casual conversations and some consideration, Keith told Marty he thought it might be too much responsibility for Marty right now, as he was already buying the jeep (and whatever else they discussed; I don't know). Some 20 year olds might have been defensive or upset about a parent saying "You're not old enough" or whatever, but Marty took it as sage advice he should really consider, because it was NOT presented as an insult, but as supportive conversation such as they've been having for Marty's whole life. Antagonism wasn't there.

Because of Mother's Day, Holly worked a LOT last week. I'll talk about her jobs below, but Saturday after she worked all day, she went to a concert. She had bought the ticket online with her own debit card. She drove in our car, but she filled it up with gas with her own money, even though I was standing there with my card out saying "use this." And it wasn't defensiveness or the hope that if it was "her gas" she could use the car more. She can already use it as much as she wants to. It was her wish to contribute.

Holly's friend made this video, and Holly wrote "Waiting in line for Bayside; shadow dancing! This is how I would rock out downtown, if I were that kind of person."

For a while next week, Holly will have five jobs. None are full time; none even necessarily half time, though one or the other of "the real jobs" can spike seasonally. She's doing art and a webpage for friends in Silver City who are buying an art gallery, and over a long Memorial Day weekend, she's feeding dogs at one house, and watering a garden and feeding a cat at another house.

All the stories above involve messes, time, thought, clean-up, priorities and peace. I'm content with our choices.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My ivy on Mother's Day

When I was seven years old and in Miss Bency's 2nd grade class in Española, our teacher had a great plan for Mother's Day. She had cut and induced roots in several starts of some ivy she had at home, and collected enough one-pound coffee cans for everyone in the class. Modern one-pound coffee cans are small and tall. In the 60's, though, they were as big around as the bigger cans, but short, like these:

Ours weren't 50 years old, though; they were new. Miss Bency brought two five gallons cans of house paint—white and a medium blue. We could paint our own can however we wanted—blue first and then white, or the other way, and with any designs we wanted. We could mix the paints in cups. Mine had a wavy line all the way around with dots in the waves of the line. I remember it was a water-based paint, but it wasn't acrylic/plastic. It wasn't shiny at all. ("Matte," but I was seven and didn't know that word yet.)

We potted the ivy cuttings, and kept them in the classroom for a while, and then on a Friday we took them home and were advised on how we might hide them. I was lucky to have my granny living next door. She only lived in Española for a few months. At first she had rented a house across from the elementary school and I could go there for lunch. Then she moved into a tiny house across the dirt road from our house, and this was during that time, which was more important than just having a hiding place.

On Sunday I gave my mom the ivy. She loved it! It did well. When my granny went back to Fort Worth, she took a cutting. When an aunt on my dad's side came to visit from Colorado Springs, she took a cutting.

Years passed, I went to college, my parents divorced, and I asked about the ivy, but my mom didn't have any anymore. I knew my aunt and granny still did.

My cousin Nada had grown up with us. A few years after the divorce, my Aunt Doris, Nada's mom, came up from Texas to live near Nada, and she brought some of that ivy, which she had from my granny.

I was busy, I went to Albuquerque and married Keith and had kids. I was at my sister's house about ten years ago and she had some of that ivy! Aunt Doris had died, and Irene got the ivy. I told her what it was, and asked for some. Yeah, okay, she said. I kept asking. She got divorced and left that house and left the ivy. I asked my niece and nephews and their dad a few times. Sure, no problem.

Well FINALLY, in February 2009, Elijah brought me ivy, from the same ivy my teacher had given me to give my mother in 1961.

Since I was a teenager, I've looked for more of the same ivy, to find out what it's name is, but I've never seen any. I never pass an ivy stand in a store without scanning for this ivy. None. I'm hoping someone here can identify it. Each time I visited my older female relatives in the 60's or 70's, they would tell me "Look, here's your ivy." So all those years it was "my ivy," and my memories had all to do with my mother and grandmother.

For Mother's Day, I told Holly I wanted a photo of me, her and the ivy. It's as close as we'll be to a four-generation photo. None of the photos are perfect, so I'll share several that have a nice aspect along with a flaw. Instead of a single image, it will be some documentation of the project of creating an image. Sometimes Holly used a timer, and sometimes she was holding the camera.

Thank you, Holly! Thank you Irene, for taking care of this, and Aunt Doris, and my granny Annie Mae Hathcock, and Miss Bency. Thank you, Elijah, for taking a cutting for me and driving it to Albuquerque.

Addendum, Thursday, May 14 (arrived by phone, from Ashlee):

These are at my friend's house. I totally knew what they were because of your blog!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Flowery Friday Fill-In

The irises are in our little west side yard. These are the offspring of some irises planted here 25 years or more ago, that were neglected for a many years, and then came up when we watered. They've spread and I've moved them to various different places, but their ancestor irises were put in by people in the 70's.

1. Apples are to oranges as strangers that pass in the fruitbowl.

2. Negativity and cynicism make the world go around (and round and down the toilet,) and that's all I have to say about that.

3. I think I hear a bell
Said the false knight on the road
It's ringing you to hell
Said the wee boy and still he stood.

4. It's not the greatest fill-in to have a blank and then just one word, like "flag."

5a. Do what you want to do, but if possible, stay off of my blue suede shoes.
5b. Do what you want to do, but don't do it without thinking.
5c. Do what you want to do, but but don't blame your imaginary friend.

6. In a folded newspaper hat he marched down the road and behind him was a Radio Flyer wagon; in the wagon was a bucket filled with flowers for his grandmother.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to reading and sleeping, tomorrow my plans include admiring my hanging tomato plants and working in the yard and Sunday, I want to post a photo of me and Holly and an ivy plant with an important story.!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Swamp cooler, link to party photos

It's not as good as the the first fire of the year on a cold autumn day, but Keith hooked the swamp coolers up!! Woohoo! The house was hot and grumpy-making, and now it's fresh and cool!

Holly found a couple of photos I could use of the party last Saturday, and I've added them below (

We have a new dryer!! A quiet new dryer with a light inside it AND the swamp coolers hooked up on the same day!?? Heaven. I feel like a Fred Astaire scene.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

More armed services recruitment!

Today an army brochure arrived (heavy paper, good art, nice print job... too much money for such things to be sent to every 17 year old in the U.S., but... there it is). United States Army. I assumed it was for Marty, but this one's for Holly. The army wants to lure Holly away from other possible plans. If her family life was harsher, the brochure might look pretty good! So to some degree, harsh parenting is good for the defense of the country... or something. Maybe.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Blasts from Pasts

I think this was Thanksgiving, 1981. I know we were in my sister's back yard in Chamita, between San Juan Pueblo (now known as "Ohkay Owingeh") and Hernandez (where Ansel Adams took a photo of the moon over a church).

If it was 1981 or winter 1982, Keith was 25 and I was 28. We were a few years from having Kirby.

I got him that Greek fisherman's cap in San Francisco at a hat shop on Pier 39. He lost it within a couple of years, but it was a good one and suited him well. I was wearing a flannel skirt with pockets. I liked that skirt.

I was the 'Steward of the Society' (president of the SCA) which is why I had been in San Francisco. I went to attend an SCA board meeting, at Westercon, in Sacramento; stayed in Berkeley; was given two wonderful tour days in San Francisco, one day by public transportation and the other in an Austin Healy, I think it was. Lombard street for the first time, in a classic convertible. Cool! My host was one of the SCA founders and had a depth of knowledge about the Bay area and most other things he had ever encountered. Duke Siegfried/Dave T.
I wrote to verify and received more info on the car:
It was a Jensen Healey. The "Healey" is the same person who was involved with the Austin Healey, but Jensen Healeys were made in 1973-1975; mine was a 1974. I finally had to give up on it in 2002, but last year acquired a "new" Jensen Healey, a later 1974 one with a 5-speed transmission. It is white, not black.

Nine years or so after that photo, there was this one of me and Holly, our third child.

This all makes me feel this old:

(my hair looks greyer when it's pulled back, but it's not as brown as it used to be!)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Holly is 17 and a half

Today is Holly's half birthday. Six months more until I'm not as necessary as I am now.

I was up early and made her some oatmeal before she went to day 2 of a three-day garage sale at Caiti's house. She got back from that, I helped her pack up Rock Band to take to a theme birthday party (Josh and Drew's), and she left dressed as a rock star. A male rock star, dressed as a female, with glittery makeup. (Miranda, if you read this, Holly's boy bits consist of the herbal eye mask you made, stuck just so into the front of a turquoise tricot jumpsuit that looks like a Charlies' Angels thing, only very low cut. REALLY low cut. Yikes. So better to go as a guy, or something, it seems.)

And Marty is still at work, but he plans to wear the Pollo Loco chicken outfit. Rock star tie-in for that? Cock rock, he plans to say.

Holly's coming back before too long so that she can rest before going in for day 3 of 3 of garage sale.

If photos come back from the party I might add some later. One big yellow rooster and one glamrock "guy."