Thursday, May 31, 2012

Clara the Brave

We needed to send a photo off to someone with both goats and the youngest three children, and Clara bravely volunteered for this hazardous duty. Forty-three shots and one bedraggled 16-year-old later, there were only TWO semi-usable photos! Poor thing doesn’t get paid enough for this :-).





And we found on the camera this fun shot, of one mud lovin’ duck girl:



What am I doing? Why am I not doing the photo-wrangling? I am (in between regularly scheduled chauffeuring and bad nausea days) sanding, sanding, sanding, and sanding. It’s looking good (or at least smooth). I’m thinking we’ll be ready for primer by the weekend.


Friday, May 25, 2012

A Life Tip from Sophia

Daughter Sophia has discovered that if you narrate everything you do in a quiet (and somewhat sad) fake British accent, it makes your life sound like a documentary . . . no matter what you happen to be doing.

“Bringing the laundry basket upstairs, Sophia notices that her mother looks nauseated and a bit tired. Was it the long homeschool day? She wasn’t sure”

Try it and your mundane chores will attain instant gravitas :-).

Limitations: Accepting

Ugh. It's so frustrating to be "losing" all of this Spring to the nausea (and, turns out, severe anemia - but I'm getting weekly IV iron to fix that all up). It's too easy to set myself up for this frustration by the long habit of full mental to-do lists, and the bar is so stinkin' low these days.

Little projects are happening. I'm not going to be able to do a whole garden this year. For one thing, I never started tomato seeds. I'll just plant what I can, and let the other beds have a fallow year, or aim for doing better at planting in July/August for winter crops than I always do. Thankfully the peas are coming up relatively well, as we always really enjoy snow/snap peas and I'd hate for the family to miss that. And the herbs are amazing again this year. I had a day where I needed to stay outside all day to babysit the goats, and I was able to sit on the sides of the garden beds (thank heaven for raised beds) and weed them all, so they look empty but nice.

The kitchen job is perking along as well. When I feel up to it, I can sometimes get in an hour or so of sanding. We're sanding off the textured paint on one wall of the kitchen where it needs to be smooth for our goal paint look. Oh I do love to watch it go. Almost as thrilling as when I scraped the popcorn off the bedroom ceiling!

Sadly, a setback. I've not finished waxing the cupboards yet, although that too is making progress, and the tops of all the cupboards have a dark edge that goes down about 3/4 inch. At first I thought The Patriarch had been less than careful while prepping the ceiling for paint (sorry sweetie) but no, looks like I didn't get all the greasiness when I prepped the top of the cupboards and it took awhile to seep through. What a mess! I'm kind of ignoring it a bit while I consider what to do. I used a strong degreaser and really thought I'd gotten it all.

This is standardized testing time of year, and my children take two separate sorts of tests. Gareth and Tarquin are finished with their proctored-online test, Clara did the PSAT earlier (which counts in our state for standardized testing for the year), and I have yet to administer an IOWA for Araminta and Lucinda. Nigel is finished with his first year of university - so exciting that he'll be a senior next year. And Sophia just has a couple of weeks left before her graduation from homeschool high school and receiving her AA.

So yes, everything is super busy. But there are so many days where driving to pick Sophia up and doing some math and reading with Tarquin, plus answering questions/mini lessons with the others are the only things I do, and that feels horrible. It feels like there's a big mountain of undone tasks that are sliding inch by inch toward smooshing us. People are so kind and ask all the time if there's anything they can do to help, but the stuff that weighs on my mind is just stuff I should have done long ago that would make the tough times (like now) easier, and I didn't. Impossible to say, "Why yes, thanks for asking, would you mind decluttering the family room?" "Sure, thanks for offering. Here's a two foot stack of paperwork. Probably most of it doesn't need to be kept".

So the trick is to just be OK with what I can do. What else is there? The Zofran does help somewhat, like a volume knob being turned down a bit. I can still "hear the music" but it's not as loud. I've been told by others with this lymphoma that in full remission, the nausea goes away, so there is a possible end to that. I have to have real reliance that not only is there a purpose in my life for this, but a purpose for each of my family, as well. And I do feel that in general, deeply, but the working-out-my-faith part comes in handling the daily frustration of just not getting anything done!

When I Back Out of Our Driveway

I must first move a sword, shoo the ducks from the gate, and make sure that little playing people are lined up on the grass where I can keep my eyes on them as I back up the van. I chuckle at the "I love you dady" written in the dust in the back of the van, thinking "that's gonna be mixed feelings when he sees that".

See what I mean? So incredibly blessed.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thoughts on Annie Sloan, Disneyland, and my own wee Hameau de la Reine

I’m such a hypocrite. What I’ve really disliked about this house, which embodies 1979, the year it was built, is the over-the-top artificiality of that era. For example, our baseboards are made of chipboard with a plastic contact-paper type covering imprinted to look like . . . wait for it . . . wood. Because that is so much better than the old, outdated practice of using wood baseboards, right? Everything that could possibly be fake is. It was the era of Cool Whip, polyester clothing, and just a couple of years before the advent of Chicken McNuggets.

Which kind of leaves the owner of one of these homes, the 1970’s split level, with a decorating dilemma. What does authenticity look like? Maybe just . . . harvest gold and “patchwork” kitchen carpet and a crochet blender cover.

Well, not gonna do it. So I’m embracing the hypocrisy, and have been working on turning my kitchen into a French country bistro look. I’ve been in old European kitchens, so yes I do know that this is the Disney version. And Annie Sloan is helping! It hadn’t occurred to me that our cupboards could be rescued, but she created her wonderful chalk paint that requires no sanding, no primer, and a quart stretches forever. Our cabinetry was covered in a coat of glossy poly, so the thought of prepping all that was just too daunting. I’m midway in the project now, but the cabinets are looking so dreamy! There will be a reveal in the future . . . I just wanted to ‘fess up.

So maybe Marie Antoinette didn’t really say “let them eat cake”, but I intend to, as happy creations come out of my own little “Hameau de la Reine”. Vive la make-believe!

Now That It Feels Like Spring

Selkie is thinking she’s a baby again. Nigel made the mistake of bending over to pick something up. Good thing it wasn’t Tarquin!


If You've Followed "The Dream House"

We've come to the last post about the dream house. Coming back from the orthodontist today, we drove past it for the last time, and saw a for sale sign, so I was able to look up the listing online to see what they'd done inside. So sad. After clear cutting all of the beautiful old nut and fruit trees and lovely growth that gave the property all the charm, whoever was remodeling it did a big ol' cookie cutter throughout. Gray carpet, "neutral" walls, granite counters . . . looks like a subdivision home anywhere. Interchangeable with any circa 2001 house. Now, if you adore 2001 home styles, great! You are likely a super happy house hunter, since there are so many on the market. But this was a 1944 charming farmhouse that had unfortunately been 1970'ized, and longed to return to 1944.

The cool, shady back covered area which would be such a perfect place for children to play outside in the rain or too-direct sun was walled in to make a garage so the former garage could be "RV parking". Ugh.

The upside is that I've no angst about it going up for sale, or longing for those beautiful fruit and nut trees and glorious 1.66 acres, since the remodel turned it into a bland lawn space. It's been a long road, but it's over. Just thought I'd like to write the ending out here, since the story had had the beginning on this blog as well.