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Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Great White Hunter

Paco's name was drawn from over 600 entries at the Republican booth of the recent Brrrrrrrr Lake County Fair. He is now the dubious (my choice of adjectives, not his) owner of a Henry Golden Boy .22 LR/.22 MAG/.17 HMR invented by Benjamin Tyler Henry in 1860 something in Bayonne, NJ (heretofore regarded by myself as that part of the train trip into the city wherein one looked away from the smokestacks and obvious toxic wastes knee deep as far as the eye could see). Stay tuned. The arrival of this rifle has prompted some wheeling/dealing--another gun disappeared (a trade?) from the closet, and a "clandestine" meeting took place between Paco and a law officer in Utah wherein yet another gun was procured. I KNOW!!!! I'm thinking arsenal; you're thinking arsenal! Perhaps two guns does not an arsenal make, but this is a definite gear shift here at Provident Heritage Farm! Methinks optimistically the mere presence of guns will intimidate...mice?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Up and At 'Em...3 A.M.

I'm thinking of turning my blog into one solely powered by my insomnia. Some of you out there are doing that arm cocking thing and saying, "YES!" The last time this happened I was captive in the tent from HELL high in the Rockies. Fortunately at home I can cuddle up to my computer and read through some of my favorite obscure (definition: those blogs not written by people I know) blogs. So I found out my blog friend in Australia handed in her church "resignation" letter to her bishop. Not good. Further on she inserted this amazing TR quote: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
Teddy Roosevelt—“The Man in the Arena” speech, 1910
From the ridiculous to the sublime...I'm going to have my students memorize it the first week of school!! And my amazing French chef living in Paris friend posted about sourdough bread AND some grand sounding chocolate bread. She also described "Hidden Kitchens" which Wikipedia describes as private at home restaurants. You take reservations for say 12, and then cook an amazing meal! Obviously this is an economic venture--not sure it would fly here in Brrrrrrrrrr Lake, but itsn't it a smashing idea??? Speaking of which, over at Idea Room she blew me away with a "Slime" recipe that I think will get me through the first day of school next Tuesday!! And then I checked in on Amy who was sailing the world last time I read her blog. Apparently she aborted that mission and was drowning her sorrows at being landbound in the Guggenheim (which incidentally looks remodeled now. Last time I stuck my head in there briefly it was a flurry of dust and construction). One of the bloggers I read professed her atheism a few months ago and has really gone downhill since. Her blog used to be full of great book suggestions and some charming pictures of her farmhouse in Kansas. Now it reeks of very angry people ragging on everyone who believes in God and accusing them/us of having brains of mush! Another favorite blogger was flaunting some new shoes with really funky high heels. At six feet, heels are a new adventure for her, and she was having fun with "Heel (not boot) Camp" exercises in her new shoes. She's clever. A year or so ago she took off on a cross country road trip to meet all her readers. I almost met her in Salt Lake. I reread a sad kid-in-hospital story by my favorite blogster/pediatrican. Busy night here at Insomnia Central. If only I didn't have to get up in less than an hour to go with Paco to the temple. Oh, yeah I read about someone's anorexia and their cat's bladder infection supposedly caused by grief at the death of a companion cat. Can't forget that. Raining. Hard. Lightning. Thunder. Dog in lap. He hates it so.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"You're Starting to Grow Mold You're So Old!!!!"

Happy Birthday to our favorite 5 Year Old! Five years ago today you made me a Grammy for the very first time. And now you're reading and big sister to a brother and baby sister! Wow!!! I will probably never beat you in Toy Story Memory. You'll always be the better dancer. But I hope we can always be good friends anyway. I love you, Grammy

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It Happened One Night...

We arrived in Estes Park, CO (gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park) at the campground after the host had closed up shop, so we just picked a campsite--right by the bathroom/showers--and figured we'd settle matters in the morning. Methought this campground had been a gravel pit in a not-too-distant past. Oh, and didn't the tent slant downhill a little? Maybe not. Thus began one of the longest nights of my life. By folding my pillow several times I could compensate for the unusual amount of blood that rushed to my head as I lay down to slumber. Then the wind came. The rain flap whipped around, and I pictured us soaring over Colorado in our golden NorthFace two-manner. The wind howled down from the canyon like a train engine! I opened the tent to see if the rain flap could be salvaged. Fortunately it was secure albeit still flapping uncontrolably. It was at that point that the wind delivered about 4 gallons of sand into my mouth and covered our bag with a nice sheet of grit. Wind. Grit. Blood in my head resulting in a throbbing pain. Paco had crashed. Good. He can drive the 8 hours home. But what I hadn't accounted for was the bratwurst/heavy-on-the-onions he'd downed at our granddaughter's birthday dinner earlier. Be still my revolted stomach...Long long night. Wind, grit, throb--all on a digesting bratwurst/onion bun...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Making These! Get Yours!

The Banners! Not daughters-in-law or babies! These birthday banners make perfect family gifts for Christmas or year round. See me for details. I'm earning money for European travel next summer! Incidentally, as I'm posting this, I look out the window to the north. Our llama family is all standing on a large dirt mound (llamas like to change points of view also apparently) with their noses poised north. Most of the time they play "King of Bunker Hill" there and aggressively boot each other off, but today they're perfectly happy to share.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In Which I Harangue...

This book changed me. It was recommended by a spicy old gal I met at a gifted/talented conference I attended for a week in July at Boise State University which ALSO changed me. I've never been so excited for a school year to begin. If THAT'S not an advertisement for this book then...well, just then. I have nothing more to say. Oh wait! I do--this quote sent by Bruce Belnap yesterday who at this moment is feeling somewhat lost not anticipating a new school year for the first time IN A LONG TIME:
" IF YOU WANT TO BUILD A SHIP,DON'T DRUM UP THE PEOPLE TO GATHER WOOD, DIVIDE THE WORK AND GIVE ORDERS. INSTEAD, TEACH THEM TO YEARN FOR THE VAST AND ENDLESS SEA........ By Antoine De Saint Exupery-- the author of the Little Prince). Mary, get this book at the library. Get 4!!!!! Everybody else, run to your library. If you need to lie prone in front on the step until they get it, then do that. Now. Go!!! Git!!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Do You Ever Feel Like This?

This is Mort. As garden gnomes go, we've been fairly pleased with his general performance. You may recall that when he came originally he was prone to muttering subversive political mantras under his breath. We found that he was dramatically undermining the tenor of the English garden here at Provident Heritage Farm which we wanted to maintain. A little hypnosis and a swift kick in the knickers helped.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Room in Which to Sew

My mother taught me to sew. I remember that she was big on making samples of different sewing skills--a zipper, buttonholes, seams of all varieties(French, flat felt), which I made all the while wishing they were going into something wearable rather than just to show I had mastered the skill. As a small child I spent long hours in fabric stores with her WHICH I HATED. Those were kinder gentler times when mothers sewed and girls wore mostly homemade items. Now that is no longer true--but I DO love to buy fabric. When I started high school Mrs. Vermaas picked up the baton in home ec. We had a sewing room and a kitchen attached by a room where we tried on our sewing projects for fit. Of course, we balked at taking off the necessary clothing to try on the new things believing that a BOY could come charging in!! Unlikely, but nevertheless a fear. Mrs. Vermaas said, "If they haven't seen it, they won't know what it is!" I guess she was referring to what we would be exposing in that fitting room! As luck would have it, that high school sewing room is now MY 7th grade language arts classroom. I can still feel the aura. The fitting room got absorbed into an elevator shaft when the building needed to become handicapped accessible. The old kitchen (oh how I loved that room!!) is a regular classroom. I also took all manner of 4-H sewing classes making aprons, simple pants, dresses (we called them shifts), and ultimately a tailored wool suit under Joan Bunderson's tutelage. So now I sew in this room here in the old original part of the farmhouse here at Provident Heritage. I invested probably 50 hours of my mortality in refinishing the floor, and then I painted the walls butter yellow. It's most pleasant.

Gyawn Revisited--the G is Silent

3:38 A.M. Little black Gnats keep flying on the screen. I thought my cursor was moving--my eyes AND my mind were playing tricks. I smashed one. Now I have a permanent period because I don't want to scrape it off. I don't think you've ever met Gnoggin my Gnome. May I introduce you? Gnoggin was knitted a year ago for my friend Mary Jane. He arrived in NJ via airmail to bring her comfort and cheer in her very last days. Now he sits and waits for his next assignment. I'm thinking of entering him in the county fair next week. Guessing he'll be the fair's token knitted Gnome. Incidentally if you ever chance upon a recipe to make a hamburger shaped cake that instructs you to: "Line a 6 cup glass bowl with aluminum foil and bake the cake batter 70 minutes at 300" RUN LIKE THE WIND AWAY FROM THE KITCHEN. DO NOT LOOK BACK. DO NOT STOP TO REMOVE YOUR APRON.
Ah...a lonely train whistle. I should pause and write a poem. These nights of insomnia are interesting. When I awaken it isn't gentle with a "What sleep from yonder window breaks? 'Tis the moon and I with fair hand do embrace that bright orb." Nope. It's: "I'm awake. I'm up. I was sleeping and now I'm not. Time? What's that noise?" Smashed another Gnat. Oh, Gno. Now I have a permanent colon on my screen.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Yawn? Not even...

It's 2:40 A.M. The world slumbers. Not even a train passing at this hour. Paco and I have taken the hide-a-bed for the next week or so because we gave our guests the "suite". The hide-a-bed mattress is thin, and our bed (like most I've seen) bows a little giving us a sort of sandwich feeling. We have just a sheet (because it's summer) which is hard to keep tucked in. Paco's feet are sticking out. My mind has been racing with my pre-bed book,
and when I tried to count sheep some of them stumbled, and I lost count. So now I'm up. I rustled unsuccessfully through the medicine cabinet to see if I could chemically induce some sleep, ate a few animal crackers and a calcium caramel, and stared outside at the dark--letting the breeze wash over me. I'm not even a teensy bit tired. Boring yes. Tired no. Mugsy is barking outside. Say what??? I'll just let him in and hope he hasn't been fratrenizing with the skunks. Brrrrr...cold out there. Chilly dog fur when I hugged him. One of these nights the famous Bear Hollow wind will blow down the road and take out all our gardens--regular as clockwork in August here. We'll weep and wail...and plant again next spring. Slow learners. Tomorrow--adding 4 bags of "conditioner" to my garden to take out tangles I guess, putting in some brick borders I hauled home from Orem, setting up the trampoline, and pulling out all the stops on a fancy cake our 10-year-old guest showed interest in making. About this book I'm reading--according to this author, talent is overrated. It's possible (by putting in 10,000 hours and "deep practice"-ing) to exhibit genius. A great quote from Darwin says something about his never really detecting much difference in people except for effort and sweat. This opens up a whole new world! 10,000 hours and I can take home tennis trophies! 10,000 hours and I can play swooning music! I'm just 10,000 hours away from a bestseller! Actually 10,000 hours breaks down to 2 hours a day for roughly thirteen years. Of if I give it 8 hours a day then approximately four until I'll be on The View as someone having done something--say, like be president. Actually I HAVE spent 10,000 hours doing several things: sleeping, reading I'll bet, and teaching. And how about those Bronte sisters? All three of them stuck away in a drab parsonage with a cranky widowed father, and YET they wrote those smashing books? Well, it just so happens that they were prolific in turning out all manner of little mini 80 page novels. At least 10,000 hours clocked in for each of them. And all the other greats? 10,000 hours sculpting, painting, composing--you name it. Oooh, I smell the llamas through the open window here. The wind must have shifted. And something is flapping around the light bulb. I will just not look up because if I see a bat, I WILL infarc. Right here mid blog. Moth. Phew. I randomly "ran into" two friends of my daughter's today at the parking lot by Temple Square. I had never met them, but I saw their nametags and immediately recognized them from pictures. My daughter had tutored the wife in Japanese several years ago and then stayed a week in Japan with them on another occasion. Weird. We had to immediately call her. Nice surprise! Ho hum tweedly dum. I was emptying a drawer in our bedroom tonight and came upon a rolled up heating pad full of.....wait for it......wait for food!!! Yes, dog food!!!! According to my knitting friends (who witnessed me pulling dog food out of a knitting bag) we are the victims of mice squirreling away dog food for--I don't know--winter? The thoughts of mice scurrying through our house up and down stairs holding dog food high over their heads like a battering ram are too much for me. Or maybe they put it in their mouths and make multiple trips. I am THIS close to completely giving into the beasts and insects who plot against us pretty much around the clock here at Provident Heritage Farm. Who am I to stand in the way of the silent marchings of instinctual beings spurned on by much higher survival imprintings than I can comprehend? Flies. Mice. Skunks (who haven't ventured our way so much but have wreaked HAVOC at the neighbor's!!!!!) Bats. Birds who nest in all manner of places. Moles who burrow. 3:41. Still no train. Mugsy is making doggy dream whimper noises. At least HE'S sleeping. I'm wired. If I didn't worry about encountering mouse forces of dog food moving entities, I might venture back to the black bed of death. Maybe I'll chance it.

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley