Monday, December 29, 2008

Not Yet

Since I truly starting keeping this blog I have missed the mnost days in a row...which isn't really a long time by normal standards, but is practically an eternity for me! Things like this can very quickly fall to the wayside as I make other priorities in my I guess I cna feel confident that the blogging is doing me some actual service.

So, I was a little nervous after missing so many days, I actually wondered if I had already ended it in my head. But no, I was just sick. Not sick like I was last february, with bronchitis and early pneumonia, thank God, but sick enough with a head-then-chest cold that blogging was out of the question. But I am not down and out....only sidelined! I have pushed through and reached the other side of my illness. The 15 hours of sleep I got yesterday probably had something to do with that.

I have been keeping busy (when not on the couch or in bed) getting caught up on household projects and getting organized before my next semester at school. I started the last one so quickly that I had no time to prepare, either mentally or logistically. I hope this time it will be better. The kids and I are sharing more chore workload, and I am making a good space to study and read. Thankfully I still have two whole weeks to accomplish some projects (curtains for the windows, a couple skirts for my fat hips)and stock the freezer.

Christmas was fine. My mom made it down for a few days, in between rain/ice/snow storms. We never got a tree put up; the boys were not interested, and Steve was not interested in gathering one. Frankly, I was not feeling spry enough myself, so we made do. We had a lot of fun, even though there wasn't a lot under the tree. We're still eating our ubiquitous Christmas chocolate!

Now it is time to start an exercise routine. I am too heavy, and out of shape. Also, I have to do a summer internship, and need to be able any physical labor i may face.

This is not, however, a New Year's resolution- those are simply another opportunity for me to fail. Instead it will be a monthly goal. Bite-sized pieces. Like the Snickers........


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Making memories

So, we were hanging out in Portage, Indiana, where most of my husband's vast extended family lives. We had a lovely time at his mom's house, as previously mentioned, and we stopped by to see his dad on Saturday. Dad lives with his father, Grampa Godby, who is going to be 91 in April. Along with Steve's dad, Grampa also has living with him a grown daughter and a grandson who is a grandfather himself, Steve's cousin Randy.

With my boys there for the visit, there were four solid generations of Godby's for the conversation. Naturally, since this bunch are not known for their placid childhoods, the conversation turned rather sharply from the new President-elect to the shenanigans pulled by a wide variety of brothers, sisters and cousins. Because this particualr family does nothing halfway, we were in stitches laughing for the better part of an hour, even though some of the stories we had heard every year since Steve and I married nineteen years ago!

Now, I have some pretty silly stories from my childhood in Vermont, with my sisters and the neighbor girls, but nothing like what these people got into. Some things were downright foolhardy and participants were lucky to come out alive. Some are just the junk kids pull and laugh about when they are grown. But my kids are indoor types, preferring to hang out and play video games, despite my best efforts to get them involved in something else. I was feeling regret that my kids wouldn't have the same type of stories to share around a heater on a bitter winter's day, so I expressed my frustration. "You boys need to get out from in front of the television and make some memories before it's too late!"

Little did I know they would take me "seriously" and begin right away! Sunday night they were driving home from a friends house, a good twenty miles away. Steve and I were were tucked snugly into bed when the phone rang. That late at night we always ignore the first one; but then it rang again. "Uh-oh, this can't be good," Steve says. So we pick up the phone. It's Phil, who got his full license six weeks ago, but drove all last winter with his permit. "Uh, sorry Dad, but we got stuck in a snow drift. The road was perfectly clear and suddenly it was not. We can't get out, no way, no how." Did I mention it was minus five degrees out and the wind chill factor was about twenty below??

So we start dressing in out warmest clothes, warming up the four-wheel drive pickup and searching for our logging chains to pull them out. In the process we are clambering over bags of leaves that didn't get picked up by our township in time, and I am taking face-plants in the snow after tripping over one of many five-gallon potted roses that never made it into the ground before the freeze. (I did mention the temperature, right??)

We arrive on the scene to discover that the boys have called the family whose house they just left, and the Mr. and their friend are keeping the boys warm in their vehicle while the father of another friend has arrived with his big ol' truck and a plow. (You guys ROCK!!!!) See, there will be no pulling them out with the truck. Nor will there be any shovelling out of the car, because it is a full thirty feet into a foot-deep drift that has packed and frozen. The car is past it's axles in packed snow.

So JB, God bless him, starts pushing snow. And pushing snow. And pushing snow. (Did I mention the temperature? It was WAY worse out in the flat country with no wind blocks.) The short story is that he eventually gets enough snow cleared so that chains will reach the car and it can be dragged out of the drift. Yay!!!

The car makes it out of the drift, but we have bent the control arm in the process, so we still have to have the darn thing towed then a repair made. We are forever grateful that noone was hurt or frozen in the process. Both boys learned some valuable lessons, though, not the least of which was that when you start "just poofing through" small drifts on the road when it hasn't even been snowing, you are on the wrong road. In other words, don't take the stinkin' back roads when the weather is awful! Secondly, they learned firsthand why I nag them to take along coats, hats, gloves and boots every time they are out driving in winter. It doesn't only take a lack of judgement to sideline a car in winter. Be prepared! (They did, at least, have coats. One had a hat, the other had some gloves.)

It's not quite what I had in mind when I told them to start making memories; thankfully nobody was hurt. They will retell it and laugh about it when they are thirty.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My very own "C"

I am d-o-n-e with College Algebra! I still wish I had done better, but no matter. I am done and don't have to retake the course!

This past weeknd we travelled (right after another ice and snow storm, of course,)to Indiana to have Steve's family Christmas. My MIL and her husband open their home and buy gifts to pass around. There are not as many little ones as there has been in past years, but it was fun anyway. For several years I have gottena little tightly wound over the whole buying-gifts-because-it's-expected part of Christmas. I mean, why would I spend 50 bucks on you so you can spend fifty bucks on me? Don't get me wrong, I love to give gifts, especially meaningful ones or ones that really matter, like charutable gifts. And I tried ot break the cycle, I really did. We explained ot MIL that we don't need anything or expect anything, and how about a gift from us to Heifer International in your name? I think they would rather have gotten a lump of coal. I felt like a heel, which is another whole issue in itself, a post for another time, but it made me think about how much my MIL LOVES to give gifts, loves the whole wrapping paper and mess. I concluded that it doesn't really matter that half the gifts she gives us get quietly donated to the Hospice resale shop, it is really the joy she gets in giving and shopping that matter to her. I learned to ask her what she wants, and just buy it; that way I also don't stress about what to get her when they want for nothing. It doesn't matter if it is not a surprise, it doesn't matter if it didn't cost a lot. It matters to me, now, because it matters to her.

And now, something completely random but incredibly cute and amusing:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Loss

This past weekend I lost another grandparent. Technically he was the father of my step-mother, but he and his wife (my step-mother's step-mother) always treated me no differently than any of their "real" grandkids. They were not very demonstrative grandparents, and I cannot say I learned anything profound from them- in fact they have always been kind of bicker-y and difficult; especially in the later years- but they were a part of my family, and I theirs, and I appreciate that fact. Grampa Kelly always did have a smile and a hug, and he smelled of pipe smoke for all of my younger years. A barrel-chested Irishman, he never took guff from anyone. He passing is still mourned.

My maternal and paternal grandparents have all passed away, and my husband's grandmother has passed; that means that of all our grandparents, in-law, step and otherwise, two remain- Steve's Grampa Godby and my Gramma Kelly. That is a lot of history lost....

A first follower!

Okay, so I had to beg, plead and bribe with a prize...but I have my first follower! Thanks, JK, for lending some legitimacy to my humble musings!

I am supposed to be leaving for an appointment several miles from here, but I pore over this blog instead, too excited about my first follower. Really, the problem will arise with the snow-we got another six inches last night. I am incredibly lucky though, because Snowblower-Guy lives across the street and two houses down...and he loves his snowblower! Enough that when it snows he makes the rounds of the neighbors and helps clear their driveways. We LOVE snowblower-guy, and had the privilege of returning the favor by helping him clear some downed trees during our almost-tornado last summer.

But I still have to clear off the cars and move them around before I can go...guess I better get crackin'!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fall-back Plans

The semester is as good as finished, finally, and it was a long time coming. That is, IF I got at least 44 point on my math final, and that is not as self-effacing at it might seem. I really sweated bullets during the exam, and I am not positive I got those needed points. I am reasonably confident of somewhere between 60 and 65 points....if I was careful with my calculations and didn't make the dumb mistakes I am known to make.

What I learned was this: it really IS okay to make a C, especially if everything else in an A. That it still a really good cumulative GPA.

So I was looking at my Spring 09 schedule, and while it LOOKS very, very full it really is only about 17 hours, minus my internship and field study registrations. These won't really add much to my schedule; one is a summer internship job, and the other a four-day trip. So for those 17 hrs I get to take Botany for Horticulture, Internship orientation, Perennial Flowers, Nursery Management, Beginning Floral Arrangments, and General Biology and lab. Those last two are my hedge-bets. I need those to take Anatomy and Physiology, and I need to have taken both of those before I can apply for the nursing program (if I so desire.) So, if it looks like Landscape Design will be a poor choice in this economy, I have a fall-back plan.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Math relief

Some good news and bad news in regards to math. Our final is to be taken this next Monday afternoon, and I have been sweating it, big time. The good news, however, is that I only need to make a 44 our of 100 to get a C, and making a C means not having to re-take the course. The bad news is that no matter how well I do on the final I will not be able to achieve a B.

I think I will just be grateful for my C! :o)

On a completely different track: Christmas is difficult this year. I love the season, and we don;t go crazy with decorations or parties or whatnot, so it is not necessarily a stressful time. But we do like to give one or two nice gifts to the kids; we don't buy them a whole lot during the year aside from what they need for clothing and see Christmas as an opportunity to get them soemthing special. The problem this year is not with buying for Matt- he always has a list of wants, and we did early Christmas when he saw a sweet Fender Telly guitar at a garage sale for a really low price. Its hard to not have anything under the tree for him (maybe some clothes anyway) but he is so happy with that guitar he doesn't care. (He wants his sennior portraits taken with it! :o) )

The difficulty comes with our Phillip. At sixteen, he has very few wants. He listens to some music, but is not constantly plugged-in. He does some gaming, but one or two different games suits him just fine. That leaves clothes or books, and it also means a giftcard for them so he gets what he wants. Lamesauce. *sigh*

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Well, I tried.

Alright, I really wanted the above slideshow to be a "gadget" in the sidebar, but either I am more technically challenged than I thought or I am just seriously missing something. I cannot get a sidebar slideshow going!!! Even more than that, I cannot add text to the same post as the slideshow. Wish I had a clue.

But these are some of my roses from this year. I have had a passionate affair with the rose this year, and it got a little out of control. But I am proud to say there are only about ten that didn;t make into the ground by freezing-time! Some will probably not make it until Spring.

Most smell just as divine as they look.


Did I actually romanticize the snow a few posts back? Well, there isn't much "soft" about rain, then freezing rain, then ice-and-snow then snow. It's winter, and I don't like it. Kids couldn't get the car doors open this morning, and actually broke off the door handle! They managed to get my trucks doors open, so I told them to take it, which is better anyhow for these potentially hazardous roads.(We all stayed home from school yesterday....scary, scary scary roads.) Then the truck tires were frozen to the driveway, and there were slick ice patches under every tire. Phillip managed to get it off the ice, and off they went. Late, but school understands.

Now what am I going to do about that door handle?

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Bell Citation

The title won't mean anything to anybody, I assure you. Except on the offchance that one of my groupmates from our collaborative English project happens to drop in. But it sounds like the really cool title of a blockbuster movie starring Matt Damon or, if I am really lucky, George Clooney.

It does, however, offer me a springboard into a thought I had today about blogging, brought to my mind while reading a book excerpt I downloaded for free. On a hunt for the rest of the excerpt I came across a blogger who was actually lamenting the whole blogging culture until he gained a little perspective. Essentially, his epiphany was that this cyber-oriented generation has been given unparalleled opportunities to express themselves, whether they have anything worthwhile to say or not. This leads to the natural conclusion that most of us do not. After all, who am I to expect that someone would actually be interested enough in what I say to be an actual "follower" of my musings? Fact is, I am no one. This doesn't bother me one bit, either. I have no illusions of literary grandeur arising from the cyber-penning of my psyche. But, like the aforementioned blogger, it sure is fun, and it does challenge me to think about what I have accomplished in the course of a day, and what I have learned from successes or failures or experiences.

So, what DID I learn today? Among many other things,I learned that I still have deep longings for material things that have a real possibility of eating away at true joy. Granted, the "material thing" is a piece of secluded land with room to roam, water to play in and views that will knock your socks off...but it is still a material want, for this too will pass away someday. I must guard everyday against discontentment and envy, and appreciate the blessings God has sent my way. I ask the Lord to get me back to the land someday, but I will be fine if I do, fine if I don't. God is good no matter what.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Crunchy Cons"

On a recommendation from a friend (Thanks, Katie M!) I picked up a copy of Rod Dreher's book "Crunchy Cons," a book written for people just like me: conservatives that have trouble jumping all the way on the wagon of the political far-right, and identify with some key elements of the "far-left." The opening chapters are leaving me excited and a little breathless; it seems there is a whole subset of conservatives who still manage to feel disenfranchised from their political party, and I am anxious to get into the meat of the book and not miss any key lead-ins I might encounter. But, as often happens when I read such books, I feel that latent frustration in me start to stir. Like the character Tristan in "Legends of the Fall," I have a bear in me that mostly sleeps. But when that bear awakens it begins to prowl, and I become restless and feel something akin to, well, if I am going to be honest here, trapped....sort of.

See, I am happily married to my best friend, and although no marriage is perfect, and we certainly have our marital sandtraps, I love my husband. But we don't see eye-to-eye on a variety of subjects, spiritual and otherwise. Now, I understand that part of the blessing of a marriage is having another person to help temper our impulses, but there are many things that I would change about our lifestyle if it were up to only me. The results of such a fantasy scenario could indeed be disastrous, and I thank God that He uses my husband to help me make responsible choices-and vice versa.

The fact remains: there are some fundamental personality differences between hubby and myself, and for each big one there is little opportunity for compromise. For instance: I am a country girl at heart, and am in my element and at my most comfortable with land around me. I love to build and plant things, I love to have animals share my life for service and companionship. I love digging in the dirt and the peace and quiet of a country morning. He would be just as happy living in town for the rest of his life.

So, as I begin this little literary journey with Rod Dreher, I am encouraged, but discouraged. There are things in the lives of our family, and the lives of our kids, that I would change at the drop of a hat; but it is not just me to make the decisions, and not just me the decisions affect. When I find the solution to such a dilemma I will be sure and let you know.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Is it the weekend? I didn't realize.....

Except for the fact of an extra kid lying around the house early this morning I would not know it was the weekend. The weekdays and weekends seem to flow together into one mass, and Sunday will be the only day that stands apart from the rest.

This week flew by. A final project in English, a big section exam in Algebra and an impending math final keep my mind very occupied, above and beyond the day-to-day household management and scheduled meetings and kid stuff. On top of all of that, I had an incident with my back, popping a rib in the most painful fashion. Fortunately, these incidences are few are far between, but they seem to happen when I can least afford the time to be still and nurse them.

Today will be a day of getting caught up on my housework, including a bazillion loads of laundry. We have been having some work done on the house, retro-fitting blown-in insulation, so that our basement (where the washer and dryer are located) has been somewhat monopolized.

If I am lucky I will have more time than just enough to drive out to the boarding stable and drop off a board check. I might actually get to spend some time with my horse. Won't that be a treat!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Waulking Song

I have no idea why I awoke at 2 a.m. this morning thinking about a relatively unknown group of Scottish girls I first heard singing on YouTube, thanks to a link from a friend. I have been searching, on-and-off, for their CD for purchase. Today (this morning?) I finally found a website that offeres it, but they have none in stock. I think I am obsessed. I have found nothing else to come close. This will be my first attempt at sharing a video from YouTube. The sound quality is very poor, but the voices ring through anyway.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Snow Enough

I already mentioned the softening snow falling, and I recant nothing. But there was a twinge of sorrow in my heart when I awoke this morning to see four inches on the ground. You see, this means, quite decidedly, that I may not wear my sandals any longer. Oh, I fight, and I protest, an I push the boundaries. On days when it is getting quite nippy I will throw a pair of socks on under those sandals and flap out the door happy as a lark. But four inches is too much. Wet feet are no fun, no matter how funky your socks might be.

On a brighter note, I am conquering my math. It may not be a shut-out in the final contest, but I will be happy with not having to retake the course. I just hate the thought of a "C" among my otherwise straight A' an eyeball mocking me from my transcript. Oh well. Math, among other things, keeps me humble and absolutely dependant on God every day. That may sound nauseatingly trivial in light of the kinds of life-changing trials that folks can be subjected to, but math is something I will never master. So every time I pick up my pencil and mondo eraser to crunch numbers, it is a reminder that it is God who accomplishes, and not me. In math as in life.