Showing posts with label just... stuff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label just... stuff. Show all posts

Sunday, July 15

All clear! Fire the canons!

We watched Mary Poppins this week (part of a rather shame-faced endeavor on my part to get the Littles spooled up on the musicals they don't know yet - oops! Talk about gaps in one's education!)

Then Friday I had labs (still cancer-free - doc pushed for just one thin scan in January. But no, that wasn't the deal. Thanks, tho-)

And it's awkward to know whether to shout it from the roof tops or to take the British WWII approach, straighten my jacket and carry on about my business. I land awkwardly somewhere in the middle. Straight jacket (as opposed to a strait jacket, LOL), carry on, with occasional loudish bouts of, "Oh, thank heavens!"

But this time, I kind of laughed to myself a bit because I realized I probably come off more as the crazy retired Navy Admiral from Mary Poppins. Heh. Could be worse, I suppose.

Be encouraged!
~ Dy

Saturday, July 7

What Else Has Been Going On?

Once again, we have jettisoned a car with much cheering and applause.

John's Buick started blowing the upper radiator hose. Just out of nowhere it started doing it as if it had picked up a fun new hobby. He took to carrying a full took kit, complete with a magnetic tool retriever (not that it did any good - we lost four screws down there and never were able to retrieve a single one - they just fall down and disappear into another dimension), and a couple gallons of water. It had been having issues for a while, but this is the issue that ended the struggle.

I even got a little frustrated at one point and went down to put the damn hose clamp on, myself. (The Buick Rendezvous is a terrible design. Just a heads up. It's a neat car. Cool idea. Yet clearly designed by someone who hates himself, hates the world, and reserves special hatred for people who work on their own cars. I have never in my life seen such a poorly designed space.) Anyway, although John is really great at spooling up on how to fix known issues, and even though he knows how to put on a hose clamp, it just didn't make sense. I figured the lousy design was just making it harder than it had to be (which it was). But I thought at least I know that I know how to use a hose clamp and how to get a hose on properly. We could put this issue to rest, certainly.

He texted the next time he left the house. It had done it again.

At that point, we agreed it was time to give AAA towing a try. He figured it out, got the thing towed to a mechanic. The mechanic took a look at it, put the hose on, good to go.

Until he left the house again. (Always on his way to something with a defined start time. Always. Blessedly, he's been driving crappy, unreliable cars since he first got his license, so he's really good about leaving "mechanic time" in his schedule.)

This time, there was smoke. 😲

Back to the mechanic. Turned out there was a problem in the engine. Something leaking. Too much pressure. That's why it was blowing the hose. But at this point, it had gotten just warm enough just often enough that the heads had warped. Or whatever. At any rate, it needed a new engine.

Mechanic didn't want to fix it.

I didn't want to pay him to fix it. (Not what it was going to cost to replace the engine on top of the other unrelated things it also needed, like tie rods and so forth.)

James and John are cool with carpooling over the summer.

I'm even cooler with not paying insurance on another car.

So, we junked it, and hopefully the sound body and intact interior will provide some blessed surprise and joy to some other poor soul spending his time working on his Buick Rendezvous. We hope it makes someone's month when they find it there.

We're holding off on replacing it until we get moved. No point in paying registration twice, hauling it across country. Plus, he may not even need a car right off the bat. So although juggling two cars around five schedules isn't ideal, it's a nice set up. We can all ride in either of the cars if something goes awry with the other one, and nobody is getting stuck on the side of the road in the Southern Summer Weather. Win-win-win.

Be encouraged!
~ Dy

Wednesday, June 27

Summer!

It's Summertime! It's warm! It's sunny! It's been three months since I've written!

We closed on the Forever Home in April and it's now got just the family it needed. I am eight months into living 11 minutes from absolutely everything and still absolutely loving it! Like, you would not believe how wonderful it is for me. Oh, gosh. Yes!

James ended up staying at the house most nights near the end of the spring semester. Not having internet at the RV made getting school work done a little challenging, and as much as he loved the study hall in the honors building, it didn't have food late at night. So he'd come schlepping in around dinner time, eat, study, eat, play video games, eat, talk a bit, then crash on the couch. The boys took to referring to him as "The Hobo", although I'm fairly certain it was a lovingly bestowed nickname. There was a lot of laughter and chattering among them in the kitchen. Bonding over memes and such, I think. I don't know. I just sat here and enjoyed the happy noises.

The end of the semester came and he moved back in for the summer. Him and his stuff. You know how some people are into rescue animals and they are forever bringing home abandoned puppies, kittens, and armadillos? Well, James is into rescuing hardware. "But they were just going to throw them away! I couldn't just leave them there!" It's tech-based dumpster diving. And now my living room is filled with computers, computer parts, and cables. So many cables. I have no idea how he's going to fit back in the RV come fall.

We got John graduated from high school and he's in college full time over the summer, now. He'll have to transfer to a school in New Mexico to finish it, but both schools are accredited and bonafide, so the transition should be fairly smooth. Or not. We're still learning to roll with unexpected changes.

It's very, very weird having college students. I don't feel that old. They vacillate between seeming plenty old and really not possibly old enough. It's just a weird stage, but so far it's fascinating and fun, if confusing and exhausting. Kind of like life, in general, right?

Be encouraged!
~Dy

Wednesday, March 14

Getting Stronger

I've been meaning to get back to the gym for, oh, two years, now. Oops. First, I had to get my brain back. (That took about a year.) Then I had to get the kids back on track. (Yeah, that was another year.) And now, it's time. I'm so excited!

I stopped by the gym and filled out a health history form, talked with one of the trainers, and made a plan. Then the schedule won't work for this coming week. Heh. As long as it doesn't take me an entire year to get it going, then we're good, and at least now there is a plan ready to implement. I'm hoping to lift twice a week and do something else a couple times a week. Once the weather gets nicer (for that brief, glorious window before the hot 'n sticky descends!) I can get out and move with the kids without too much muttering under my breath. Plus, the Littles are big enough now to get me actually moving. That's gonna be weird!

James and his roommate have been trying to play racquetball about once a week. They'd like to play more often, but chemistry is trying to kill them both, so it's mostly just a stolen hour over the weekend. I love that they're trying to pay attention to the holistic aspects of their health. It's hard, and it's weird, but they're doing it! Perhaps over the summer they'll be able to make more use of the gym. For now, though, I'm pretty impressed. Now, to get them to eat more ...




Saturday, March 10

That's one way to get through Lent...

I blinked. And now it's March. But SO much has been happening!

Also, not remotely related, but sort of indicative of my response to things lately, I sat down to write and my foot hit something under the table. I poked it, and it rolled around. "Oh, there's a ball under the table." Then I realized it didn't feel like any ball we have. What was that? Of course, I tried to figure it out with my foot instead of just looking. Couldn't figure it out. It rolled, but not like a normal ball. It was hard, too, not squishy. Finally, I looked. It was an avocado. I have an avocado under my table. Why? How does this even happen? Well, whatever. The upside is that I now have an avocado!

Anyway, life is beginning to resolve a bit. I can see one of the finish lines of the marathon through my unfocused eyes and flailing arms. The cheering from the support crew, though, is fabulous! There is no way I could have kept my sanity if it weren't for the grace of God in giving us such a team.

Z came out for a visit. He brought the car Aunt B had given to us, and we sold the Volvo (we all sang joyously, except Z, who mourned a bit and then took a photo of the Volvo and The Guy Who Bought It - he's glad it's going to a good home). James now has safe, reliable transportation, and he is very thankful. I am very thankful. John, who usually has to help mechanic, is very thankful. There's just general joy and celebration all around.

The C Family has a contract on their house! That means we have a contract on OUR house! The Forever Home is going to go to a beautiful family that will love it. It will have children who will wander in the woods, play in the creek, have campfires in the upper meadow. Also, the lady of the family is a much better home decorator than I am, so the Forever Home will likely be lovelier than it's ever been!

The boys are surviving school. I guess the chemistry class is brutal. And the keeping track of things. And remembering to eat. It's hard to watch the young struggle with finding their groove. I don't remember it being as hard as it looks, but thinking back on some of my mother's comments, I'm guessing it was probably worse for her. At least my kids have sense and direction. My poor mother.

So, yeah, halfway through Lent. It hasn't been a somber Lenten season for us, but it has been a mindful one.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Wednesday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day!

Or Ash Wednesday (although it feels wrong to wish someone a "happy" Ash Wednesday). So, just know you're loved.

Em was particularly torn. She has theater! It's Valentine's day! But ... somber. Oy, what to wear? (How is she even my child? God is good. Amusing, but good.)

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. Nothing new added to the mix, but as I told a friend last week, I'm a sprinter, not a marathoner, and I've just hit the half-mile mark. I needed to take a few days to simply vacuum the carpet and stare forlornly at the stains that seem to multiply like Adipose. (Parenthetically, carpet in the dining space of a rental just shouldn't ever be a thing.) Needed to prod the children forward a bit. Needed to not check the calendar to see where to be next. Financially, it hurt, but mentally, it was necessary.

In less stressful news, our sweet church hosted its first-ever Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper last night. It was a wonderful opportunity to just hang out with everyone. Just visit. No point, no purpose, other than fellowship. I'm glad we did it, and appreciate that we have the kind of congregation that's learning to really live together. Good stuff.

Today's gonna be a little nuts. I've got work this afternoon, so I'm having to skip out on book club (it was that, or I'd have to take my children with me to work, which seemed a bit much). John agreed to haul the children to Ash Wednesday services, and Jacob's gonna have to find his own ride home after rehearsals. Nuts, but good. Everyone is capable of doing what they need to do. Again, I appreciate that. (Whether they will may be another story, but I'm choosing to appreciate what's possible at the moment and just embrace that.)

We hoped to have a visit from Z by now, but so far, no love on travel plans. Thankfully, technology makes distance so much easier to navigate. Jacob was telling me this morning that without Dad here to just talk science and math with, he's losing his mind. "That's why I send him so many links." Aww! Turns out, he's been emailing Z links to news and articles that he finds interesting and wants to talk to someone about. (Although to be fair, he still talks to the rest of us about all manner of stuff. I had no idea he was doing this, but I love it! The rest of us just can't hang with the theoretical math and science.) He texts and calls, as well. This is really no worse than a standard TDY, thanks to technology! I love it!

And now, it's time to prod again.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Monday, January 22

Oh! Oh, my!

There are times that I half-jokingly say that I'm really not qualified for this job. Then there are times that I am just humbled and awed that anybody ever leaves me in charge of anything, and I mean it wholeheartedly. I really thought I'd know more by now.

But something I realized -- fully realized, in my heart of hearts -- this week, is that it truly is enough to do what's been set before you. Do it well. Do it diligently. Let the rest sort itself out. I have a wonderful ability to see the overarching themes of things, to see the whole picture, and that's great. It lets me grasp new ideas quickly. It lets me bring an idea to fruition in a moment. It can be a lot of fun. But it also means that when things are wonky or askew, I see all the things that are wrong, and I want to fixthemallrightnow. I can't. But that doesn't stop me from trying to.

The thing is, though, I expend so much energy in trying to find that one, brilliant maneuver that will do it all (fix it all, finance it all, repair it all, build it all) in one fell swoop that I tend to forget to do what's right in front of me. I see it. I recognize that it's good. But it doesn't seem like ENOUGH. I feel compelled to find that magic bullet, that extra hour in the day, that superhuman strength to lift not just a car, but an entire train. In my efforts to find this elusive big gun, I end up neglecting the things that are legitimately within my scope of influence.

I also end up diminishing my understanding of just how powerful one word, one task, one job can be.

It seems silly when I put it like that, doesn't it? And yet, if we were to meander back through the years, we'd see time after time that I got hit by stress paralysis, fretting about things that were outside my purview, yet letting the things within my purview fall through the cracks.

This isn't new information. I haven't stumbled upon some hidden brilliance. Mother Theresa got it. Ghandi got it. The Bible is absolutely full of advice right along those lines. The painful irony is that I've even spent the better part of two decades telling the children about this. Do what you know to do, and ask for help with the rest. You can only control your own actions, so do your best with what you have to do right now. You don't have to fix everything, but you do need to take care of your own things. Gosh. It goes on. It's embarrassing, really. I should know better.

But I am learning, so that's good. And it's working, which is also good. When you tend to what's in front of you, and do it diligently, you free up the rest of the world to get on with what it needs to do. You have the bandwidth to see how things move together, and to see how the interconnectedness of everything is at play.

And you can know that it will be okay. You may not know how. You may not know when. But you can trust that it will be.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Saturday, January 13

You Beautiful People!

This week has been so encouraging.

A friend is applying for a position that would be practically perfect - both for her, and for the organization. I'm so excited and hopeful for her!

The boys have gushed and gushed about their classes and instructors. I'm so appreciative that they talk to me.

One of the boys has demonstrated that he can, in fact, get his shizzle done when a ride is on the line. I'm, um, so glad he can catch on!

A friend has been on fire lately with thoughtful things and being her typical loving, encouraging self.

People all over the place are helping each other out, sharing what they have, doing good things to skew their worlds for the better. That's very encouraging.

Z is making plow discs in his spare time. I love that he's using his creative energies!

We got snow! It was a lame snow, but it was snow. Didn't stick and the roads are clear, so that's like getting a double bonus of appreciation.

What's been encouraging in your world this week?

Be encouraged (or encouraging)!

~ Dy

Thursday, January 11

Self Care Through the Ages

I kind of miss childhood, when you could go for a week accumulating the dirt and grime of childhood adventures and still go out in public. (This might be why I enjoy backpacking so much.) Believing with all the faith in the world that playing in the creek totally counted as having bathed, and since your friends were just upstream, catching crawdads, they didn't mind. Or notice.

Mmm. Gross. But yeah.

Still, there you have it. Childhood. Adults were tasked with pointing out when it was time for a bath, and that was fine. That was plenty. You ate what someone else prepared. You didn't really have to think about self care much, if at all.

There are other seasons in life that are reflected in various self-care routines:
Adolescence - the first time your body just up and starts doing weird things on its own, and the frantic scramble to get a grip on that before everything mutates beyond recognition.

Young Adulthood - general awareness that nutrition ought to be a thing, but there's booze. And resilience. So a lot of self care at this point goes into recovery, looking good, and sucking it up.

Marriage - sometimes this is a good stage - there's not only bathing, but some thought goes into meals and routines. It's like having a clue. I know I didn't have a strong clue, and I wasn't good at most of it, but at least there was an attempt.

New Motherhood, Mother-of-Toddlers - these last two being very distinct stages identified mainly by the type of food that's stuck to your shirt and speed with which loud sounds will snap you out of a dead sleep. That was a crazy time. A friend is watching a little one this week and she posted from the bathroom, where she was trying pee in peace. It was hilarious and precious, but I got tired just remembering those days. I let my kids stay up late and eat candy as a thank you for not still being two years old. Because dang. It's a miracle everyone got through that without too many scars or staph or who knows what.

Then there's your 30's. Possibly the first time many of us can take a breath and really think about how we care for ourselves since we last got a grip on the acne and hormones of adolescence ... also the first time we're horrified to realize acne is still a thing past adolescence ... But at this point, you're aware that you need to nourish your body, your soul, your mind. There's a lot to do to really take care of one's self. But it's doable. It's pretty cool.

You'd think by the 40's and 50's, we'd have a routine down pat and not have anything left to figure out. But, no. The body, she is a'changing, and will continue to just up and do weird things on its own. So our care often needs to change with it. But how much do we really think about it?

If you're like me, perhaps you think about it, make a kick butt list of Things You Can Do to Improve Your Situation, and then make another cup of coffee and go back to work doing Something Else, entirely. I've got a great list for 2018 (and no coffee this morning, because PET scan). But if you need some encouragement and practical suggestions, go read Melissa's latest post on When Life Gets Off Track. She gets it. And she knows what she's doing.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Friday, January 5

Some days start earlier than others ...

I grabbed a transcription file yesterday - a nice, long, difficult one, since I didn't have any outside work coming up, and I figured I could work on it at my leisure throughout the day and really make sure it was tight. I love that feeling, when you know you've done a job spot on. It wasn't due until 11 today, so that was perfect.

Then I got a text last night - can I fill in a shift for someone who can't make it in the morning? Of course I can. (This is a really wonderful position, working with a truly delightful lady, and I am so thankful for having these beautiful people in our life.)

About an hour later, it hit me. I just bumped my transcription deadline up by four hours because I'd have to leave the house by 7:00. 😨 Well, that wasn't particularly brilliant. What can I say? I'm new at this.

So after dinner, I tasked the children with putting the living space to rights before they turned in, and I slipped off to bed super early. I was up and wide awake this morning at 2:30, and was able to finish the job and submit it in time to leave for work!

I need a GIF for that. It's definitely more Mr. Magoo than Wonder Woman, but you know, mostly it's about appreciation for having opportunities and being able to find ways to make things work, honor our commitments, and live a rich, healthy life.

What absolutely made my day, though, was getting texts from the older boys. "Do you mind if I take the Littles to Skate Day?" and "I'm taking Jacob to the movie." Oh! Well done, boys! Wow.

Got home to find John studying, and the house picked up. That's like Second Christmas for a mom!

So, to celebrate, we're sitting very still and not moving for a little bit. Just taking stock of the good things in the day ... It got above freezing for a few minutes today. That was exciting. (It's about to dip way back down, though, so the faucets are staying on.) ... Z is doing well - we talked this morning and he described the Sandias in the morning sunlight - I can't wait to see that again! ... School is back up and running, ballet, theater, Bible study ... There's coffee. (It's a little thing, but it's a thing, and I appreciate it.)

Not every season is going to be easy. Sometimes the seasons that you think will do you in turn out to be the easiest of the challenging parts of your life, and you'd love to go back and do them again with the knowledge you have currently. (It's like doing 1st grade math when you're in 6th grade, and you laugh and laugh that you'd been so frustrated when you first learned it. If you do find yourself feeling like that, wishing for the exhaustion of toddlers, or the "busyness" of playdates and field trips to the zoo, give yourself some kudos for having come far enough to do that. That's good stuff. You've got this.) And then, take stock of the good things. They're there in plenty.

Be encouraged!

Dy

Tuesday, January 2

On Moving. Again.

So, while John and I were basking in the dry, cool mountain air of New Mexico this past July, Z was at home, clearly panicking at the thought of living here forever. Possibly without me. (The fear of me dying is kind of a constant with him. It was always there, but got markedly worse with the cancer. Single parenting for a month rather exacerbated the whole thing. Understandable.)

So he went off plan and applied for a slew of jobs in New Mexico that month. (The deal has always been Colorado, or we stay here.) When I got back into signal range and read the job postings he'd forwarded to me, I started praying ...

"Lord, please not Alamogordo." (I have NOTHING against Alamogordo, for the record. It's a vibrant, neat little town with a strong Classical education community, and a ballet company. It could be a great place to live. But I have always maintained that if he worked in Alamogordo, I wanted to live in High Rolls or Cloudcroft, both of which just wash my mountain-loving soul in cool air and pine trees. I haven't had cool air and pine trees since 2003. But that would put us right back to living in the country and having to drive into town every. single. day. That thought kind of made me cry. Actually, it totally made me queasy.)

That job fell through. Thank you, Lord!

"Lord, Socorro? Really? This needs to be discussed?" (I've never lived in Socorro, and I'm sure we could make it work. NM Tech is there, and it's fantastic. It's not too far from the Bosque. There's a lot to commend it. But, again with the driving to get the kids to the things they do. And there are no mountains there to soothe the process. Sorry, Socorro, but I was actively praying against that one.)

That job fell through.

"Albuquerque? Well, Lord, you know I'd love it. And you know the kids would love it. We both know Z probably isn't going to love it. He might grow to like it ... I don't know. But, if it's gotta happen, then it's gotta happen. Your call." (It's ALWAYS His call. I know this. But he says to ask for what we want, and I'm taking Him at face value on that.)

So, Albuquerque it is.

We all hate to leave our people here. One of my biggest requests is that we have a home large enough that we can be a destination point for loved ones to come and see the West, stay with us, and allow us to repay the generosity and love they've shared with us.

The older boys may stay. James will, for sure. He's surviving college. He loves his job. He loves our church. He seldom gets lost when he's driving. He'll be 20 this year (oh, gosh, HOW?), so it seems there's not much point for him in uprooting to start over again.

John's measuring his options and seeing what he can see. He's 17. This is a good time to do that.

Jacob would gladly move in with someone from the ballet school to stay here, but since that's not an option, we've given him room to be morose, and then encouragement to embrace what he can about it. He plans to come back, perhaps for his Senior Year, to dance here. I'm okay with leaving that on the table. It'll be here before either of us know it, and who knows what he'll want to do then? But in the meantime, having that on the table gives him hope and frees him up to enjoy dancing in New Mexico without feeling like he's being unfaithful to his beloved HBC. I love his loyal, passionate heart.

Em and Jase are basically holding their breath and not making eye contact. They don't know what to expect. They haven't particularly enjoyed all the change and upheaval to date, and it's not what they would choose, but they're still young enough that if I promise them a good adventure, they'll trust that it's a good adventure. (Jase finds this exciting. I should, however, have chosen a different word for Em - an adventure is the last thing she hopes for. Ever. Oops. Still learning with that one!)

And so, our Alabama adventure appears to be drawing to a close. It's something we've known was coming for the last seven years, but truthfully, it came as a surprise. This is such a wonderful place to live, with so much available, and so many wonderful things in life here. It's hard to imagine another place that has so much to love as North Alabama does. Twelve and a half years of living will do that to a person, though. It's good. It's been good.

And the next chapter of our lives will also be good.

Be encouraged!

Dy

Tuesday, October 10

Seven Days

I told you I was like a kid at Christmas!


I'm half planning to load up my bed, a suitcase, a box of bacon and the coffee press, and call it good. If they want anything else, they can come back for it. Oh, and the patio furniture - I do love our patio furniture. That should be plenty, right?

We had a week off from ballet while the school was on fall break. Nearly missed trash day, woke Z up early on a day he didn't have to go to work, and accomplished very little in the way of returning library books that week. Evidently, we can't use a calendar without some kind of external anchor to remind us what day it is. Also, to Jacob's Russian teacher, I apologize. He comes by it honestly.

However, I remembered that I can, in fact, cook quite well when I have the time to do it. So, that's been fun. I'm really looking forward to getting settled and doing more in the kitchen again.

We animal-sat for friends over the long weekend. It was good, and we're glad we were able to help them out, but we are so not cut out for farm life. It probably would have been easier if we didn't live 50 minutes away, and often had to wear the rest of the day whatever we wore to tend the animals. That was kind of gross. Or, if we had any idea what might cause a goat to fall over. That was scary. (The goat is fine, and John rocked the medic training - he devised a carry sling and we let him tell us what to do, so we didn't completely suck at whatever it was we were supposed to be doing.) They'll be back today, and I am so incredibly glad.

Today is John's last day at work. They've been so good to him, and it was a wonderful experience for a first time job. With the move, though, he'd be working to earn the gas money to drive ... to work. Plus, he starts clinicals near the end of this semester, and that will take up a lot of additional time. He picks up another class at the CC on the 21st, as well. He has a plan and he's moving on it. It's neat to stand back and see that play out, see where he wants to go and how he's making it happen.

Today is also the last Harried Tuesday! Hurrah! No more! This time next week, I can drop Jacob at ballet and GO HOME to wait! There shall be scones! (We tweaked a keto bagel recipe and it's like lovely, decadent scones, only with scads of protein and few carbs. So good!)

Be encouraged!

Dy


Friday, September 29

Little Things, Like Cool Mornings

When I was a kid, I dreamed of having a BIG LIFE, one full of adventure and travel, of friends met on the road and re-met on other roads (evidently, the world in my head was full of vagabonds). I dreamed of gauze-draped ceilings and rich tapestries keeping my small home comfortable while I was away, waiting to greet me with color and effervescence when I returned.

We've been here 12 years. I don't even have family pictures on the walls, much less tapestries or breezy draperies. This doesn't bother me (the thought of just how many cobwebs, and correspondingly, spiders, there would be with that kind of decor makes me a little queasy, truthfully). But it's definitely different.

And yet, my life is BIG. It's beautiful and loud and exhausting. It's not at all what I had pictured, but it's everything I could have wanted if I'd known about it. What surprises me the most is how the little things sprinkled throughout life are the things that bring the greatest joy.

For example, James is sitting beside me, reading for one of his classes. He occasionally lobs a snippet at me, or muses aloud about what he's reading. I do wish I'd read this book so we could discuss it, but I haven't, so I listen and make what I hope are engaging noises. This, though, is really precious to me, just being here together in the quiet of the morning with one of my favorite humans.

Jase is outside, working on Pine City. It's a city he's building for the My Little Pony ponies. It's got roads and parks and churches. There are houses and apartment complexes. How you build a two-story pine structure, without using bales or at least wire, is fascinating. He came in and told me I should go out on the balcony to write, "Because it's beautiful!" That he's enjoying it, and he wanted to share it, is beautiful to me and makes me sigh with contentment.

I had to take an Allegra to do it (one more thing I didn't see really picture), but he was right. It's the cool of the day, something we don't have year-round. It's back. And it is beautiful. Soon, I'll need to break out my shawl to sit outside and write! I can't wait!

We were all home for dinner last night.

The leaves that crunch under our feet as we walk.

The wonder of friendship, integrity, love. Wow! That totally beats whatever I had in mind.

Be encouraged!
Dy

Sunday, September 24

*psst* Hi.

I am not dead. Nor have I killed anyone, run anyone off, or set anything on fire. There should be cupcakes for that. We have, however, firmly identified the point at which we cannot function anymore, and ballet is it. Or rather, ballet, college, work, theater -- all in town, with us living in the country. That's it. That spot, right there.


So, we move into town next month (I'm doing daily countdown announcements like a six-year-old near Christmas!) and we'll be officially putting the Forever Home on the market. Not only will this buy us some breathing space, but it'll be significantly easier to show the place when we don't have seven people's worth of activities and lunch bags drizzled from the front door to the kitchen. (Because that's all we have the energy for when we do get home, limply drop our belongings as we stagger to the fridge.)

It's funny. Some of the kids have mused that we should have bought a house in town when we got here. It's a knee-jerk reaction to agree (because nobody wants to pack everything - that's their real motivation, there), but then I think back on it, and no. No, this was the perfect place to raise our family. Bonfires in the lower meadow, smaller campfires in the upper ... Dinners with friends on the balcony, airsoft in the woods ... Fruit from the trees and minnows from the creek (we ate the fruit, but not the minnows) ... Window frogs and lightning bugs ... Expeditions into the woods to look for new plants or harvest blackberries ... Building projects and Scout projects ... The Pinewood Derby track that lived in the basement, in use, for years ... Riding the wagon down the drive, or trying to get Balto to be a sled dog (didn't work) ... The incredible, amazing friends we've made here ... We have a dozen years of delicious, precious memories firmly rooted in this place, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

We'll make new memories in new places, yes, but they don't negate that the Forever Home was a pretty darned fantastic home base for over a decade. It just needs to be a fantastic place for someone else, now - someone with little ones who want to garden and play in the creek and really revel in all the delightful surprises this place has to offer.

And I need to live in a place that lets all my people do their thing while still giving Z and I time to do ours.

23 days!! *squee*

Be encouraged!
Dy

Saturday, August 12

Well, then...

I didn't think the kitchen had much we could get rid of.

I was wrong. So wrong.

And now, it looks so much better! So, yay!

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I wrote that ^^ two weeks ago. Since then, we've been working on the rest of the house. Ballet auditions. Home staging. Work. School. Planning. HOLY COW. I came up for air and it's August, y'all!

The meadow is mowed. The trash is out. The walls are clean! The game is afoot!

Meanwhile, we're putting together some section hikes of the Pinhoti for this fall. This gives me something fun to do now, and something to look forward to for later. (When it's 95 degrees and 80% humidity, I do not look forward to so much as walking to the car. But I can plan indoors, where there's a/c!)

I found this, too. Don't really want to get down to 8#, but it did inspire me to drop a significant portion of my pack weight for this fall. Check it out.

http://www.opb.org/television/video/orfg-2817-01-ultralight-hiking/

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James starts school on Wednesday. He's loving his job. (He also threatened to just sleep there until we're done with the house. I think he's not enjoying the process of working on the house after working at his job all day.) We don't see him much, but he's happy when we do see him.

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I still don't have a clue what the schedule is for this fall. I don't have John's schedule, or Jacob's schedule, and that means I can't make Em and Jase's schedules. That's making me a little twitchy.

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We'll have photos of the house soon! I'm so excited!

And with that, we're mostly caught up. I've got some room in my brain now and can write again.


Saturday, July 29

Listing A House

With Z looking for work that will take us closer to his mom, and the boys' activities (work, school, dance) keeping them in town from dawn to dusk, we've decided to sell the Forever Home and move into a rental.

Now to declutter enough that I can stage it and make a comprehensive list of Things To Be Done. Yikes!

Today, we worked in the basement and the foyer. I can't even pretend to have any idea how much headway we made, or what we need to do next. I just need to get some stuff out of the way so I can breathe. We did quite a lot, though, and this evening everyone is sleeping well.

Tonight we attended a going away party for friends. That's always a bittersweet occasion. We're happy for them to have new adventures and explorations, but there will be an empty place for those of us left behind. It was good to hug them one more time tonight, to see the kids all grown (growing?) up... And thank God for technology. We can video chat, keep up to date through social media, and email. So it's almost like we get to go along with them. That makes the distance easier.

Tonight, though, I'm beat, physically and mentally. It's time to kick off my boots and watch something stupid.

Be encouraged!

Dy

Wednesday, July 26

What A Ridiculously Long Month

I got home Sunday evening. It was wonderful to be home! I think the family actually missed me. Jase got up bright and early Monday to begin sharing with me every random thought he's had the last month. I think he saved them up, because they came hot and fast that morning. Em keeps hugging me Just Because. Z keeps smiling and saying, "I'm glad you're home."

The biggest indicator, however, seems to be the number of things they don't know the schedule for. When is the movie shoot? When does ballet start back? Are we taking Burritt classes this year? Can I do dual enrollment? Can we build a rocket? When are we going to the water park? I spent Monday finding answers more concrete than "soon" and planning the school year so we can begin it.

The concrete on the front porch has been repainted. The basement stairwell is textured and painted. Both are so lovely! I'd hoped to come home to boxes, but no boxes so far. That worked out well in the end, though, as I needed to pull out this year's books and set them aside. Today, perhaps, boxes.

I have so much appreciation for how they all worked together to take up the slack that my absence caused! Other than expressing it verbally, I've tapped into my joy at having this home, this family, this life, and I will remember to share that joy with them, as well. This month away was long, but it was a mental and spiritual sabbatical during which I had the room to breathe, to think, to align my priorities with my goals. This is some exciting stuff!

Other than the weather (it is July in the South), it is so good to be home!

Be Encouraged!
~ Dy

Thursday, June 22

AAAIIIGHHHHH!

So, I'll be upfront with you... I'm a little nervous about this trip. I'm excited, sure. It's going to be gorgeous and amazing. Just seeing the boys' reactions to the new terrain and their experience - WOW. And I'm fairly certain that they're going to need to drug me to get me back in the van to come back to the humidity when it's over. But I'm also nervous, and it's manifesting in weird ways.

For instance, I developed an overwhelming concern that I was going to fall off a cliff, or into an arroyo and - no, not die, but catch my wedding ring on a mesquite branch on the way down and lose my finger. I mean, I could die. Gravity is a harsh mistress and I'm not graceful even when I'm not entirely at her mercy. But it wasn't the fear of plummeting to my death that has kept me up at night (or even of getting impaled by a mesquite branch, although now that I think of it...); it was the fear of having to hike out with my finger in a cooler. So I fixed it.


That puppy will tear right off, I hope! Now I can move on to other worrisome things...

Like running out of food on the trail. I got my meals divvied up and vacuum sealed today. The breakfast bar looks like I'm braced for an orienteering course at an orphanage right now. In spite of months of research, running the numbers, eyeballing the menu, cross-checking everything against the norm, plus adding 20% for error, I just can't quite trust that I'm not going to run out of food and get stuck sucking down pop tarts and being thankful for it. (So I just ordered an entire POUND of Pili Nuts. See how this is unfolding?) Man, you give a girl a vacuum sealer and she goes nuts.

Heh. Nuts.

Yeah, I'm tired.

But now that the food and the ring have been addressed, maybe I can get some decent sleep, yeah? And work on my coping mechanisms. That would probably also be beneficial. But for now, I have nuts and silicon and am feeling a little better.

Be encouraged!

~Dy

Monday, June 19

More Prep and Random Things

James' security clearance is good to go, and he starts actual work-work today. I suspect the good Lord let it drag out so long in order to help him be truly excited to work. 😏 Good stuff. He just finished taking his first professional certification, passed it, and he's on his way. It is very exciting to see your grown child follow his passion.

The guys think they've figured out why the Volvo keeps shearing bolts at the alternator. That's more exciting than it should be, but there you have it. We're easily pleased and appreciative. Also, it's NOT a $200 part! That just made it even better, as far as I'm concerned!

I've got the keto menu plan for Philmont just about nailed down. Now it's just a matter of buying the stuff and getting it portioned out. I put powdered heavy cream and powdered eggs on my list. Need to pick up packets of mustard and those little salt and pepper packets, too. If Z hadn't been working on the Volvo, the roast would be dehydrated by now. As it stands, I'm a little nervous about taking trail food that we haven't field tested... eee.

If these kids would just stop needing rides for a week or so, that'd be super helpful (although that's why Z's been working on the Volvo, so six of one, half a dozen of the other). I thought the Bigs would be able to haul the Littles at some point, but they went and got jobs. What's up with their responsibility getting in the way of my payoff? (Not really complaining, well... maybe a little.) Uber needs to set up a NannyCar option - background screened drivers with in-car video on CCTV and offsite storage. I could use that...

But, that said, our Philmont gear order is beginning to arrive. John's puffy jacket, sock liners, our pack covers and sleeping pads. My teeniny camp stove! I have to tell you, I. am. geeking. out over how little this stuff weighs! WOW! Mad love for technology and development! I'm guessing we'll be a lot more comfortable in-camp, as well, than I ever was on the trail. THIS IS SO EXCITING!!!

What's got you excited this month?

Be encouraged!

~ Dy


Wednesday, May 31

Fast Arrivals and Sudden Stops

The family has arrived! They pulled in on Sunday evening, and as quickly as they entered, all progress on the house gave way to time enjoying baby giggles and cousin laughter.

Z's taken them fishing and to the water park. He is a larger-than-life figure, and I think he's enjoying it just as much as they are.

Tomorrow, we take a pontoon out on the river for a day of cruising and cove exploration! We've got the menu planned and the route figured out. The nephews will get a chance to pilot a boat beneath the bridge if they're very good. (Probably even if they're not. But they're good kids, so I'd put money on making it happen.)

I didn't go fishing, but got to stay behind and hold the newest addition to the family - a wee baby with scrunchy-faced expressions and laughter that starts in the toes! I also got to visit (in the comfort of climate controlled, upholstered space) with my dear Sister-in-Law for a bit. I've gotta say, my Brother-in-Law married quite a gem. She is just fantastic.

I didn't make it to the water park, either. Jacob needed ferrying from point A to point B, back to point A, and again to point B, and so on... We had inadvertently overbooked this week. He thought he hadn't received the Space Academy scholarship (he hadn't expected to, since he did receive it last year), so he committed to the school sketches at the ballet school, which take place the same week. About a month later, they received more funding and went through the applicants to see who else they could award it to. His application passed the second round. It was a wonderful conundrum - but one that required a good deal of logistics and a wee bit of heckling to make it happen. He made it, though, to all the rehearsals and tonight's performance, and he's thoroughly engaged and having a successful camp experience.

He also napped in the car for about an hour before the show. I don't blame him. You can only go 90 mph for so long before you have to stop.

And rest.

Which is what we've all been doing this week with the family, and it's been nice!

We'll need to muster some spring in our gait before this weekend, though. It's about to get busy!

I hope your last week of May is going beautifully!

Be encouraged!

~ Dy