My throat hurts. I think I have a cricket in it.
My stomach hurts. i think I have bugs in it.
Papa, Eli hit me in the head. Do you think it damaged my brain?
Much to talk about since my posts are so rare these days.
We went to Mexico Beach for Christmas which was AWESOME. Loved every minute of the mini vacation that involved only Daniel, the kids, and I. Pics posted in the December Mexico Beach album. We did Christmas gifts but opened them the morning after we arrived so we could play with them throughout the trip. Honestly. I can't wait to go back. Daniel gave me a copy of his book for Christmas and I got to re-read the final version in book form and LOVED it. I'm still so surprised by it and am planning to work with it some in the early part of 2012. Ellie got a camera (her photos are hilarious) and I got a new camera lens (the collection in the album comes from the both of us). It's so nice to have another photographer in the family. Perhaps now I will actually appear in some photos. Ellie also got a guitar which she is very excited about. Both kids got lots of brain teaser type games this year and they have enjoyed them a lot. Daniel and I have enjoyed them too really. Eli's gifts are almost exclusively dinosaur related and he is very pleased about that. Overall a great time was had by all. 4 days and no internet was actually kind of a relief...but I would rather have had the internet.
Funny Kid Stuff
Ellie asked me recently if she could have my computer when I die. Eli has begun talking in his sleep. Recently he said, "no, Eleanor, it's actually not a shark." Eli is totally potty trained now. Did I mention that anywhere? It's few months old and we are sufficiently happy about it.
School is going great. My committee is formed and I am actively working on the dissertation. I am very nearly ABD. So, that's good. Also, I LOVE what I'm working on. It is not such that I can easily talk about it here, so I won't. Suffice to say, it is very rewarding for me.
It occurred to me, in some of the various circumstances I find myself, I often talk about shopping at thrift stores (which I refer to as the Goodwill almost wholesale despite the fact that many thriftstores fall into that category for me...sort of like kleenex for tissue). Anyway, I think some might get the idea that I shop at the goodwill because it's cheaper. While that is an added benefit, that's not really why I do it. We live in a world with a tremendous amount of stuff and we are constantly producing new stuff and packing department stores with it. You can buy things much cheaper than you can produce them. For example, you can buy a radio for about $5 even though it's made from materials mined on the other side of the world, by people on different continents, shipped half way around the world and placed in stores that have tremendous overhead. Clearly the cost of that radio is greater than $5. But those costs are extricated, taken out of the economic equation for Americans and instead the burden is placed on the environment or the quality of life of the workers in sweat shops or the mined materials aren't really paid for....and on and on. Anyway, we have to stop the needless production of ever-more items. We have to stop trucking in new produced goods. Many of the things we want are available to us without feeding this consumer-producer cycle. We can just buy them used. And, they're cheaper that way.
Don't misunderstand, I still buy a lot from department stores and I'm super guilty of electronic gadgetry and whatnot. I'm just saying, if you can buy a pair of jeans at the Goodwill instead of having yet another pair manufactured in china (waging sweatshop weaponry and depleting our natural resources) you probably should. That being said, I am aware that smaller sized clothing is more readily available at Goodwills because people grow out of them. I understand that not everyone can find a lot of clothing they are willing to wear at the Goodwill. I suppose I'm lucky to be a little less picky and that there is more available in my size.
(Insert plug here for people to buy CRAFT SUPPLIES from thrfit stores because it works out so GREAT).
Finally, I have something to say about the Biltmore. Daniel and I recently spent our FIRST WEEKEND EVER without either of the kids. Now that I got a taste of it, I can't wait to get rid of them...I mean let them spend the night with grandparents more often. Anyway, we went ot the Biltmore which I have always wanted to do. I was really disappointed by what I saw there. So, Geroge Vanderbilt makes a TON of money on the railroads and other stuff and he decides to build a mansion wiht his wealth. He builds an enormous house, so big that he cannot sufficiently heat it. It's acually uncomfortable for the occupants. It takes a staff of 35 to manage when it only held one family, now that it's an empire, a much larger staff to be sure. He names it, ostentatiously, the Biltmore because the Vanderbilts Built More. Not only does it lower his own quality of life and do absolutely nothing to contribute to the quality of life of other human beings, but it actually lowers the quality of life for others in that it becomes a standard of comparison for regular people. It becomes the yard stick against which we measure our own successes. Now, imagine that instead he had taken that seed money and put it toward a good cause, something that might have improved the quality of life of people everywhere (his own included by building a house he could actually heat). This is such an early example of corporate greed, of the failure of people to redistribute in ways that support the greater good, the failure of people to do what is fundamentally decent and right. Anyway, I found that disappointing.
So, Eli is now mostly potty trained. He has this obssession with dinosaurs, so part of the potty training involved dinosaur underwear. The cheapest dino undies I could find in quantity large enough to still have a pair after a few accidents was a European set, which I love.... you're a peein! A nice little synchronicity.
Last night we were watching the new pirates of the caribbean movie and Elliwas in the room when the water started to float up and she said, "hmmm...they must not have any gravity there." I'm really convinced that kids today are smarter than kids used to be. So much access to media and information....reminds me of Steve Johnson's book Everything Bad is Good for You. There's something about the Flynn Effect in that book about the intelligence of the global community being on the rise. Really interesting and of course Johnson makes the argument that it's media related....
Anyway, Ellie and I built a tree stool this week-end.
I'm getting a ton of work done on the dissertation, though it may not appear that way from the images above. Reminds me of this AWESOME study from the Creativity Research Journal. It's about how much more productive people with hobbies are. They feel like they're are shirking their duties for engaging in hobbies and that they are less productive than they could be, but in the end, people with hobbies are much more likely to be eminent creators in their domains. I cannot overstate how important I think hobbies are....
Reminds me of another thing I read about creativity once about how highly creative people have a misaligned hierarchy of relationships. So, regular people might have a hierarchy whereupon a shoe is more related to a foot than an orange. Creative people might not have this hierarchy down which leads them to make novel connections and also a ppear a little nutty. I don't like this theory because it makes creativity seem innate which I think is a bit absurd. If this heirarchy thing has any sticking power, I assume it is almost certainly socially contructed.
Here's a photo of my writing group:
Kelly (blue shirt) is my dissertation chair and Sally (brown shirt) is on my committee.
I have photos of all the kids making gratefulness wall hangings at a workshop I did at Mama Miller's house:
There are complex stories about how each evolved. Ellie has a much less linear narrative than the others. This may be related to age, but it may be because of the way we make art at home. Not sure. I like the images of them working, so engaged.
I'm making endless artography boards, but I'll save you the exploration of that topic.
This morning on the way to school:
Eli: Wait mommy, our house place and my sister's name are rhymes.
It was like, suddenly, the light bulub went on. For months he's been callin git our Eleanor's house instead of our Lenoir House. Today, it clicked that Eleanor and Lenoir are not the same thing. I have renewed hope for potty training....
Eleanor wore her pink dress from Gracie and Adam's party to school for picture day. When she first put the dress on at the party she looked down and said, "Mommy, I feel brand new in this dress!"
I had a list of other things to mention here.
pottamus, gas, bugs, ellie kinder, singing tom dula, dan tucker
Pottamus...one day Eli and I were playing a game wher eI say, I'm thinking of an animal. It's green. It hops. It says ribbit and he guesses frog. On his turn he said, "I'm thinking of an animal and it has pottamus in its name."
Yesterday Ellie brought her work home from school and she had drawn a picture of her and a friend. She had written her name and her friend's name, but the friend's name was upside down and backward.... After thinking about it we realized that she sits across from her friend and had copied it exactly as she saw it.
She also sounded out the word backtrack last night....that's her longest word so far. Daniel has been reading hte Amulet graphic novel series with her and she's digging it. I am endlessly amazed at the complexity of her....
Eli is simpler. His desires are transparent, his complaints easily deciphered, his sulleness easily diffused. Maybe it's an age thing....
Anyway, I'm writing a lot and making things like a crazy person. I finished a new quilted wall hanging....but first some other photos.
Ellie in her new mask....
Eli in his black widow costume
Ellie in her ninja costume
I put on my spider costumer too
And here's my new quilt...it's a mosaic of the Blue Ridge Parkway sign. Mama Miller was telling me the story of who designed it and how much she liked it one day....and so, I made it into a quilt. Click on it to view closer....
Here's a close up of the pieced fabric.
From a distance....
Now, I just have to figure out what to do with this wall hanging. I have already begun another quilt mosaic like this and have plans for 1,000 more. I'm digging this medium.
So, Ellie often runs around calling herself a super hero. Typical kid fan fare. A few weeks ago, after a series of misunderstandings,
Eli: Mommy, I'm a super healer.
Me: You are?
Me: Well, I happen to have a little boo boo on my arm here. Can you heal this?
Eli puts his hand on my arm, squeezes his eyes closed tightly, looks up in the sky and says in his deepest voice...HHHEEEAAAALLLLLL.
Eli: Did it work?
Me (Perhaps stupidly): Wow, Eli. It's all better now. You are a super healer!
So, now....this is something he does. It's kind of like living with that kid from Children of the Corn.
I awoke this morning to Eleanor whispering into my ear, "Mama, I'm gonna give my pillowpet a hair cut....okay?"
I thought this merited at least opening my eyes whereupon I was greeted with a pair of scissors.
New house rule: no one is ever allowed to give anyone or anything a hair cut....
"How about Gilbert?"
"Especially not Gilbert."
Okay, so with this dream machine, I wouldn't need a fancy new quilting machine. How much do you think a sewing machine costs when there is no listed price? I'm an AVID sewer and I've been using subpar machinery for a long time now (auto-guilt for Kenmore '74 blasphemy), but I WANT a better machine, a machine that sounds like wind blowing when I run it, that feels like butter melting as the fabric glides seamlessly through the feed dogs. What can i say, I want the dream.
I think I want the Janome Horizon 7700QCP.
You know it's bad when they say "financing available"
Okay, one more thing that I desperately want....I want a quilting machine. I would love to be able to do large scale machine quilting without having to roll fabric and shove it through a tiny machine. There must be a way for me to get access to a quilting machine....someone, someone out there will split the cost with me and let me store it in their basement.....(ahem)...Mama.
Not a success. Meat and cinnamon just don't mix that well.
So, i've been doing some wood working this weekend. On Friday I built shelves for one of the upstairs bathrooms. They are very functional and not bad looking and I am overall happy with them.
I also built another thing this week-end that took considerably longer. Granted much of the time was spent organizing wood working tools in the garage. I hung the peg board and started working on that.
I have these chromolithographs from 1906 (color drawing agricultural prints from the Us Dept of AgriculIture yearbook for 1906). I wanted to frame and hang some of them and choose 6 of the 12 I have. I wanted to frame them in an old window and hang them in the kitchen/breakfast nook area. I couldn't find an old window, much less one that fit the size of these prints. They're a wierd size. So, I built a frame and made it to look like an old window. Below are some images. You can click on each image to view the details closer. I'm amazed at how old it really looks.
After building the frame, I painted it white. I put a little sawdust on it while it was drying. Then I sanded it ever so slightly. Then I antiqued it. Basically, it looks like a 50 year old window. I'm very satisfied with how it turned out. The only thing I don't like is the wall it's hanging on. I'm pretty sure that wall needs to be green. I had the glass cut at Lowes for the frame.
Here's the wall that needs to be green:
I also found an AWESOME rocking chair the other day and it's super comfortable:
And here are my plants:
And here is the tray that Mama Miller built and gave me:
And here's the sewing form that sits by the front door. We put outgoing mail in her cleavage:
I suppose that's enough for now. Our house in tiny snippets. I have all the photos for May-July to upload soon. I haven't really been taking that many since I'm down to one lens and have just been doing other stuff. I'll also post pics of my neck tie stuff....eventually.
Ellie's fifth birthday went well. We took a few pics. The calendar behind the rocking chair came from Aunt Cindy for Ellie's b-day and her pogo stick is in that photo too. It has a big base for little kids. We've been playing the you know what out of some Connect Four....
Things I want: A donut shaped waffle iron. I think they are made by babycakes and are availbale at Kohls or at Amazon. Eli wants to eat donuts and this seems like an alternative that can be healthier and still pleasing. Miss Rhonda used to make them for him. Oh, how we miss Miss Rhonda....
I also want a die cutting machine and would like recommendations on the best one. I want to be able to create my own patterns and am leaning toward the pazzles inspiration cutter.
I also want my camera serviced and I want a new zoom lens. My old zoom lens, which mysteriously no longer works, was a Sigma 70-300mm.
And I am forever battling my sewing machine. My embroidery machine is sometimes a gold mine of creativity and action, other times an albatross around my neck. My '74 Kenmore never lets me down. Always runs like a dream.
I also want to remember to post about a new academic I'm reading. She's awesome. Her name is Kelly Lambert and she writes about the effort driven rewards circuit in our brains. She's a neurologist. Super exciting stuff.
So, the other day, I decided to clean out Gilbert's fish bowl. I'll begin by saying that I feel perpetually guilty for not cleaning the bowl more often. I also feel guilty when I occassionally forget to feed Gilbert. But then that guilt is offset by Daniel reassuring me that sparse eating promotes a long llife span and that I'm probably over-feeding him when I do remember....
So, anyway, I'm in the kitchen dumping Gilbert's water into the sink. I was trying to fish him out (pardon the pun) with a soup ladle, when he just slipped right out of the bowl. This wouldn't have been so bad, but I happened to be using the garbage disposal side of the sink.
Immediately, I yell,"oh sh*t!" And not just once. Ellie, standing behind me, starts saying, "what," "what happened," "what," "What, Mama." Ellie's calmly repeating herself trying to figure out what's going on. I'm suddenly frozen, not sure what to do. My first impulse is to turn on the garbage disposal. i'm thinking Gilbert's old, he can't have much time left. I'm not considering sticking my hand down in the garbage disposal. If I were willing to touch Gilbert, I wouldn't be fishing him out with a soup ladle.
Daniel walks in the room and says "just tell me what happened." He's confused by Ellie's repeating what over and over and my yelling. So, I tell him. "Gilbert went down the garbage disposal." Ellie's eyes turn into saucers. "Gilbert went where?!?!?" "He's in the GARBAGE DISPOSAL!?!?!"
"Should we turn it on?" I ask Daniel.
Ellie and Daniel both look at me like I'm crazy and at the same time say, "WHAT?!?" Ellie follows that with, "wait, wait, wait, no mama, no!!!"
Daniel reaches in, pulls out Gilbert and puts him back in the bowl. We all stand there quietly as Gilbert resumes swimming and appears to be totally unharmed, at least physically. Daniel turns around and walks back into the other room. Ellie following closely behind saying over and over, "Papa, you saved Gilbert's life, you're a hero!"
I sheepishly continued cleaning the bowl and carefully hung Gilbert's bowl back on the wall. I gave him a few extra food pellets. Before that day, Gilbert and I had a rocky relationship, at best. I don't like fish. I find them very creepy. It's safe to say that things between us are more strained than ever. I am genuinely hoping that Gilbert's remaining time on Earth be long and fruitful, if for no other reason than to assuage the pile of guilt that is my new situation with that fish.
So, I'm thinkg about making pastitsio today. It's a greek lasagna and I ran across the recipe last night. I like so much of the food that Greeks make. Also, I found these two flower chromolithographs from an Italian artist \, Grarfiche Tassotti. They were printed in Italy in the first part of the century. One is a sunflower and one is a purple thistle clover. They were framed in these green frames. i'm really not doing them justice here. I'll post pics. I also have a bunch of 1906 agricultural chromolithographs from 1906 of fruit and vegetables. I'm going to frame them in an old window and hang them in the kitchen.
Me: Eli, is there any poo poo in your diaper?
Me. There's no poo poo in your diaper?
Eli: I think I'll go upstairs.
Me: I think I'll go upstairs too.
Eli: You go up first.
Me: I have to get my coffee first.
Eli: OK. I'll go up first.
Eli: When you go up hold your nose so you can't smell anything.
Me: Why do I need to hold my nose?
Eli: Um....because I don't have any poo poo in my diaper.
Eli: Hey guys, how about lets play t-rexes?
Mommy: hmmm... How about you and Ellie go play spaceship on the bunk beds.
Eli: hmmmm... How about we play the get on game? (a game Eli made up that entails everyone getting on top of everyone else).
Ellie: how about we make you more comfy Mama?
Mommy: Hmmm... let me just finish this blog post. I am literally covered in polyester fiberfil stuffing. I'm pretty excited about driving to Wilkesboro and teaching American Lit from 6 pm to 10 pm tonight.
Eli: Some of this got in my mouth. It tastes awful.
Mommy: What kind of ice cream would you like Eli?
Eli: No, banana.
Eli: NO! BANAAANA.
Mommy: Hmmm... Banana?
Mommy: Ok, ok. Maybe mommy's not very good at saying that. Ellie, what kind of ice cream would you like?
Eleanor: What kind do they have?
Mommy: Vanilla, choc....
Eli: YEAH! Banana!
Eli: YES! Banana.
(to be fair, I did blend up a frozen banana last night and tell him it was banana ice cream)
Ellie: Mommy, did you know that ice cream will keep my appetite accufied until I can get lunch?
Mommy: I see.
Ellie: Do you know what an appetite is?
Mommy: No, you tell me.
Ellie: It's when you're hungry mommy. You should know that.
Yesterday I got set up for my new classes at CCC&TI in the fall. I'm half way through teaching the Gardner-Webb Univ. summer class in American lit (1865-present). I found Eli a daycare today. I'm getting my internship worked out. I have a bunch of chromolithographs from 1906 that I'm on the verge of framing and they are going to be awesome. I have made a million things out of neck ties. Mama Miller bought me 56 neck ties and I have made chair bottoms (weaving), bags, throw pillows. Anything you can imagine. I took the kids today to see Eli's new school and to the Caldwell county heritage museum. Our community garden gets a lot of sun and is raised bed so it doens't hold moisture well....bottom line: we're losing stuff. Mama Miller's garden is awesome though. Missing the mountian like crazy. Have decided that I need to start blogging again since we are isolated in Lenoir. Pics and whatnot to follow.
Ellie's birthday is Thursday. We got her Connect 4 and a pogo stick. She wants a carrot cake. Also, I emailed people about 4-H for her today.
Moving...ugh... It's such hard work. Nice to get rid of stuff though. It reminds me of that Neutral Milk Hotel song...something about...then we had to pack up every piece of the life we used to love just to keep ourselves enough to carry on... What an awesome album. I listen to that at least weekly and have for years. Lots more music lately. The kids are really into it and we have a good set up for music in the new house.
Ellie told me the other day that she needs to learn Kung Fu. Okay, I said and began looking for a place with lessons. I found one that she can start in July when she turns five. Okay she says, but I need you to print me out some cards. Cards of what, I ask? Cards with Kung Fu moves on them so I can practice. So, I find a bunch of photos of people doing Kung Fu moves on the internet and print her some cards. She lays them on the floor and practices every night. Her teacher gave her a Kung Fu shirt.
She also told me yesterday that she wants make-up for her birthday. It's so baffling where the ideas come from. We don't even hardly know anyone who wears make-up. But, okay. Whatever, I guess.... Kung Fu and make-up.
The nwe house is nice and one of these days, I will post pictures. Corinne, if you're reading this, did we send Josie her birthday present? I can't remember and I'm wondering if I packed it.
Our house is so crazy right now, but it's okay.
Also, we went to Opal's funeral Monday of this week (Mama Miller, Ken, Brenda, Van, John, and I). She was 23 days shy of 100 years old, which makes it much less of a sad occassion.
So, Eli is really into dinosaurs now. His favorite, naturally, is the T-Rex, but he got three dinosaur books for his birthday and we read them every day, so he really knows a lot about dinosaurs. We were tlaking last night about extinction and why there are no more dinosaurs. I was explaining the meteor theory and talking about the giant meteor crashing into earth. Eli said, "was it the gigantosaurs?" I was confused until I realized that he had misunderstood "meteor" to be "meat eater." I tried to explain that a meteor is a giant ball from space made up of space dust and dirt and rock. I was never quite sure he got it. This morning he said, "the giant meat eater bump his head on the moon."
We were making up stories on the way home. Ellie made up one about a baby T-Rex named Honey and a bird named Bluella. She told her story, then I told one and then it was Eli's turn. By this time, Baby Honey T-Rex and Bluella had pretty elaborate histories. Eli said, "There was a giant meat eater and he was very mean and he ate the bird bluella, chomp! Then he spit him out and Bluella flew away and then he catch him and eat him!" Then silence. Ellie and I, assuming that the bird would somehow get away again and all would be right, asked what next. Eli said, "That's the end. He ate the bird."
Ellie said she's going to cover her ears when Eli tells stories. Eli thought it was very funny. This morning on the way to school we made up stories about a vegetarian T-Rex and about a long neck who was eating all the people's food and trees and he gradually started eating less and getting smaller and needing less food until eventually he could live in harmony with the humans. We have so much fun telling stories. It's usually me starting the story with the first half of a sentence and they finish it.
"There was a giant dinosaur named __________? And he lived with a lot of ____________? And they were very happy because ___________? And etc...."
It's funny how Eli's interests guide the majority of our conversations. Ellie is interested in all things and is willing to talk about anything. Eli's interests are so specific and he gets so absorbed by them that it's all he wants to talk about. It's kind of like living with Adam again.
The other day on the porch, Eli said, "Papa, take a picture of me." Daniel held up his phone and this was Eli's face:
We closed on the house on Thursday and then the kids and I joined Daniel to spend the night there on Friday night. We came back up the mountain for the week-end. We had a dinner at Mama Miller’s house for Mother’s Day. Daniel and the kids got me a French Press. It was the Bodum Chambord Coffee Press and I know you're thinking that it doesn't make coffee that much better than other methods, but it does. I'm close to mastering the procedure. I only have on thing I'm not exactly comfortable with. The directions say not to use boiling water, so I use it warm from the tea kettle...just before the whistle. then it sits for 4 minutes. I pour half into my cup and half into a thermos for a second cup. What I don't like is that it gets a little too cool. I have to warm it in the microwave. I'm thinking of trying boiling water, but I don't want to crack the glass. I would appreciate advice from anyone who knows about this. I'm used to really hot coffee and maybe I should just get used to coffee that's cooler?
The French press reminds me of Dan Ariely's work on the Ikea Effect and the labor of love. Basically, people rate furniture that thye have had applied effort to as greater than furniture that they simply bought even though the quality of the furniture thye assembled themselves is often objectively lower. I think it has to od with gratification and the building of psychological capital via effort. Martin Seligman writes about that. Anyway, it also reminds me of the cake mixes from the 50s. When cake mixes first came out, women didn't like them. They sat on the shelves and noone bought them. Then, the producers of the cake mix changed the formula so that you had to add an egg. Suddenly, they sold like crazy. Basically, adding an egg made the cake mix feel more authentic and made it seem like the women were still cooking, not cheating quite so much. Just an interesting story. I read it in the first part of Ariely's paper on the Ikea Effect.
Anyways, the kids and I are heading to Lenoir after school to have dinner with Daniel in the new house...zuppatoscano. It's a tasty italian soup. I'm packing, like a crazy person and we are planning to get a U-Haul this Saturday to take a big load to Lenoir.
It's funny that Eleanor's name is El-Lenoir. It's hard to know what Eli is talking about.
Yesterday morning, Ellie had strawberries for breakfast (which is pretty big treat). Afterward she wanted a piece of candy and I told her that it was going to be a long time before she brushed her teeth at night and that would be too much sugar at once. It would be bad for her teeth. Then I said, "you wouldn't wnat those teeth to fall out yet, would you? How would you eat?" She sat there for a minute and said, "Mom, you know how I love sweet potatoes?" yes. "And you know how sweet potatoes are good for you?" yes. "I could just mash up sweet potatoes. I wouldn't need teeth for that. And I could eat beans too if I mashed them."
Ellie woke up this morning telling me that her new name is Rainbow Shine. A little internet research and it turns out that Rainbow Shine is a Vietnamese Rapper. Hmmm.... I woke up yesterday and Ellie had gotten up at 6:30. I found her at her computer watching an episode of Fat Albert. I guess that's okay?
Eli hurt his arm on Monday afternoon. It's a mystery how it happened because he refuses to talk about it at all. If you mention the word arm, he starts to cry. I'm hoping there's no deep-ceded psychological thing going on there. Anyway, he wrapped his arm in a blanket immediately after hurting it and didn't take it off for two days, which means it drug behind him and he looked like Linus from the Peanut Gallery. This morning, I finally told him it was too dirty to carry around for another day. He said, "it smells like poo-poo?" I said, "yes, Eli, poo-poo." "Okay Mommy, I not take it."
His arm seems fine now.
We are supposedly closing on our house today, so we'll see how that goes. I have a lack of faith in that we have canceled the closing three thousand times, but I'm going to pack my car in one final cosmic push toward making it happen.
My garden is confused. I'll post more about that later.
So, my doctoral coursework finally ended and I decided to start blogging again. And not about my dissertation...at least not only about that. There's a lot of catching up to do. We're buying a house (closing tomorrow - that's a story but I'm not telling it now). Eli's birthdya is today. He's three years old. Last night when he was going to sleep, he was singing happy birthday to himself. He got to the end and said "and many more." Then he said, good job MamaMiller. That's when I realized he was replaying the birthday party in his mind. Mama Miller was at the party yesterday. It's so strange having children and watching them develop into real human beings. They're so surprising.
Anyway, regular blogging....
Today, I have a PPC meeting. Tomorrow we're closing on the house. Wednesday, I have an RA meeting and a level one moodle certification exam.... We're packing and painting and all that stuff. I'm working on this quilted wall hanging in honor of Dad Miller. i'll show that soon. There are a million other things too....but they'll have to wait becuase I have to get to Boone this morning. There are so many things I want to talk and think about and I'm happy to have space outside of the doctoral thinking...it just took so much brain...
New photos from Dec. 2010, Jan-Mar 2011 and will be posting April soon.
Cindy and I did the photos for Josh and Cassandra's wedding on Saturday. I did the video as well. It was a beautiful day.
Oh yeah...and Osama Bin Laden was killed yesterday....
Okay, more later.
Sewing room - clean. Wooden high chair I'm working on for Corinne's baby - glue drying. Storm windows - ready for winter.
It's officially time to start writing.
Okay, soapbox time. I'll try to be brief.
Proposition 19 failed yesterday in California. It was the first step in the effort to legalize recreational use of marijuana. There's a lot of talk today from political pundits about where prop 19 went wrong and the 2010 campaign and the long overdue process of legalizing this practically harmless and potentially enormously helpful (medicinally) herb. There's talk about the effect of reduced Mexican cartel violence, reduced law enforcement costs, increased tax revenue.
That's all good and well. Maybe those things would come to pass and yes, probably they are a bit blown out of proportion. But, the thing is, none of those are the best reason to repeal this prohibition.
Here's the thing. We are depriving people of their liberty for growing and using an herb. The only thing greater than depriving people of their liberty is depriving them of their lives. We should be extraordinarily careful about the reasons that we lock people in little boxes. And growing a plant simply isn't a good enough reason. It's morally wrong to take away a person's freedom for something so benign.
One person's rights extend until they begin to infringe upon another person's rights. As long as I'm not infringing on your rights, I should be able to do anything I want with my body. And I should sure as hell be able to grow a plant.
And what makes this particularly AWFUL is the fact that marijuana is a drug that has such amazing medicinal value. We push people who are sick into a world of criminality. It's cruel and it's insane. I will never understand how we got to a place where that seemed like a reasonable thing to do.
I do a lot of cooking and with a lot of different people, mostly women. I finally realized the other day why people don't wear aprons anymore. It's too easy to wash our clothes. It's just not worth the apron when you can put the whole shirt/dress in the laundry so easily.
That's sad I think. I am calling for the resurgence of aprons!
And for less clothes washing in general. And for that matter, a little less bathing. Mama Miller told me that Grandma Cora only washed her hair once a month. Mama Miller washes her hair once a week on Friday mornings. I wash my hair nearly every day. I think that's too much. They used to think that the oils your hair and body produced were important...there for a reason. Maybe they are?
Also, we wash our clothes virtually every time we wear them. Not only is that excessive, but it's bad for the clothes and for the environment. It uses up resources, requires electricity and often pollutes with laundry detergent. Finally, it breaks down the fabric, so your carharts fall apart faster....
Today is the vote and maybe they will stop calling my house. I usually don't vote partisan...I usually vote for the candidate, but this partisan fueled rage has me clicking the democrat button and calling it quits. It's a shame really....the argument culture forces us into binaries and we don't really talk about anything.... It's too bad that a little extremism triggers a little more and a little more until eventually we're all standing on the edges of cliffs trying to keep the kids from falling off....catchers in the rye.....
Well, I should begin by noting Eli's new obsession with...I guess it's marine biology. He LOVES watching these underwater oceanographies....like the David Attenborough and National Geographic and Discovery Planet Earth documentaries of sea life. Mostly he's into the bigger ocean dwellers. He is a HUGE fan of humpback whales but also likes other whales. He likes dolphins and sharks and octupusses. He would rather watch ocean documentaries than anything else. Most two year olds are still doing the Barney thing and I definitely recognize that we're lucky here....but it's a little wierd. He hasn't metnioned a horse in a while and he carries a miniature whale replica with him pretty much all the time now. He's sleeping with it at this very moment. You can see it in many of the photos in the End of October album I'm posting now.
Last week-end was Halloween but it was totally trumped by Mama Miller's new dog (aka Ellie and Eli's new favorite thing to do). You cannot imagine how awesome this puppy is. She's a full blood German Shepard that John got from Kentucky and we are all totally smitten with her. We like her so much that it's almost painful. She's so sweet and small and smart. She reminds me so much of Abe and makes me miss him all over again. I can't wait for the week-end so we can get back to her.
As soon as John took her off the truck Ellie said we should name her Roobert Garcia. We settled on Ruby.
i was laying down with Ellie the other night and Ellie started singing "far away in another place, a fading beauty named Millie grace..." That could be worse...(reference Barney above).
I posted the End of October album because it's almost exclusively made up of our week-ends at the campground. You can see from the photos what an awesome time it is. It's supposed to snow a bit on Thursday and Friday.
I'm beginning to see the dissertation. Not only am I beginning to imagine the process and product of this thing, but I can see the value in it. I can imagine art as a form of inquiry and I can see how this could be something of value to me and to the world. I'm still writing about human capital and the ikea effect and what we dow with our hands and bodies and how we think about our labor in a market eceonomy. It's really about the effect that capitalism has on the way we think about the things our bodies do. It's about being consumers instead of producers.
I LOVE producing and I've always been so prolific. How do I negotiate being a producer in a consumer driven world? What are the economic compromises I have to make? Where does it fall apart? What is the effect of a consumer driven economy on the types of labor we reinforce in schools and other educational settings? (This is where you abandon woodshops and add more math and English)
My head is a jumbled maze tonight.... I've been reading Kelly's book about Deleuze and post structural material feminism and it's hard to slip out of that into normal conversation.
Check out the End of October Album. It'll say more than I can.
I remember not too long ago thinking a lot oabout digital media and the need to curb our digital appetites both from a sustainability perspective to reign in the enormous data centers that house all that media (teeming with data that promises to spring to life at any moment) and because we simply can't manage all that data. We search for ever more complex data processing tools so that we can sort through and utilize 100 Gigabytes of photos we tak on our high resolution digital cameras.
Doesn't this post remind you of the Goonies....
Anyway, I'm getting at something here. It's the digital hoarder, the urge to compile and stockpile data.... It's about capturing a story...but it's Heisenbergian....is that a word? The deeper we get in photos of an object, the less we know about it....like how wehn you say a word over and over it's meaning becomes less clear. Maybe there's something to choosing one of the 15 photos and actually deleting (GASP!) the other 14. Maybe there's something to that idea. Not that I would ever be capable of it, but if I were....
I wrote an essay about this and about capturing data in ERP systems for corporate software and about imprecision...I talked about it in a class too...how the gyst is more accurate than the numbers because the numbers can come from so many places and still be accurate....I should put that all together and then we'd really have something....
As opposed to whatever this post turned out to be.
Wow...did you know that gist means both essence and the main point or part. The gist is the detail.... Anyway....
I'm really going to make the Edward Gorey Gashlycrumb tinies quilt this year.
Really, I am. Over Christmas...I have it all planned out.
I LOVE Edward Gorey. Maybe I could be him for halloween, if the extremely humble mouse thing doesn't work out.
Sewed a pig tail on a pair of pants last night. Ellie has to dress up as her favorite book character on Friday. She's taking The Three Pigs by David Wiesner. It's a deconstruction of the Three Pigs story. The pigs leave the story line and start their own stories and make reference to the reader. It's postmodern children's literature, so we'll see how that goes over in the Pre-K room here in Ashe county.
Corinne is coming Nov. 11 and we're having her baby shower on Nov. 13. She's naming the baby Cora Jean and the due date is Feb. 11, 2011. February 11 is a good birthday. I hope she's born that day.
I am super sad that my embroidery machine is still broken because surely these machines are made first and foremost for occassions like baby showers. I guess I'll be doing a bunch of appliqueing, as that's the only task I can talk my machine into performing these days. I keep threatening it with my old Kenmore, but it knows I'm bluffing. I think I'm going to set up the Kenmore on the sewing table right next to it. See if a little intimidation does the trick.
I spent the week-end at Mama Miller's house, as always. On Saturday morning I made a chocolate pound cake (which I don't mind saying was excellent). I'm going to tray a marble piund cake this week-end. Also, I went to basket class (mostly to show off my pound cake) and got suckered in to making a basket. I've madelots of baskets and helped with lots of baskets, but I don't really like basket weaving. Yet, somehow, I spent all day Sunday making a basket and talking about using leather and reclaimed lumber and natural dyes and planning all the crazy baskets I'm going to make this winter. How did that happen? Mama Miller needs more baskets for the barn and she can't see, so I figure I will help her make them over the winter. Somehow though, I started mixing media and imagining baskets I might like....I don't know. I do know that I don't have a lot of use for baskets. They take up space and they're not as funcitonal as bags or boxes, so I don't want a lot of them in my house. But, making them for th ebarn is different. They have somewhere to go... Maybe that's it. Also, I generally don't like things that are purely decorative.....
I also made crabapple jelly this weekend. The kids and I (Mama and Mama Miller) went to see a play (The Wizard of Oz) performed by the Missoula Children's theater. Deann was in it and Courtney (Miss Rhonda's daughter) was Glenda, the good witch. Then we had a potluck at the barn on Saturday night.
I realized the other day, that I only eat alone (just me and the kids) on Sunday night....and usually even that meal is with Mama Miller. We have a potluck or a group dinner pretty much every night of the week. I think that's pretty awesome. I think eating with people is important...breaking bread toghher. It's a really good habit. And I love communal cooking.
Also, I'm going to explain my Adam Smiith comment more....but not now. Maybe later during office hours....
Went out to dinner tonight to celebrate Daniel completing his book. He finished the last chapter and the epilogue today. Five months from idea to finished novel. About three and a half months of actual writing, I think.
Anyway, he's started mapping next novel already.
I'm finally figuring it out. It's about human capital and the economizing of our time, the embodiment of capitalism. The effect of capitalism on skill acquisition and hobbies. We abandon working with our hands in favor of the economic advantage of our minds. It's wrong on so many levels. Damn Adam Smith!
Ok. Daily blogging again. For real.
Yesterday I went to the annual club meeting for the Homemaker's Association in Alleghany county and it was awesome. There was an interpretive ranger there and she talked about subsistence farming. Super cool. I was the only one there under 60.
They're running natural gas all through downtown West Jefferson.
Oh, and I turned in my Caldwell notice. So, I'm just going to be teaching at the Wilkes Ashe campus in the spring. That will save me a lot of time and hopefully open up some blocks of time to start the first three chapters of the dissertation. I'm actually pretty excited about it.
So, this morning I'm helping Ellie get into the car and she says, "don't do me any favorites, mom." She wanted to get in the car by herself.
Anyway, been a while since I've posted. Daniel is still living a half life between here and google and the kids and I are spending every Friday and Saturday night with Mama Miller, so we're hardly ever home and when we are it's mostly about laudnry and remembering to feed the fish and water the plant.
I'm working on a pilot study that will hopefully (almost certainly) turn into my dissertation, so it's hard to think or write about anything that doesn't fit that frame. I haven't even cleaned the camera off (downloaded all media) since July. My desk is stacked a mile high with books on happiness. My sewing machine hasn't workedin months (shoddy manufacturing) and I hardly even think about it anymore. That's how busy I've been.
Today I'm headed to the Alleghany county homemaker's club meeting to observe. Very excited about this....
I'm realizing that Ellie started school since I last posted. She started sometime in August. We have a ton of photos and video about that. Super cute stuff with her getting off the school bus, which I swear is bigger than it was when I was a kid. It has to be because she looks so freaking small getting off of it. She has to sit in the front seat because it has a seat belt and she's only 4. She rides the bus from her little school over to the big elementary school and then rides home with the rest of the kids.
New photos in July folder and Aug-Oct folder.
I am 100% sure that a beta fish could not survive in the wild. This is a creature saved from extinction by school children and college dorms. Daniel says it will eat until it dies, so we give it a limited food supply everyday (cause everybody knows skinny people live longer). It seems starved every time I feed it. So that means every time a beta in the wild comes across some extra plankton (I'm assuming those little pellets we feed it aren't floating around in natural beta habitats) it eats itself to death? Come on....
I'm feeding the fish now that Daniel is in Lenoir working for Google. I have this chart on the wall for Ellie. She puts stickers on the days when she does her chores (feeding the fish) or is a good girl.... I'm concerned now that I'm teaching her she deserves rewards for doing things she's really supposed to do anyway....maybe I'm over thinking it. Is this starting to sound like Chris Rock to anyone else?
Ellie starts her pre-K program in a little under two weeks. She's extremely excited and I think it will be very good for her. My doc classes end today (yahoo!) after I write two remaining abstracts (the procrastination of said abstracts is how I ended up blogging today). The classes I'm teaching end pretty soon too.
We had Dad Miller's tomb stone setting ceremony this pas week-end. Yes, I'm aware that tombstone settings aren't something people generally do, but we did. The funeral was so quick and everyone was so upset. So, when we set the tombstone, we got a PA system and tents and went up on the hill and everyone told stories about Dad Miller. I thought it was really cool and that it went great. Eventually, I'll post a video of the ceremony for everyone to watch online....right after I sift through and edit the million hours of film I shot this summer.
Mama Miller and I have about three weeks of filming left to wrap up the filming. I'm sure I'll film after that, but I plan to start editing in the fall. I've started interviewing people about the advice they have to offer. It's really interesting. I'm going to put together something eventually that is just a documentary about the advice that people offer up. I'm actually really excited about it....even though I appear to be quite subdued....my life will be complete if I can incorporate one more ellipsis....there we go....
Luke and Janelle are on their way to NC for Janelle's grandfather's funeral. The fourth grandfather's funeral in NC in 6 months. Crazy.
My most recent paper is a jumble of chaos. It's 25 pages of disconnected thoughts rambling on about happiness research and the Japanese educational philosopher Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (who's awesome by the way). He wrote a treatise called Education for Creative Living. Very cool.
Ellie turned 4. She got bunk beds, a scooter, striped pants and a flashlight. She also got a backpack and a bunch of Doug and Melissa pretend food that Eli plays with constantly. She also got a moon that phases with the real moon on her wall.
I finished my barn quilt:
Brenda finished her barn quilt as well. Hers is made of tin which was really interesting.
And here's our next big accomplishment:
Father's Day and the Fourth of July happened also.
New Photos in the End of June/July folder....
Email from Daniel:
I was in the living room cleaning just now, and Eleanor and Eli are in their room watching Spirit.
"Oh," she replied. "My favorite place!"
Summer is in full swing. The cherries and mulberries are exploding on Mama's trees. Basically, this means that Ellie comes home from Grandma's house covered in permanent red ink. I had to start dying some of her clothes red. It was just easier than trying to get the stains out.
I've been dying other fabrics too. I'm making a lot of stuff right now. I taught a workshop not long ago in Fabric Art and Technology and I'm definitely going to teach more of them. It was awesome.
I'm heavy in the documentary film making mode. Mama Miller and I are filming about every other day. I'm getting crazy stuff and have no idea how this will fit together, if it ever fits together. In case you haven't heard, Mama Miller told me she thought she only had about three months to live. In response, I quit my job and started filming her. I thought it might help, though I can hardly explain how having someone stalk you with a video camera and ask you to do something you just did over and over might help.... I guess I thought it would give her something to focus on....or live for(?) or whatever.... Anyway, it did help. She's way into it, and even more into pretending she's not into it, but I know she is. We're going to Opal's house in West Virginia on Monday to get some footage. It gives us an excuse to do crazy stuff. I'm hoping to put it together into something and enter it into the Blue Mountain Film Festival. Right now, I'm not even sure what it's about....
School ended and then it started again. Not a single headache during the time that school was out. Makes me think it's not my eyes....
We're getting a new roof on the house and re-graveling the driveway....optimistic for people who hardly have jobs. If you call working on a science fiction novel and making a documentary film "working," then I guess we're doing okay.... We are very thankful for student loans.
The garden is kicking. Doubled in size and already producing.
Eli is growing up. He's talking and reasoning and counting and thinking. Ellie is big enough to really disagree with, which some people might not like but I sort of secretly admire. She told me a story the other day about a beetle named Charlie who grew a watermelon, apple, orange tree at Mama Miller's house, and when the beetle went to pick the watermelon (which was heavy) the tree limb flung him to kingdom come. Excuse me, that's "kingdom poop come" because inserting the word "poop" in the middle of anything is funny when you're three years old.
Ellie and I have been painting a rocking chair today. Two solid white coats and now we're decorating with millions of multicolor designs. Stripes and dots and flowers and bugs.....
Ellie got poison ivy a week or two ago. It was in her eyes and ears because she used it as a fan. Terrible. But not quite as terrible as the steroids which really made her nutty. I hope we don't have to do that again any time soon.
Eli is still horse obsessed and he pretty much never goes anywhere without bullseye, his trusty sidekick. I'm in the process of making him some bullseye accessories. I ordered some bullseye fabric in with a load I'm doing for a Blue Ridge Parkway mosaic quilt that I plan to enter in the Ashe County Arts Council exhibit. I'm trying to figure out a way to get some of Mama Miller's paintings hung as well.
Yesterday we went to Grayson Highlands and finally found the ponies. Eli and Ellie were both excited....
Oh, and we're having a golf cart parade for the 4th at the Campground. I think of everything these days in the context of how good it will look on film, how well it fits into the movie.
Oh, one more thing, someone tried to steal my credit card and charge $8,000 to a currency exchange company, but they were thwarted by my quick response...and because the currency exchange company wouldn't process such a large amount without verifying it. Healthy skepticism.
And, Kenneth's father Willis passed away. A rough year for grandfathers, and everyone else too I suppose. John and Corinne have been to North Carolina four times already this year. Three funeral and a vacation.
Finally, I'm reading Ender's Game.
Wow. So many things to talk about. No time though. Late for a meeting at the Thai place in Boone (yahoo!)
I'm posting photo albums for March and April. You'll move through Mama Miller, the kids and I going to AR, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, the uni-birthday party that we had for all the kids at Mama Miller's house, and many other events.
Also, here's a little video of the first time Eli rode a tricycle. He and Ellie call it a bike. I saw him trying to get his leg over the little bicycle at Mama Miller's house the other day.
Also, I'm writing an awesome paper for one of my classes. I'll post a version when I get it done. Some iteration of it will be my dissertation.
Also, I conducted some research this semester and found that faculty members from the theater department are five times more likely to be attractive than faculty members from the computer science department (gasp!). Faculty members in the sciences are only slightly more at risk for unattractiveness than faculty members in the humanities overall though.....
Also, I am making a TON of super cute reverse applique shirts and I'm dying fabric now which is really awesome! I'll post pics of the shirts later....
PS-I will talk about Eli's horse obsession too. You hardly ever see photos of him without a horse in his hand anymore. There is a reason for this.....It's because he's obsessed with horses.
Okay, I guess I'm going to start blogging again. It's just easier to keep up with everyone this way and now that I've had a nice long break, I feel better about it.
It'll take me a week or so to post everything that happened during my hiatus, but I guess that's okay. This morning I'll start with just a few things.
Here's a video I made for a digital story. I had a whole plan (that involved sewing over the emblems on all my clothes with a whole anti-marketing deconstruction of branding thing) but I decided to put all the efforts into the paper (which is totally kick ass) instead of developing the video more. I'm still not sure if I just ruined all my clothes or if I made a big statement. I was hoping it would catch on and spread through out the university and then the world, but I'm not even sure people notice. The below image used to be the polo emblem.
Anyway, the video is private on youtube, so I'm not sure this embed code will work.
I'll post a bunch of photos later.
The other big news is that I'm thinking of abandoning my summer internship (gasp! Imagine the toilet flushing and all your money going down the drain) and spending the summer with Mama Miller. I'm going to film a documentary. Mostly it will be about Mama Miller, but it will also be about Appalachian culture, campground culture and the Parkway. I'm excited about it. It's not smart financially, but none of the good stuff is smart financially. Also, if I don't do this now I'll never do it. I may not have the opportunity again and no one else is going to do it....so.....
So, just to be clear, it's the abominable snowman Ellie is talking about when she says the adorable snowman.
Other funny errors she makes:
When she sings the Scooby Doo song, instead of saying, "we're going to chatch the villain." She sings, "we're going to catch that building."
When singing Rocky Raccoon, she says "when a pigeon stepped in, grinning a grin..."
Eli is so freaking cute with the counting now. And he clearly distinguishes between at least some numbers cognitively. He knows when there are two or three things...so, it's not just memorizing the order. I'm still blown away by the fact that he can count before he can talk....crazy.
Scooby Dooby Doo is all the rage in our house these days. Ellie runs around singing Scooby Dooby Doo and Daniel says Scooby Dooby Don't.
I think we're going to Arkansas next week (YAHOO!). Mama Miller is going to ride with me and the kids. Daddy is going to fly out over the week-end for a deposition in Raleigh and then we're all going to ride back to AR together. Then Mama Miller, the kids and I will come back next week-end. Very exciting.
Adam and Suzan get back from Europe at 6:22 tonight. Pretty excited about that too.
Ive been working on websites like crazy lately, mostly switching who hosts and where and all the stuff that's behind the scenes. I'll be changing the sites themselves very soon.
I started http://storyhands.com for my hands project. I'm also working on millercamping.com and thepointwinery.com and a couple of embroidery digitization cites as well. Plus I'm blogging for Point Winery.
Oh, and the kids haven't been at Miss Rhonda's house this week or last week, and it's still snowing, so we're totally off balance.
We made a dragon yesterday for Ellie and Eli:
Ellie and Eli watching Scooby Doo.
Crazy optical illusions!
Ok. So, now I'm playing catch-up.
This morning I was telling Ellie GranMarie's phone number to dial and I said eight. Eli said, "nine." He definitely knows the order of numbers from 1 to 10. I don't know if he knows what it means. He can count to seven even though it sounds like "unh, ooh, eee, oh, eye, si, se."
Yesterday, Daniel was dropping Ellie off at GranMarie's house and she picked up two sticks. she handed one to Daniel and said, "you write my name and I'll write yours." So, he wrote Eleanor in the snow and turned around to look at hers. She had written PAPA in the snow and he said it was perfectly spaced and the letters were perfectly formed.
The kids are staying at GranMarie's this week because Rhonda has a family emergency.
In the past few weeks, Mama was put into the hopsital for pneumonia, where she found out she had blood clots basically all over the place. Thy found one in her left leg that ran from her knee to her hip. One in her right leg that was about half that size, one in her superior mesenteric vein, and two pulmonary embolisms in her lungs. So, it was a big freak out moment with about 4 days in the ICU and 9 total days in the hospital. Crazy. She went in the hospital on her birthday (Valentine's Day), the day after my last blog. I spent the night (first night ever away from Eli) on the 15th and they kicked me out of the ICU in the middle of the night, so I ended up sleeping on the hospital floor in some kind of wierd conference room that I don't think I was really supposed to be in. There was lots of hullabaloo about what the "real" problem was, but ultimately, it turns out that she has a genetic affinity for clots. She has an extra copy of the hetero factor 5 leiden gene. Um....okay....
They're going to do a ton more hematology stuff and figure it all out. She'll probably be on Coumadin forever.
Speaking of coumadin....Adam is in Europe. He and Suzan met Daddy in Barcelona (Daddy was there and in Oslo for some spiral freezer thing) and they met in Spain and hung out. Then Daddy came home and Suzan and Adam went on to Italy. They've been in Venice for a few days and are leaving tomorrow to go to Florence, then to Rome and home. They're having a good time. Suzan found a casino...she has uncanny ability for the location of gambling venues...and Adam has been hanging in bars and music clubs and stuff like that. They've been seeing the sights the in daytime. This morning they spent three hours in an Italian hospital strugglling with the language barrier trying to figure out if Adam had another blood clot in his right calf (which had been hurting). After ultrasounds and blood work, they determined that not only does he not have a new blood clot, all traces of the old blood clot are gone as well. so, that's good. Now, they're free to continue their trip. They'll be home March 3rd.
I got a funny phone message from Adam yesterday morning that I'll post later.
Also, we've been spending the night with Mama Miller. Cindy and the kids have been coming over when we stay which is nice. Last night Cindy and I worked on stuff for The Point Winery which is awesome! I'm really excited about getting all that going.
Mama Miller spent her first night alone last night since Dad Miller passed. She didn't get home from wood working until 9:30 and everything turned out fine.
We're getting another million pounds of snow in the next week or so. I am TIRED of snow.
I'll tell you more about my various projects later. I have many. Incidentally, I also got a serger for Valentine's day and have made a few things with it, including this:
you'll notice that the first one (on the right)....not only did I stitch it up closed so that you can never open it, but also I actually stitched it up without the zipper in there at all! Unsuccessful. The one on the left turned out much better and Ellie now happily stores her markers in it.
I'm also working on a photo journalism project of hands at work. Sort of storytelling project without revealing the identities of the people. It's amazing how easily you can recognize a person's hands. They're almost as recognizable as faces.
I'll create a February folder and post some photos in it.
1. Ellie calls him the adorable snowman, which is really funny when she talks about how scary he is.
2. Ellie has a fish named after a cat. Gilbert. I think that's funny.
3. It's been snowing for about a thousand days and there are monstrous piles of it everywhere. I'm sick of talking and thinking about it. Supposed to start again tomorrow big time. Been snowing all day. I have three million snow photos that I don't even want to look at.
4. Spent the night with Mama Miller last night with Ellie and Eli. They almost have Dad Miller's room completely remodeled.
5. Daddy left for Italy this morning. Adam and Suzan leave in a few days.
6. I got two super cool things at a thrift store. The first is for me. The second is for Adam.
7. I've been thinking about hanging up the blog. I started the blog to get a little more interaction when I was home with Eli. Also, to keep in touch with everyone who doesn't live near us and sort of as a documentary effort for the kids. Now, I have plenty of interaction and it's kind of a chore. Also, I feel like I should be writing other stuff now. Pre-writing for the dissertation and there are a couple of things I'd like to write up for an App Studies journal. Also, I'm making a lot more other stuff these days with the expressive arts program. I really am spending a lot of my extra time making other stuff...
Just a heads up that I'm thinking about quitting.....
So, here's another video. This one is higher resolution. It's from June 4, 2008. Just testing options. It's the opposite of a winter video.
I have two other really funny ones I want to post eventually.
Ellie wants to dye her hair. Courtney (Miss Rhonda's daughter) dyes her hair purple, blue, red, etc.... So, now Ellie wants to dye hers too.... I'm okay with it but I'm not sure Daniel will agree. We'll see if she says anything else about it.
She also wants to start making cheese....even though it's stinky and takes a long time.
Also, she has a stuffed pig and she told me she named it Marco Polo. Where's Marco Polo, Mommy?
So, I made a video of the huge snow storm. I didn't really know what I was doing, but this is the order of stuff on the video. There are some flaws. Hard to do this with the kids running around....
Photos from before the storm.
Video from Feb. 5 (yesterday)
photos from yesterday.
Video from today
photos from today.
In other news, Adam had his last radiation treatment yesterday. He's totally done now. What a relief. We were going to have a party at Mama Miller's but we can't get out.
Last night I gave Ellie some crackers. She was not at all happy because I had given her an odd number of crackers. She needs an even number of crackers so that each cracker has a partner. Okay....whatever....only even numbers of crackers from now on....
Massive Winter Storm. More about that later.
Funny video of Eli below.
If you haven't seen the real Dancing Outlaw with Jesco White, you should watch it. It's crazy.
Click above to listen to an interview with Dad Miller about WWII and other stuff. It's sort of random. I'm putting it on a DVD with a photo slide show for Mama Miller. It's a bit rushed. Eventually, I'll compile some actual video and other talks and stuff for her. It seems there's never enough time.
Eli and I spent the night with Mama Miller last night. I enjoyed it, but it was a little sad too. I don't think, at all, that she should stay by herself before spring. She's actually feeling much better since her prednisone.... It's just so different there. She said it's lonely when no one is there and that she knows she has to stay alone eventually, but that she sure is dreading it. She doesn't want to be a burden is what bothers her. I figure if she doesn't want to stay alone, she definitely doesn't have to.
We decided to plant a big rusted coat apple tree at the barn. On the side closest to the Parkway where the old apple tree used to stand and where Dad Miller's golf cart would be parked. We're going to put a plaque there.
Also, we're going to put Mama Miller and Dad Miller on the tombstone where it would normally say Mother and Father. She said she keeps expecting him to walk in any minute. I asked her how long she thinks that lasts and she said she doesn't know.
For the record, I want to be cremated (after all my organs and good parts are divvied out). I told Mama Miller that...and that I hated the idea of the bodies being in the ground. She said, she hated it too. She said, she knows it's crazy but that she keeps worrying about Dad Miller being up on the hill in this cold weather. Especially since he has been so cold the last few years.
This one's a little sad, isn't it? Sorry about that....
I'm totally obssessed with these things.
I posted photos from Granddaddy's funeral in the January album. I'll be glad to see January go this year. Adam told me that the moon was full last night (or the night before) and it was the closest it's going to be to Earth all year. I didn't see it because of all the cloud cover form the snow. There was that very strange blue moon thing in December and a strange moon thing in January. Anyway....
There was another big snow. We've been in the house a lot because of it. I'm very ready for springtime and gardens and sunshine and warmth.
I've been playing around with animation lately. I have a video project coming up and I'm trying to figure out what to do and how to do it. I want to start doing more animation. I'm just learning and figuring out easier ways to do things. Here are three of my first videos. The first two are just stuff moving around. In the third one I was thinking about my globalization project. I'm thinking about doing something about consumerism and having too much stuff. So, I made this little animation of me standing there and stuff piling up on top of me. Then I decided it would be cool with Madonna's "Material Girl" and then I had to add tons of stuff on the end because the song is really long. It got sort of out of hand.
Anyway, I learned how to download videos from youtube. I learned how to overlay audio on to video. Here's where the images came from in that video. Click on Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait. It's pretty interesting.
I really didn't understand how low the quality was that I was saving the videos in, so they're pretty grainy and stuff. Learning.....
Anyway, I know I have too much stuff. I know I would be happier if I could get rid of some of it. I know that's hard because I attribute value to a lot of the stuff I have. I'm thinking maybe I would have an easier time paring down if I were doing it for some type of documented sustainability project for school.
Granddaddy's funeral was yesterday. I thought it was a lovely ceremony and that he would have liked it very much. I have a million photos to post and lots of cds to burn and mail out. We decided to start having a bi-monthly dinner at Nanny's house which I think is a great idea. So, the first Saturday of March is the first one. We are all supposed to bring food and meet at Nanny's house at 2 pm. Then we'll do it again the first Saturday in May (which will be around Mother's Day) and so on. I think it will be good for everyone.
I'll be sorting through and posting photos in the morning.
We had dinner this evening at Cindy and Darryl's house. John, Corinne and Josie were there. The kids played like crazy. Corinne and I tried to make chocolate chip cookies for Sweet Thursday but something went horribly wrong and they tasted...well, John said they tasted like corn bread with chocolate chips in it. Corinne thought it was related to using self-rising flour instead of all-purpose (a distinction that still leaves me a little confused). Daniel thought it was the weird granular brown sugar. I thought it might be the fact that we were using dark chocolate chips. Even the kids wouldn't eat them. I think we should have a Sweet Thursday do over tomorrow night. Sweet Friday!
We're having the first family dinner without Dad Miller at Mama Miller's tomorrow night. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone just to visit over dinner, non traumatic. Mama Miller had a terrible back spasm today. Apparently, it was so severe that they had to stop on the way to the doctor's office. I hope her back starts to get better soon.
About a week ago, Daniel and I were folding clothes in the living room and I realized that I had spent more time trying to mate Ellie and Eli's socks than either of us had spent on homework that week. Millions of tiny little socks and none of them seem exactly the same. Seriously, it's maddening. The breaking point was the idea that getting my doctorate is less complicated than doing the kids laundry. So, we gathered up all the tiny socks and bagged them up. I went to Walmart and bought all white socks. One size, one style. Ellie and Eli wear the same ones. We're just starting over. It's so much better.
State of the Union last night. I've been so caught up that I forgot all about the Union. Howard Zinn and JD Salinger both passed away this week.
Daniel sent me a link to a study today that showed that people could correctly identify the political affiliations of individuals based only on their photographs. So, they look at a photo of a person they've never seen before and identify that person as a Democrat or Republican. Another study described in the above link showed that people can also identify the winners of elections based only on photos. Even children, when asked which of two candidates they would prefer to be the captain of their boat, could correctly identify the winner of an election. Crazy.
I am very sad to say that Granddaddy passed away yesterday afternoon from lung cancer. He didn't suffer much and he seemed to be very peaceful at the end of his life. Serene.
I'll post more about this later, but for now, I just wanted to post this recording I made of him last fall. I recorded this on October 22, 2009. I was asking questions for Appalachian State University about the Blue Ridge Parkway. I intended for this to be the beginning of a series of interviews.
Click below to listen. It's quite long. A few minutes into the recording we move into another room that makes it easier to hear.
This is one of my favorite photos of Granddaddy.