Sunday, November 29, 2009

Where else I'm from

Just some pictures taken during a lunchtime walk on Friday. The students were gone for Thanksgiving break and I was enjoying taking a leisurely walk around campus.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Black Bean Soup

I had the best Black Bean Soup at Chilis last Friday. It was soooo good that I wanted to make it at home. I had tons of black beans and a cast iron pot so I was good to go.
I soaked the beans overnight. I followed the directions I found on the Internet. I soaked more beans.
And let the whole mess simmer for a day.
I served it up last night for the kids and me. Yuk!
I believe the words 'explosive diarhhea' were used. . . .The kids wouldn't eat it. I wouldn't eat it. The dogs didn't even try to clean off the plates!
It was a disgusting gray mass with black flecks floating around in it.
I need to find a new recipe or -- more likely, follow correctly the one I found -- or go back to Chilis.
This doesn't bode well for a good Thanksgiving dinner!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Secret of Life

As I've aged, some things have become clear to me.

Not to sweat the small stuff. Really. I can remember back in my 20's my dad would tell me, it's not worth crying over. I can see now that it really wasn't, but it was back then. All the little things I used to worry about. My mother-in-law not returning the curtains (my favorite - saved up for months for them) she took when I had to move back to the old house after her son divorced me. What I wouldn't give now for the opportunity to trade some of those minutes of anger for a few hugs. I divorced her son, not her.

I worried about my kids not looking cute and not having cute clothes. It is amazing what is important when you are 20. Instead of spending those hours sewing clothing to look storebought, I wish I had a few more days just to enjoy their 7 and 4 year old selves. I wish I could make my daughter believe that these days of having to fight with her almost-3 year old son to go to sleep without just one more story, to pick up, to quiet down, will pass so fast it will take her breath away.

All those times my mom drove me nuts asking questions about who I saw, what they said, what I did......I am so tremendously thankful that I still have her around and am so glad that I can still be interrogated by her.

I used to hate--hate!-piano lessons! I wish I had taken them a little more seriously. Who knows what I could have become! I wish I had listened more to Miss Shaw, my piano teacher. I never asked her about how she learned to play, about her life. I was too much in a hurry to make it through my half-hour lesson for which I hadn't practiced.

It has taken nearly 50 years of wishing my life away--waiting for tomorrow, for next week, for next year--to realize that what is important is today and what I am doing right now. For nearly 50 years I've struggled and agonized over my religious beliefs and honestly, I'm still not so sure about how to, or even if I should, categorize my beliefs into a religion. Because I don't fit. And I don't think that it is imperative that I do.

I believe in God. There is not a doubt about God. But I believe that God is everywhere and is a force found in every aspect of nature. I enjoy many of the services held at the Methodist Church in our valley but I don't necessarily think of myself as a Methodist. I like many of the Pagan notions but wouldn't classify myself as Pagan. And that is ok.

So the secret of life, the secret of my life, is that it is uncovered as I move along. At least that is how I feel about it today. The secret may very well be that there is no secret. The experiences of everyday help to prove or disprove things I thought to be true along the way.

My Goal . . .

So maybe I'm not the sharpest tack in the pack because I don't know how to respond to a comment other than to blog about it.

I received a nice comment from Bill (Thank you Bill!) about his experience with the Dulcimer and which sent me to a great website - And motivated me to take the next step and purchase a Dulcimer. I am sure that once I have mastered this skill and charmed my family, they will go together and insist that I quit my job and take up dulcimer playing, cheese making, and farm caretaking fulltime.

Just kidding.

I'm learning - at a rather late stage - what makes me happy. The message in church yesterday was about having enough. Just enough. That fits in with my philosophy of life. In feeding the soul, helping others find their place and their passion, harming no one or nothing, caring for the land that we were given so that others years down the road can enjoy it and receive just enough from it.

When I play the piano, it calms me. It seems to calm my animals and my children because they all gather around. It seems as if everyone stops when there is music in the house. Whether it is Jordan playing her trumpet or one of the kids or me playing the piano. I like to leave open the screen on the sliding glass doors so that my outside animals can hear it. This is not quite as corny as it seems - the horses and goats are only about 100 feet away from the house.

But as Bill indicated in his comment, he was so glad that he did take up the dulcimer. So this person, who doesn't know this old goat, took a minute to tell me something about himself which has now prompted to me to follow through on a dream. And who knows where that dream will lead? At the very least it will give me some joy, on a larger scale maybe someone will hear me play and be motivated to pursue their own dream. See how it works?

Thank you Bill.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

View from my yard

Just some pictures from my yard:

the church we attend right across the road,

chickens in the woodpile,

the creek behind our house,

the haywagons getting ready for the hayride.
Life is good.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Goal......

Is to learn how to play the dulcimer.......I've hinted around that I want a dulcimer. It is an expense that I can't justify to spend on myself. But I love the music. There is something happy about dulcimer music and Lord knows, I can use all the upbeat music I can get! But there is also something mournful about a dulcimer. It is as if it can speak to you.

I remember years ago when my then-husband and I made and sold funnel cakes at a country craft fair. Across the path from us was a group of musicians including one dulcimer-player. It was lovely and I was captivated. Dulcimer music reminds me of autumn and halloween, blowing breezes and Thanksgiving, leaves swirling in the backyard and sweatshirts and pumpkins and all of that.

Dulcimer music also reminds me of the start of summer. With kickin' dancing music and all the white skinned people anxiously celebrating the start of warm season.

I play the piano right now. My daughters play the clarinet and the trumpet. My son plays the drum. And they can all plunk their way through songs on the piano. My favorite music to play is Christmas carols - they are so rich and warm and comforting - and the book stays open! The fact that I play the piano and my kids play instruments make me feel that I'm not such a loser. That I'm a good parent. That we are not the hicks we appear to be.

Living frugally is the way I wish to live. I see no point in having more than enough. But sometimes I find myself feeling as if I need to defend my choice not to give the kids tons of gifts for Christmas or to drive a new car when my old car is enough.

Which brings me back to playing the dulcimer. It seems simply in design but I'm thinking it is not so simple to play. But I plan to learn. And after that, perhaps the violin!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A new member of the family

Meet Tucker

- my daughter's little wired-hair dachshund. Tucker is definitely in love with Jordan and the feeling is so mutual.
What is amazing is that Bear, our geriatric chow-mix, loves Tucker. And Bear hates all the other dogs. Well, I guess I wouldn't say hate - but barely tolerates them.
Tucker is about 5 inches tall and 15 inches long. And he has more energy that all my dogs put together! He won't even hold still enough for me to snap a good picture of him.
Tucker is a gift to Jordan - and Jordan is a gift to Tucker. Call it an early Christmas gift .....I have a real hard time with giving Christmas gifts. I don't like to give things unless they are useful. I like to give memories and often times that includes gifts of an experience: whether a trip somewhere or a new food or a photo.
I want to give something that will make someone else happy and maybe cause them to think of me with kind thoughts. I want to give smiles. I want--for whatever time involved--for the recipient to just be happy enjoying my gift.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I ain't what I ain't......

and I sure ain't a supervisor! I can be a leader but I can't, and don't want to be, a supervisor. Over the past several months, my faith in humankind has taken a nosedive. I've learned that there are people you cannot trust, I've done some things-been asked to do some things-that border on the side of morality. In the name of a job. I've learned over the past several months that are some people who delight in the pain and the misfortune of others. I've learned that my beliefs that humans are inherently good are totally wrong. I've gone from loving to work with people to trying to figure out ways to work with animals: at least animals are upfront and honest.

I've been dancing on the precipice of depression. No feeling. None. I'm stunned. Little things irritate me - and I've no interest in things like running and sewing and baking and laughing.
For years, my job of working with students has uplifted me. In times of personal turmoil, my job has kept me sane. There is nothing there for me anymore. In a desperate attempt to find 'me' again, I made myself run again despite an irritated heel--at least I can self-identify as a runner and find some semblance of who I've been.

I don't know where I am. I don't know where I fit. Holy shit.....isn't nearly 50 too old to be looking?

A torrid love affair

 I've written about the ducks quite a bit. It's a little like Peyton Place around here I think. A couple of months ago, the male d...