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August 2008
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October 2008

September 2008

Home again

Today V went to her first Musikgarten class. We have quietly set aside the ballet class until January; then we will try again. So we're going to Musikgarten instead. V is the oldest kid in her class of four, but I think it's a good fit until she understands how things are done in the class. In January, she can move up to the 3-5 year old class if we continue with Musikgarten. I still feel a bit overwhelmed by finding things for her to do and friends for her to play with. We feel certain that we are going to homeschool (or unschool or tidal homeschool) and, while I certainly have nothing against her having friends who go to a traditional school, I would love to find a few people with kids in her age group who also plan to homeschool. But maybe I just haven't looked hard enough. There is still the SOFH meeting, and we will go to that again. She may be the youngest only child there (there are some young ones, but they have older siblings), but it's still something fun to do. I think I'm the one that's really feeling a bit lonely.

See this? It's a little candy dish, shaped like a log.

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My mom gave this to me this past weekend. It was my grandmother's. She says it had a lid at one time, but it was broken. I love the detail of the tree rings on the sides.

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Mom gave me two other things I'll share later. It's always wonderful when my mom gives me things I remember from the past (I just wish she'd have brought me some old pictures!). I can see that dish sitting up on the shelves in the den. I can see my grandfather out in the garden and my grandmother making cat head biscuits in the kitchen. I can taste those biscuits.

I put the dish in the window to take the picture, for the light. As I often like to do, I held the camera up and took a photo without looking through the viewfinder.

outside my window

I feel that lately my thoughts are going just like those branches - every which way. So I'm making lists to clear my head. That's the thing to do, right?


V's first photos

These are the first photos that V has taken all on her own. I've offered her the camera (my old Canon PowerShot A80) before and had to help her hold it and press the shutter button, but yesterday she saw the camera on the table and took it of her own initiative. She was more than able to take these photos all on her own. They make me so happy!

I'm sure most not-quite-3-years-old photographers have lots of shots like this one. Lovely color, isn't it?

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Happy girl!

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Long and skinny feet, just like her mom.

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These photos I helped her with. She was looking at the screen, which she had swiveled out, and was laughing at being able to see herself. She held the camera and I pressed the shutter button.

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Notice the skull shirt. She picked it out herself and R bought it for her (on sale for $1.99). I probably wouldn't have bought it, but he did the right thing. She loves this shirt. I much prefer my girlie girl, but I'm keeping my mouth shut about it. R says that if we have a boy next, at least we will have one shirt to hand down to him. So, you know, there's that!

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Well, the good news is that R went in to work early today, so he will get off earlier and I don't have to stress about V staying awake quite so late. That's a big relief. The bad news is that all my shoes are size 10 and, after having V, my feet are size 10.5. I don't really have time/inclination to go out on a wild goose chase for size 10.5 shoes - I already know they'll be very difficult/impossible to find in stores. So I plan on having squished feet for the wedding and bringing tons of Band-Aids.

There are a million things to do today and I feel more like going back to bed. It's dark and rainy out, slightly cool, and I'd rather bake an apple crisp than get ready for travel. V wants to bake more muffins.

Thanks to everyone who left me a comment on my sewing questions. I have a lot to think about.

So what are you doing this weekend?


To sew or not to sew

Ok, you crafty types out there, let me ask your opinion. More than a little inspired by posts like SouleMama's before-dinner skirts and the slightly cooler air blowing into town, I have started to get the sewing bug. One problem is that I don't have a machine. Another is that I haven't sewn anything from a pattern since high school home ec class and I certainly don't remember anything from that!

So what's a girl to do? Should I get a machine? Which one?

Should I take a class or can I figure it out on my own? The classes seem a bit ... expensive and the projects don't look like anything I would want to make.

How did you learn to sew? What are your favorite learning-to-sew sites? Any great free beginners tutorials you know of? What has helped you the most?

Please dear Internet friends, give me all the answers I seek...


Mette

Loving this dress I got from mette on Etsy. V will wear it to my brother's wedding this Saturday. Sure enough, once she put it on she didn't want to take it off. I don't blame her, really.

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I hope everyone will wish us a little luck on Friday. It's a 5-hour drive to Raleigh, NC, and, unless R can get off work a bit early, we won't be able to leave until about 8:30 or 9pm. You might not think this is a problem, but V will not sleep in the car. Not ever. When we drove down to Georgia a few weeks ago, we got there after midnight and she didn't sleep a wink for the whole 4+-hour trip. This time around, we're going to bring our white noise machine with us in the car instead of packing it (can't sleep without it), but I'm not sure that's going to help. V just doesn't want to miss a thing!


Tasty treat

Ah, yes. The muffins turned out lovely. Big, warm chocolately pumpkiny deliciousness. I highly recommend them. I've tried several of Farmgirl Susan's recipes and they have never disappointed. Pretty good with cream cheese on them too. I didn't buy nearly enough cream cheese, though - gotta save some for the bagels.

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V could hardly wait until they cooled down to have one.

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Today the mail brought the dress V is going to wear to my brother's wedding. I got it from etsy and it is super cute! I tried to match the dress to the personalities of my brother and his fiancee. They're not your average Joe/Josephine and I doubt if this will be your average wedding. Will try to take a picture of her in the dress tomorrow. Of course you have to be careful about these things - when she sees it, she'll want to try it on immediately and then she won't want to take it off and then all of a sudden it's covered in peach yogurt and then the crying begins (that'd be me crying, not her).


Pumpkin muffins

V and I are making Farmgirl Fare's Spicy Pumpkin Pecan Raisin Muffins. Except that I didn't put in any pecans (only because V wouldn't like them and isn't used to eating nuts yet, normally I'd be all about the pecans) and I substituted chocolate chips for raisins. I'm sneaky that way. Wherever I can sneak some chocolate in, in it will go! Chocolate is the fifth food group. Isn't it?!

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They're in the oven right now. I can smell them. Mmmm-mmmmmmmm!

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Miss V couldn't wait and took a little taste before they went in.

I'll let you know how they are in a bit...


Snippets: talking V

We're at the grocery store, me and V. She needs more bubble bath. So I ask her, "Do you want Dora, Elmo, the Hulk, Cars, Mr. Bubble, Princesses, or Spiderman?" She looks at all her choices for a good minute. So many colors, so many options. I start to get impatient, "Which one, V?!" Finally she says, "But they're all so pretty!"

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Never a good sleeper, for the longest time V nursed to sleep in our bed. Finally, at 28 months old, we'd nurse for a few minutes and then she'd get in her crib and sleep there for a few hours before coming to our bed. Now she goes to sleep in her own twin bed. We don't nurse until later, when she comes to our bed and she's too sleepy and cranky to keep her feelings in check. Our routine is this: read two books, get into bed with at least one of the books, arrange animals, lights off, R or I count to 100, then we leave her to fall asleep on her own. The counting really helps her get ready for the few hours of separation. I lay down on the bed to count and she hugs my arm, "I'll have you Mama," she says. I know she'd rather nurse, but I need a break. I need it to end sooner rather than later. It's difficult for the both of us.

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Sitting at the table having lunch, V says, "Two plus two is four." She's been saying that for a while now, but then when you'd ask her what three plus two is (or anything else), she'd still say four. "That's right," I say, "but what's three plus two? Do you know?" "Yes," she says, and she thinks for a moment longer. "Five." "You're right, it's five. So then what's five plus two?" ... "Do you know?" "Yes," she says. She looks at one of her hands, fingers spread wide. "Seven," she announces. R and I look at each other, a little shocked. "Ok, well what's five minus three?" She thinks. "It's two." I look at her and think, I hope she's always this fearless with numbers.


Zoob!

I think Zoob is the coolest toy I've ever seen. Brilliant! I want them. All of them in the world. Then I'll build my own Maya World. With a koi pond and Zoobkoi fish.  Feel free to come over - especially if you're bringing cookies (that means you, Alexis!) - I'll build you your own chair.

Do you think 3 is too young for Zoobs? Maybe. I'd like to find out, though. Check out the video.

Must. have. Zoobs.


A typical kid

Something I never think about: In the fall of 1986, I started my senior year in high school at a boarding school where you were in the classroom for four hours a day and worked at a job on campus for four hours a day. I started out that school year working in the new nursing home that had been established in the old hospital right next to campus.

It wasn't long before I was screaming to get out of that job. By Christmas I had been given a job helping the home ec teacher. But while I was there, part of my job was to go to each patient's room in the morning for "reality orientation." I'd walk in and tell the patient the day and date in a cheerful voice and then pull open their curtain for them. I'd get them water or whatever they needed and help them out of bed, if necessary.

The patient I most identified with was a woman named Ginny. Though she had cancer, she seemed the least sick of all the patients there. There was another woman whose name I forget now, but I spent a lot of time with her too. She would hold my hand and tell me what I'm sure were lovely stories of her childhood that I couldn't understand because she'd tell them in Croatian. She spent most of her time strapped in a wheelchair. Often she would wheel herself over to the door and spit behind it.

There are other stories I could tell, but I'd really rather not think of them. I will say that my least favorite days were the days when I would come in to find a room cleaned and empty. I hated that job because it made me so sad - sad when someone was gone and sad to see someone new come in to take their place among the sick and demented and dying. I was already an angst-ridden teen; I really didn't want any more sadness in my life.

So if you knew that about me, and if you knew other certain things about me, like exactly how tenderhearted I can be or how full of rage I get when I hear stories of parents who abuse and neglect their children (don't we all?), then you might wonder why I picked up a book called My Lobotomy: A Memoir. I was in Barnes and Noble when I saw it. I picked it up and read the back cover and put it down and walked away. Five minutes later, I picked it up again. This is what the back cover says:

My name is Howard Dully. In 1960, when I was twelve years old, I was given a lobotomy. My stepmother arranged it. My father agreed to it. Dr. Walter Freeman, the man who invented the "ice pick" lobotomy, performed it. My family paid the hospital $200. And I never understood why. I wasn't a violent kid. I had never hurt anyone. I wasn't failing out of school. Was there something I had done that was so horrible I deserved a lobotomy?

I asked myself that question for more than forty years. Then, when I turned fifty-four, I went looking for the answer.

I read that and I had to know. Why on earth would a doctor perform a lobotomy on a normal twelve-year-old? Why would his father ever agree to it? Wasn't there any advocate for this boy? I absolutely had to know.

Once I started reading, I discovered that the book came about because someone from NPR found Howard and decided to do a story on him. I thought it was going to be hard for me to listen to, but I wanted to hear his voice. I'm glad I did. Howard has made a life for himself - against much greater odds than most. He is one of Dr. Freeman's luckier patients. He was young enough when it happened for his brain to adapt to the "surgery," and he has been able to tell a story that others have not been able to tell. Though I thought that I would find this book depressing, and it is rough-going there for a long while, by the end Howard is at peace with his past. And I'm thinking of Howard often and wishing him well.


It's here!

V's new blue guitar is here. She's been playing and singing with it for about half an hour now and it's just about the sweetest thing I've ever seen. I wish I knew what I did with our little point and shoot - it's the only thing we have that shoots video. Grrrr.

She's pickin' and grinnin'!

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In other news, Windows wanted to download an update yesterday, so I did and now my screen is all wonky. Nothing is the right ratio - everything is too narrow. I haven't been able to figure out how to fix it. If you know, please let me know!


Cupcakes for V

My dear friend Rachel from Memories of Mine to Thine sent V a lovely housewarming gift for her new kitchen - three awesome handmade cupcakes! So this morning, V decided to make a pumpkin pie.

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Then she decided it was a chocolate pumpkin pie.

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Then she went to the frosting store and got some frosting for the pie. She frosted the pie with her cupcakes.

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Finally, we ate the pie and the cupcakes! Oh, we are so decadent!

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Chris from The Crafting Nook made the cupcakes. Thanks Chris - you did a great job. And thanks Rachel - you are the best! Hugs!

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September October November and random thoughts

My brother is getting married in less than two weeks. So we'll be going to North Carolina for the wedding. I got V the cutest dress on Etsy for the wedding. I'm not sure I have anything to wear. I need to check my closet to see if what I think I'm going to wear actually looks ok together. My mom has made a felt book for V and she'll be bringing it for her. She made one for us when my brother and I were small and it was our favorite toy. I can't wait to see what this one has in it - I'm hoping it'll be just the distraction she needs to get through the wedding without one of us having to walk around with her, missing the love.

V's third birthday is in October. We're planning to drive down to Georgia to have a family birthday party. I am looking forward to taking pictures of the old fireplace. I have a few pictures I took a couple of years ago with my point and shoot,

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but I'm very excited about getting new shots with my D80.

My dad lives very near where my mom's father was born and lived until circumstances took them to the city. They were farmers. Out there in the country is a small graveyard where Granddaddy's parents and other relatives are buried, the fireplace above that was a part of one of the houses they lived in, and a big bunch of nice houses in a new subdivision on the land they once worked. Rumor has it that they used to have their own mill there and I always wondered when it was torn down and by whom. It's always a quick weekend when we go down there, but I'm hoping that I can wander off and get some photos.

I was born on Thanksgiving Day, and this year my birthday will be on Thanksgiving again. It happens about every seven years. Growing up, I always liked having been born around Thanksgiving. Fall is my favorite time of year, and I always had off school for my birthday because of the holiday. I think this year my mom will come up for Thanksgiving. And I'm sure she will make my grandmother's cornbread dressing and, with that and a few cans of cranberry sauce (yeah, i prefer the stuff that comes out shaped like the can.), it will be a satisfying holiday indeed.

I'd better get finished unpacking before the holidays, huh? Actually, we're waiting on a bookcase to be delivered in the next couple of weeks and then I think we'll be able to start getting it together a bit more easily. Right now I open a box and think, gee, I don't have anywhere to put that. I'm not sure why I think a bookshelf is going to solve that problem for me, but I do. Now is the time when I really wish I could sew - we need several sets of curtains before it gets cold. V was up at 4 am this morning and I think it would help if we had light-blocking curtains.

Also, the cat has started scratching my new blue chair. I might start looking for a recipe for white cat soup if she keeps it up.

Not really. Miss Kitty always wears me down with those green eyes and that sweet little face.

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Special box

There was one box left in V's room. I had no idea what was in it. So I got it down from her bookshelf today and started going through it. I knew it had been packed away for a while because the box was from some cookware we got as a wedding gift 6 years ago.

When I opened it, I realized this was my special box, full of many of the breakable things I find most special. Love.

This is a Fenton candlestick that was given to me by a woman I used to work for. She owned a clothing shop and I worked there while I was in (and out and back in) college. Once there was a candle in it that I couldn't get out, so I put the oven on barely warm and stuck it inside to melt the wax. Don't ever do that. A small piece broke right off. I superglued it. Don't tell anyone. I have been on the lookout for a match for many, many years. I've never seen another one.

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This is an Edwin M. Knowles China Co. plate that a friend gave to my mom and then she later gave to me. It will go on the wall. I was told that it's very precious, but I don't know that for sure so I'm not taking any chances. I used to have quite the collection of usable vintage plates, teacups, etc. But I got rid of them all because I am an idiot. Or because I didn't have the fortitude to cart them around all five towns in three states we've lived in. Take your pick of excuses.

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This is my grandmother's teapot. It is a Hall. I had completely forgotten I had it. I thought my mom had it. She has one or two of my grandmother's teapots that are even older, but this was her everyday teapot and the one I love best. Even though it looks kind of like a genie bottle and is missing its lid and innards. It had a white ceramic strainer inside, if I remember correctly. No idea where the lid and innards are. The handle is cracked. I'm sure it will look like junk to many people, but when I felt the shape of it, covered in newspaper inside the box, I gasped aloud and my heart sang.

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I'll be cleaning the teapot up soon. Then I may work on making a photosynth of it. That would be really cool, I think.

Oh my, what could this be for?

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Hmmmmm...have you ever seen one of these? Bling!

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When I was a kid, my friends L and S each had one of these (they're twins). For years and years, long after I should be admitting to doing so, I'd beg and plead until they'd bring one of them out for me to play with.Then one day, I realized the power of ebay and got my own. I also got a Magic Window from ebay, but that's a post for another day.

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Supersize Barbie is an 18-inch Barbie doll that was made in the late 1970s. She comes with a silver swimsuit and a matching satin skirt and pants.

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V particularly liked the ring and the barrette that come with it.

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I love the box too. The 70s rule.

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TGIF, y'all! I have it on good authority that V's Hello Kitty that I promised her for her 3rd birthday next month (and which she's been talking about for going on 6 months now) will be on her way home today, wearing a kimono. Shhhhhhhh! Don't tell!

Happy weekend!


I haven't forgotten

What I wanted to do today: Sleep until 7am, sit in front of the TV and watch and remember. Ignore everything else. Cry. Pray. Eat cookie dough ice cream. Feel melancholy.

What I actually did today: Got up at 4:45am because V wouldn't go back to sleep. Made V eggs for breakfast and ate Raisin Bran myself. Sent R off to work. Got V dressed in boy's gray sweatpants and a pretty shirt, robin's egg blue. Took her to a local arts center for her first pre-ballet class. She was so excited and can't wait to get her "ballet outfit." She was the only one without leotards, tights, and shoes, and I'm sure it didn't help her focus. She was all over the place. There's a staircase leading to the room and I sat there for a few minutes and watched, but then I realized she really didn't need me there. So I moved down the stairs and sat there within earshot so I'd know if they needed me. They didn't. Though V wasn't the only one she corrected, I heard her teacher say things like, "V ... V ... V, are we supposed to sit in the center of the circle? Nooooo. We're supposed to sit on our rug." And, "V, if you are talking to E, then you and E can't hear me when I'm speaking."

After class, I let V play with the toys they had in the lobby for a little while. Then she saw the guitar - like white on rice, she was. The only way I got her out of there was to tell her we were going to Target to get her ballet outfit.

When we got there, the leotards and tights were all too big, but she got ballet slippers and that was enough to make her happy. She wore them around the store still fastened to each other, her feet pressed together tight. On the way home, she started crying because she wanted me to buy her a guitar. I told her maybe later, but not today. When we got home, she started crying to go back to ballet class. I told her it is over for this week, but that we'll go back next week. And the next. And the next. And the one after that. She was very tired from waking up at 4:45.

We napped. For three hours. It was bliss, but I woke feeling groggy. And down. It is impossible for me to get through this day every year and not feel like something's missing. Like people are missing even though I did not personally know a one of them. We colored with markers. V colored all over her robin's egg blue shirt. I let her do it; I admired her work. They are washable markers. We watched TV. Yo Gabba Gabba. The episode titled "Love." R was home by then. I made dinner. V got ready for bed. She's asleep now and I've been working. I haven't watched the news all day. Yet I remember. How could I forget?

What I am most thankful for today is my family. For opportunity. For freedom. For love. For a pretty robin's egg blue 1/4 size guitar that will come in the mail for my girl next week. For one last precious year of not having to tell my daughter that everything is not right in the world.


My flair

I don't much care for Facebook, but everyone is on it and so am I. It helps me keep in touch with some people I wouldn't much keep in touch with otherwise. So I guess it's useful. Sort of.

But I love my flair. Love it! Here's my current flair.

my current flair on facebook

I can have all these buttons without having them clutter up my house. Brilliant!


Kind

plum tree

This is the tree that a kind reader, Kim, had her mom mail me after she read my posts on making saft. It's a wild plum tree. Kim says that her parents have two of these trees and more are always sprouting up in their yard so they usually just mow them down. Otherwise they'd soon have a wild plum orchard, I suppose.

It arrived Tuesday, I potted it Wednesday, and I can already tell that it's getting bigger. I'm sure it'll outgrow this little pot soon enough, but I plan to keep it potted until we buy a house next year. Then it'll go in the yard. I've already told V that this is Mama's Tree and that she is not to pull the leaves off. So far, so good. Ha ha. We'll see. She is a plant mangler extraordinaire.

Early this evening, I took a walk outside with my camera. While I was doing laundry today, I saw what appeared to be some new, very pretty white flowers blooming in the yard. But when I got there, they were just very, very tall dandelions. And the rain we had today made them decidedly less pretty then they might have been. But I found some other pretties around.

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I don't know what these are, but I saw a doe in the backyard eating some just the other day. Haven't tried them myself, but they look tasty - visually, anyway. These are pokeweed! This video will tell you almost everything you need to know about poke salad (can't tell you how much I love this song. ah, good times.). The only other thing you need to know is that large parts of the plant are poisonous to eat, so proceed with caution.

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And this reminds me of an Eames print that I have and love, though my photo's not nearly so heavenly. I can't tell you how much I want a macro lens right now!

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Why does the weekend always seem so short? It's halfway over already and there's still so much left to do!


KidsHaus' Etsy shop/giveaway

I have been reading Michelle's KidsHaus blog for a while - I like it lots! She always manages to find unique things for kids that I never would've known about otherwise. But Michelle is also a talented artist. She recently opened a shop on Etsy where she's selling her gocco prints and I thought I'd share it with you because I think they are simply fantastic.

This is Frau Bird. She would go great in V's room with her new quilt, which has similar birds on it. I like feeling of motion from her song. I think she needs to fly on over to my house.

Frau bird

This one is new - it's called roar growl. I love the words on the print and how their eyes are closed. They are such the distinguished gentlemen!

Roar growl

This one, called Blooming, reminds me of the "me book" I had when I was a kid. It's all about a friendly giraffe named Ayapap Ayam who comes to visit me (Maya Papaya), and we spend the afternoon together. This one might have to come live with us too.

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I hate to mention it because I really want to win and I don't really care to increase the competition, but Michelle is hosting a giveaway on her blog. The winner receives one print from her shop. So head on over and check it out. Good luck!


Details of Erwin, TN

I don't know what's wrong with me lately, but I'm feeling kind of ornery. When V starts with her 2-year-old belligerence I say, "Don't be ornery!" So I'm trying to tell myself that. Normally, I go along happily because things are pretty good in my life. I have no reason to complain. But the old dissatisfaction comes up from time to time where I simultaneously feel that I should be doing more and doing less. Don't ask me - I don't know what that means.

So last week, V and I drove out to Erwin, TN, and I took all sorts of photos. But when I went to edit them, I was feeling ornery and decided that I really only wanted to focus on the details, so I cropped them to try to capture what I thought were the most interesting parts. I've been thinking a lot lately about schooling. Homeschooling, specifically. This might seem unrelated, schooling and cropping photos for detail, but in my head they have everything to do with each other. I've been reading books and websites. My whole way of thinking has been turned upside down by this book. I'm still wrestling with it all. When I light on something like this, I tend to get a bit obsessed and then it's all I can think about or read about. At some point, my brain feels full and I have to take a step back.

Or in this case, a step closer. For some reason, I found the details of these photos soothing. I would never let vines grow on my porch like that, but look at how they're reaching up. They would cover the house eventually, if they were allowed.

Details of Erwin

When people paint things around their houses red and white, it can only ever remind me of my granddaddy. I'd like to meet the people who live in this house. Are they young? Or older? I hope they sit in that swing often and enjoy glasses of sweet tea. That's just what that porch was made for.

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I love the steps to this porch. The little bit of red brick where the paint has worn off just makes it for me.

Details of Erwin

One more door before we move downtown. One more door because, well, look at it. It's gorgeous.

Details of Erwin

This is my favorite picture from downtown. This pretty much tells me everything I need to know about Erwin. It tells me I want to go back and stay a while.

Details of Erwin

I can't remember if this antique shop is the same one as the photo above or a different one. I'd love a good hour in there, but I'd settle for 15 minutes - especially if I didn't have to worry about little hands grabbing and breaking the pretty china.

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A glorious church window.

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Someone had a stained glass window made for their law office. Seems like that would be a necessity in this town.

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An ice chest in an alley. But what I'm really wondering is who put the flower pot down next to it and how long has it been there? How long will it be there?

Details of Erwin

I have no answers yet, only more questions.

***

More small town excursions here. More photos from my trip to Erwin here.


Houses I have lived in: the bungalow

It came with about a hundred chickens.

The bungalow was the first house R and I lived in when we married. I called it "the bungalow," but it was really a single-wide trailer. My dad let us live there rent free. The previous tenant had gotten himself a flock of chickens, but no coop. He left a giant bag of feed for them. My dad had him come and get them, but there was no way to catch them all. So we had chickens for a while. I adored them. I loved watching our indoor-only cats chirping at them through the screen door. I looked forward to feeding them, having them gather around me. I was in awe over their pretty colors, and I often mimicked their unique chicken sounds along with them.

The bungalow was way out in the country. Way out and then set back off the road where no one could see it. My commute to work was an hour and a half. The second day I was 5 minutes late because of an accident on the highway, and my boss called me into the office to talk about it. She said that I needed to leave earlier in the morning and to be there on time. Punctuality is the most important thing in the world. That night, I woke up at 3am and saw that the bathroom garbage can was full to overflowing, so the next day I called in sick and the day after that I quit. I'd never quit a job without another one lined up.

Everything was brown. Brown outside and brown inside. Brown carpet, brown walls, brown cabinets. Brown. There was no real hallway. It was pretty much one room after another all in a row. Bedroom, bathroom, eat-in kitchen, living room, bedroom with half bath. The roof was flat. It was unnecessary to lock the doors out there nestled in the woods, but we did it anyway. Locking the door reminded me of unscrewing a child-proof medicine bottle.

Eventually, we were down to three chickens: Baby Girl Chicken, White Chicken, and Buddy. Baby Girl began nesting in the safest place she could find - the burn barrel. Someone, at some time, had gotten hold of a big, metal drum and put it in the yard to burn whatever household waste would burn. The center had rusted out and disintegrated, so the top half rested lopsided on the bottom. It was full of ashes, but had some broken down boards from an old dresser at the top of it that had not burned. The hen sat there. When you came close, she caused a huge ruckus. Eventually, I found her abandoned eggs, none of them fertilized. But a month or so later, she was walking around the yard with a fluffy, yellow baby chick. White Chicken and Buddy stayed with Baby Girl and the three of them formed a little triangle around the chick for protection. That was the only day we saw the chick, though, and soon we were down to just White Chicken. When we moved out, back toward Atlanta, White Chicken was still around, roaming the woods. I wished him luck, I really did, but I knew he'd make some hawk a nice dinner one day.

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More houses I have lived in here.