Friday, October 31, 2008

Pictures of Our Children

I have to confess to having some issues with plastering the internet with photographs of our kids, but how do you write a travel blog about traveling with children if there are no pictures of your children? You don't, so I have to work around, or rather, with this.

I may have come up with a solution-I'll have our kids wear sunglasses in the pictures. That way, we get to show them in fun locations and they will retain some degree of anonymity, which is shame because they are so cute, but such is life.

BTW, I also think my regular blog would benefit from some photogs, but that may be asking too much.

Travel Blog

As I may have mentioned before, I was trying to find a writing gig for this trip and failed miserably. Woe is me. That is not to say, however, that I can't write about this trip, and will do so, accordingly. Besides loving the idea of documenting the adventures of traveling with children, I think it would be a great way to keep notes of our trips, something I've failed at miserably in the past, which will only help me further down the line.

I'll leave it at that, except for one last note, I will be keeping a travel blog (no pay!) at travelblog, and will attempt to embark on the ridiculous mission of maintaining three blogs. I know people do it, but it's ridiculous to think that I can.

For Susan Stephenson

Hi Susan, Sorry to respond to your comment so late, but I did respond! Thanks a ton not only reading but commenting. It goes without saying that it's much appreciated, and let me know if you've got a blog out there, as well. Hope you everything is good in your world and take care.


Today is Halloween and of course we waited until the last moment to get our costumes finalized. The kids had it together early on, in fact weeks ago, but that's the way it is with kids, they want it now and can't wait, and then forget all about it. Anyway, just another thing to deal with in our world of too many things to deal with. We had originally planned on going as a bat family, and the kids were swayed into the bat realm by this because originally Audrey wanted to be a ninja (credit Avatar for that) and Nicholas a tiger/leopard. These are all fine costumes, but we weren't sure how to approach the whole ninja thing.

I'm all for clever and unique costumes. Heck, I encourage it because it shows thought and creativity, but kids need some degree of conformity, it just seems to go with the territory, and when you're too much of an individual, it can work against you. My point is, it's good to have a costume that people can recognize, or at least think is cute. When you get too sophisticated, people just don't get it, especially other kids.

This happened to us two years ago when Audrey was Amelia Earhart, a killer girl's costume, I thought. But nobody got it, even when we explained it, and I think it kind of bummed Audrey out having to explain herself all evening, especially when Nicholas garnered so much attention because he was a cute little Native American. You just want to be recognizable.

It's also going to be complicated by the presence of other families. We usually ride solo as a family, and that's the way we like it, but we are meeting the Bolands and the Marshalls and Walker-Moneys, and there's a chance Audrey might get left behind, and Nicholas will, most definitely. Part of growing up, I know, and Audrey really wants to trick or treat with her friends, but some of those kids aren't her friends, and I don't jive on hanging with the Waldorf crowd. I like all the families, but something about when they get together and talk the Waldorf talk, it makes me feel like an outsider, if not a persona non grata. It's weird, because some of these folks seem like the unlikeliest of matches, they have only one thing in common, and they embrace it like the gospel.

Either way, I'm approaching the evening with mixed feelings. It might be the end of a tradition for Halloween because let's face it, the kids are growing up, and there will soon be a time when they don't want us around. We shall see.

The costume issue was on my mind last night. As mentioned, we had planned on going as a bat family, but by last night, we hadn't done anything for the parents, and it would have been easy enough to just blow it off and say NO BIG DEAL.

But it is a big deal, and I wanted to follow through rather than just be a big flake. I confess, I hadn't done anything to further that end, but talking to Ruth last night, I think she could sense my disappointment, so she stayed up late and finished our costumes. I felt guilty, but at least things are falling into place.

AND, if you can believe this, I actually fit into my black jeans. Not perfectly, I admit, but I got them on while still standing, and I didn't look like a 70's disco dork. These jeans are almost ten years old, mind you.

So we have our homemade costumes. I think living in Vermont, it's more prevalent. If we lived in a big city where TV is the norm, I'm sure the homemade deal is not as common, but the store bought stuff, besides being shamelessly commercial, just falls short for me. It looks a little silly, and so contrived. Believe it or not, I've always felt this way, even when I was a kid and my friends got the state of the art Star Wars costume-just for the record, Star Wars first came out when I was a kid.

And, when you get down to it, most if not all store bought costumes have such a Made In China (MIC) look and feel. You do your kids a disservice by not taking the time to put your hands into their costumes, not unlike their food. Just turn off the TV and spend some time with your kids. Besides, it's a great way to connect.

Okay, enough of my preaching. I'm looking forward to this evening with a mixture of anxiety and excitement. There's no telling how it will go.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shot Down In Flames

Ain't it shame, to be shot down in flames? Can anybody name that song? It's one from my youth, the glorious stoner days of the early eighties. Anyway, it's appropriate for my current saga in trying to find a travel writing gig. It's not easy, not only to find a job, but to get someone to even respond to your query. It depresses me, actually, but I'm undeterred, and will find a way to pull this off. One thing I have found that there are definitely avenues to submit stories after the fact, I'm just not sure if they want queries first or just unsolicited articles. What's a guy supposed to do?

Anyway, our trip is days away and I've yet to find a gig, and we haven't prepared much at all. I'm beginning to stress, and never seem to enjoy the anticipation or for that matter, the preparation. Then again, I never anticipate new things well, it's a crappy way to be because it really prevents me from trying new things and exploring, which is what life is all about. I feel so lucky to be with Ruth because she has such a taste for adventure and our trips always come out memorable, never any regrets, it's just taking that first step that seems to hold me back. If not for my family, I would never go anywhere, and that's how it's been my entire life. Bummer.

But it's not the case, now, and the kids get so much out of travel, I don't know where to begin with it. So, there you have it. And in all honesty, I shouldn't say we haven't prepared anything. Ruth has arranged for our tickets and our housing, we have a "sort of" plan, and we are even incorporating a little work into the trip, meeting with our collaborators in Spain.

I can't say for sure why traveling gives me so much anxiety, and it's worth taking a good, long hard look at, because like most anxiety, it's based in irrational thinking, and I'm the king of that sort of thing. I wish I weren't, and hope that my kids aren't, either. So far, they're great travelers, but I think most kids are. It's the old farts like me who hold themselves back.

Okay, so now that paid writing gigs seem unattainable, I'm thinking I'll just try to keep a travel blog and tie it into my blog-blog, or the other way around. I'd like to do this, and I can't keep the system from discouraging me, though I have to confess, rejection (or being ignored) gets me depressed, and I felt it yesterday. The sky was gray and there was a light snow falling, and I felt myself slipping into the blues. Talk about self-indulgent. Being a parent really forces you to deal with life, however, and having someone need you is a huge thing. You can't afford to be a pussy.

I also found something that helps me get through the blues-cooking. Believe it or not, getting dinner ready really made me feel better. Maybe it's just the process of getting something done, taking care of business. And dinner turned out great-cauliflower casserole, veggie birani (sp?), and roasted potatoes. Everyone loved it, and it was vegan. Making meatless meals is always a challenge, but we manage to pull it off at least three or four times a week.

I still need to talk to Marty, there's no getting around this, and I have to do it sooner, not later. John Flinn called me two days ago to try rekindle the whole screenwriting thing, but I have nothing for him, and he's got nothing for me. I hate to sound so utilitarian, but that's the extent of our relationship, and it's gotten us nowhere. I'm not sure what he wants from me.

I've scored the y-coupler and headphones for the computer and think we can obtain some key movies for the trip. Ideally we'd get them from the library so we can hold them for two weeks, but their selection isn't alway the best. Netflix is the way to go, but I've got to choose movies, and send back the old ones. BTW, we've been getting four movies a pop, I think our bonus month has kicked in.

Gary wants to sell us his SUV, and it's tempting, but I think that thing is living on borrowed time. Either way, it's been nice having two cars, but maybe something more reliable and practical. I've actually got some thoughts on that, but I'll keep a lid on them, for now.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

So what the hell's my excuse? It's Wednesday and I've accomplished nothing of what I wanted to get done. Actually, that's not totally true, but I wanted to query several travel mags and haven't gotten to any of it. I'm still formulating my query, but I guess I'm suffering for my sins.

Our vacation is less than a week away and we are so ill prepared. I need to get a coupler for my Mac and address the DVD entertainment issue. And that's just the beginning. One thing we have covered is someone to look over our cats, and that's a huge relief, but still haven't told the relevant people we're leaving, and Halloween is two days away, as well.

We did carve pumpkins yesterday, and that was a blast. The kids have so much fun and work so hard, you gotta love it. Had a crappy parental moment with Nicholas doing some schooling, and I have to learn to be more patient. He's so young and trying so hard, but I don't claim to be perfect. No excuses, though, I don't want him to hate learning, but I also don't want him to think life is only about having fun and blowing off things that are challenging. Important lessons in there.

I have to go, I want to get some shit done this morning. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Stupid People Doing Stupid Things

Not that I think of myself as being stupid (heck, that makes one of us), but for some crazy reason I agreed to take a survey for the ECHO museum and I believe she said it would take one hour. What the hell was I thinking. It was out of sight, out of mind for the past few days, but now that it's imminent, my first impulse was to bail out at the last minute, so in line with how I've operated for most of my life. I mean really, what do they have on me?

Then I told myself to be a man and do the honorable thing. Man up to things you've set in motion and deal with them, because you are screwing people over, otherwise. Why does it have to take so long, though? I'm dreading this, needless to say.

We've found a cool program that the kids like, but they like everything having to do with computers. Either way, Pencil, it claims to be an animation program and I'm keen on the idea of the kids doing some animation. I think they would get a huge kick out of making some small movies, and we could even burn them onto DVD if we had a DVD burner, which is a huge if.

We managed to bail out on Marty this weekend and I know she wants to kick my ass, but what are you going to do? We can't get anything done when she's here, and I'm in the process of dismantling her beautiful house. Damn flatlanders. Either way, we had a great weekend because we hung out at home, I got things done, and later in the afternoon the kids got to go play at Clara's house. It worked out beautifully.

Except, of course, for dinner. I managed to screw up the stuffed pumpkin, but managed to squeeze out three loaves of bread (out of the oven, not my asshole), a tray of brownies, and some winter squash. Not a bad day's output for someone who's replacing clapboards, as well.

Been in touch a lot with Mica, and it's interesting to talk with the future governor of Vermont. Wonder how Dan's doing? We never talk anymore.

One more quick issue that has been cropping up a bit-the ghost of Waldorf past. We seem inundated with hints that the Waldorf world goes on without us, and at times, even though you couldn't pay us to send our kids there, but we do feel a little lonely and left out. How can you not? Everyone we know is a Waldorf family, at least the one's we see regularly, and all they do is talk the talk. They get together for organic, macrobiotic dinner parties and talk school shop, it's isolating because they have no concept that they are blowing you off in favor of a comrade, even if they are like water and oil. It's funny, actually.

It's just something we need to deal with. Suffice it to say that the offer is always there for us to join in, they are all our good friends. The impetus is on us, and we've made our choice. It's just that we can't help but feel a little left out. You know how it goes.

Just a note-with or without the whole Waldorf scene, I can't hang with large gatherings, which for me means more than one family. Once a second and third group comes into play, I'm done, and have to struggle to enjoy myself. It ain't easy being so anti-social.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kind of sucks

This kind of sucks, but I live with anxiety over hearing from Marty. Life shouldn't be this way, but somehow, deep down inside, I get a feeling she knows this and works it. People can read me like a book

Big Government

We got our homeschool stuff off to the state and are keeping our fingers crossed as we await word. This has been a good experience in that it has forced us to get off our asses and deal with the situation. For whatever reason, we just blew it all off, and we my very well do that again, but at least we're more aware of what we need to do. Nobody teaches you this shit.

At the very least we need to keep more documentation of the year's activities, and that's simple enough as long you don't have to be organized. Just toss the stuff in a file and deal with it later. Or, better yet, keep track of the stuff.

We are about to leave on vacation and as luck would have it, we are flying out on election day. We can't miss this election. Our flight leaves in the afternoon, so we could get to the polls in the early AM and then leave, but I am thinking I might do the absentee thing.

Torn Between Responsibilities

I had this great idea for clearing the leaves from our yard, but it is in direct conflict with what my kids want, so somewhere I we have to find a happy medium. Here's the plan, I'll rake a big pile that they can play in, and after a few days, mulch it and then cover the garden. How does that sound?

Nicholas got a last minute birthday present from Ruth's brother, and I have to say, my fucking dickhead brother once again blew him off. What a dick, I can't stand that guy. I'm going to write him a letter. My mom sent a card with money, and it was nice of her, but we haven't replied, and I know she's stewing on this.

But I came to a conclusion that I don't want her to be a part of our lives. It's way too painful for me to be around her, and she continues to turn the screw whenever I'm around her. I get so worked up when I think back on how cruel and ruthless my mom and dad were all my life, even to this day, and though I've moved on with my life, I can't get away from it as long as she's involved in my life. She said she wanted to visit, though I know that not only would she absolutely hate it here, but she would go on relentlessly about everything about our lives, especially the fact that I'm staying at home. She is so cruel in that way.

Who needs that in their lives? Plus, I find my mom brings out the absolute worst in me, and the last thing I want is to be that way around my kids. So the only solution is to be the bad son and keep her away from us. I love our lives, I don't want to be judged and I don't want to question our decisions. This is our life and we're entitled to live it our way.

Besides, my mom is so enmeshed in the LA attitude and way of life, and that's about the crappiest way a person can live.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Weekend

It's the weekend, for all that's worth. Actually, I shouldn't say that, it's worth a lot, because it means we spend more time together, and that's huge. The weekend has a dark cloud over it, however, because of this whole Marty drama and Evy's tree. She said she'd like to come over on Sunday, and that ruins our whole day. It sucks anticipating it, it sucks when she takes hours of our time, and it sucks when our day is shot. Oh well, what are you going to do when you buy a house from a legend?

I chased balloons for Gary yesterday and Molly was there to babysit for me, which was a big thing because not only do the kids love her, but Molly enjoys it, and I get to lighten up and let other people watch our kids. It was a little questionable because at one point, there were no adults in their house, but by the time we went up, Lynn had come home and all was good. I paid Molly, and though she was resistant to taking any money, she did, and she's probably glad she did. AND, we have a babysitter whom the kids adore. Great.

I made chicken soup yesterday and it was pretty average, I hate when that happens. I put an entire red pepper in, and some chopped tomatoes, and the verdict was, at least for me, that it was too red. It really needed green, and though I put kale in at the last minute, the soup left me feeling really flat. Bummer. I think I'll toss it out.

Managed to get some query letters out, and even got some responses, though no bites. I hit up the family travel sites, and will in the next week focus my attention on the travel sites, and then the parenting sites. Gotta cast a wide net, go for the fish egg option, and hopefully something will work out. Heck, if it doesn't, I can always blog the trip for free.

And, of course, there's the need to do my day-in-the-life blog, but first things first. We had pizza last night at PC and it saw our law school friend. It was strange because she probably wanted to sit with us, but she was with her daughter whom she couldn't seem to ditch fast enough. It's sad, and yes, I'm shamelessly passing judgement, but for someone who doesn't see her daughter that much, she kept ignoring her to talk to us, even when the kid was begging for attention, literally. She kept asking her mom to stop ignoring her and come see her, and mom kept shooting her down. Tough to watch.

We also saw Nick, the owner, and it's been awhile so I think he forgot my name, which is understandable. It's interesting to watch other families with young kids and see how they cope. You could see the frustration, a feeling we're all too familiar with, though I must say to their credit, they were having a meal and dad was integrally involved in getting food into the little one's mouth. Kudos to him. The food choice, however, was another story. Pizza and mac and cheese, the typical kids food menu stuff. There was a nice looking salad, but with kids, you have to give them foods that pack a healthy punch because they don't eat a lot of it. Salad just doesn't cut it.

We went to the library yesterday and Amanda seemed in particularly rare form, almost tired, fried and bitter. She doesn't take it out on her kids, she's very warm and gentle, but she seems to exude frustration when she talks to me because she goes on for days. I'm guessing she had a rough week and weekend last week, surely not helped by Todd. Either way, the kids had fun and it's always nice to see them. It had been awhile. Amanda does seem hung up on money, however, and will continually ask us the price of things which are really none of her business and probably don't further her life in any way. She seems bent on finding out how much our vacation will cost, and I wish she would stop asking. What is that need to know based on?

Today is Saturday, and we need to start thinking about Halloween. We should finish our costumes and think about how we're going to deal with the Lilly's of the world. I'm dreading it, but maybe that's a part of dealing with life. I will say this, I think Clara prefers to hang with Audrey, or at least she should.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Nowhere to Hide

It seems like no matter how much I don't want to chase balloons, I end up helping Gary because I just can't say no to the guy. Bear in mind, he's worthy of my time, he's been like a father figure to all of us here, but it's hard taking on yet another job in face of all that I've got to do. I'm tired, and I've got no free time, sort of. Either way, the guy's going through some difficult times. He's had a rough summer with little business, and now the fall has picked up and I'm happy he's got work. Either way, I helped him last night and it really screws up my evening because we don't get home until way late, and then we have to feed the kids.

On the bright note, it worked out well because we found a babysitter. Not that there is any shortage of babysitters out there in this area, but we've just never really had someone else watch the kids for any extended amount of time. Either way, we ran into Lynn Jacobs at the Jiffy Mart and then stopped by her house, and Molly was excited to see the kids as they were her. She took over and then I was free to chase, though I felt anxious and guilty at leaving them. My sense is that they didn't miss me for a moment.

We got home very late, however, and chasing really throws a wrench in the smooth running of our machine, but maybe that's a good thing because it forces us to be adaptable and to cope with change. Not an easy thing.

We found a pet sitter, we think, who comes highly recommended by our vet, so I take that as a ringing endorsement, which is enough for me. Even still, I think the responsible thing is to ask for references, we're letting her into our home, after all.

We're also pondering our halloween options and it's become complicated by the fact that Clara wants to have a big group of kids and I'm not into that. There's the Lilly factor, and I'm sure Aiden and others will be there, so Audrey will be left out, and most definitely Nicholas, but I guess that's a part of growing up. Hate to see it, though, and it's no consolation when you have to hang out with the parents.

Horses are done for now, and I'm sad to see it's over but it's been great. Audrey has really taken to riding, and we'd like to continue. We also think we may have found a new friend in Hannah, but once again we're immersed in the Waldorf world. Been talking to Lynn Weatherall more, as well, and I have to confess, she's very nice, as are her kids.

I've sent out a few query letters but there's so much more work to be done. Have to get to the library today, and Paul's coming over to look at some stuff, so we have to prep for that.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Plan

So here's my plan on travel writing-I'll formulate a generic query, then send it to as many travel sites and parenting sites as I can. Then I'll go to print publications... yeah, right.

In the Thick of the Season

Now that we are deeply entrenched in fall, you really begin to feel the season and the changes that are occurring all around us. I have to confess, the change in seasons is valuable to me, and unless you really live in it, you can't appreciate the life renewing quality that each new season brings, and it never ends. I talk to friends back in Cali and they all rant about how much they love the weather, but I just don't get it. I know, to each his own, but the constancy of the warm weather out west I find completely undesirable, though that's what people live for.

Either way, that's life, and I don't need to convince people of whether I'm right or wrong. We had a grand plan yesterday to hit W Leb and get some supplies for Halloween. I had it all figured out, and we were ready to go before Audrey said she was tired (she had a nightmare the night before) and simply wanted to hang out, so we nixed our plan. This got me to thinking about how hard it is for kids to have to be somewhere all the time, and I still can't help but think that the whole setup of going to school for all of your young life is misguided, and if anything, gears you up for the daily grind of work life.

It seems so unnatural to me to bounce kids, young kids, out of bed at 7:00 AM and rush them off to school, tired and hungry, whereby they have to pay attention and learn. How much really gets done? And the ages are getting younger and parents send kids off to daycare at the age of one and older. Sure, many have no choice, I can understand, but you can't deny that there are a lot of people who just want to get to their jobs and away from their kids.

It begs the question, how much is enough? How much money do two people have to make in order to be happy enough to relax and enjoy their lives? It's never enough, I guess.

Either way, kids ultimately pay the price, and in the long run, so too do the parents by missing out on their kids lives. Of course, this doesn't become clear until much later in life, and by then, it's too late. A sad statement on the world we live in.

I guess my point is, we have the flexibility to shift on the fly, and if and when the kids don't feel well, we can take a step back and relax and enjoy our time at home. There are many parents I talk to who wish they could do the same, then again, it could be just lip service. Who knows? I am impressed at how busy people are, it's crazy, actually. And the situation just feeds on itself.

The state of the American family is surely in a precarious position. I think we need to take a step back and reassess what is really important to us, but of course we never will. Such is life.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Always on my Mind

I went into work this morning around 6:00 so as to let R get in for the second shift at a reasonable hour, since she's the face person in this operation, and for good reason (on so many levels). Either way, got my pcr in and then all the way home had dinner on my mind, which is a constant state for me. I stopped at the Coop to get some stuff and planned on pizza and leftover broccoli soup for dinner, but much to my surprise, the kids had broccoli cheddar soup for breakfast, so there goes my plan.

Either way, I'll make the dough for pizza and I'll make a sausage quiche for dinner tomorrow. The problem is, we're going to Gary's after horses, so we won't get home til late, so I'll have to have dinner ready to hit the ground running.

In the meantime, gotta finish A's portfolio follow up so the state doesn't bust my balls. Does it ever end? Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Forming a Plan

After resting on my laurels for months, I think I'm starting to assert myself, but we'll see where this one goes. We are still answering to the state, and I have to get that together, but I've also decided to keep a HS diary regarding all that we do, because we do so much, and to distill it down to a few pages of a portfolio seems to sell it so short. Of course, it's much more complicated than that.

I've also started asserting myself more on the freelance market, and hope to get some nibbles. Hell, at this point, I'd blog for free to do some travel stuff. I've written to Erika but heard nothing, and hope she'll accept one of my ideas for the Nov/Dec issue, but chances are slim, and even if she did accept, I'd have to bust my ass to crank out the piece, but am willing to do that. Why do I sit on these things for so long? Time sure flies, I can't keep up at times. Will Google travel and parenting sites and start writing queries.

Today is a rainy, cold day, maybe a good one for ice skating, maybe not. I don't necessarily like to see all those hockey punks on the ice, but the kids do love to skate, and the practice can't hurt. Bailed on J this weekend, twice, but am hoping she isn't too peeved. It's hard when you've got more important things to deal with, like Nicholas' birthday.

Speaking of which, we had a great day. There were just the right amount of presents, and he loved the ones he got. We timed it well, or should I say R timed it well, I snuck out to go to work. I know how terrible this sounds, but we live and die by our project, and now that it's working, we need to crank out data, but I don't need to explain myself. It was only for a couple of hours in the AM, and the kids were playing with their toys.

I have to admit, I like the small, quiet birthday. It suits me, and the big ones overwhelm not only myself, but the kids, as well. Besides, what a pain to organize, not to mention the expense, which is secondary in the grand scheme of things.

We had a nice birthday breakfast, which N insisted on helping make, and then they opened the first gift from Grandmom, these remote control cars that they loved. They played with them all morning, so I wasn't missed one bit. When I got back home, the kids were playing full swing with all their toys, they decided to go off a bit, which was fine. Personally I think they could have stayed at home all day and played with the toys, but we had plans. AND, we had to check out data.

Then it was off to the bowling alley. I find bowling alleys somewhat depressing, for some reason, especially on a beautiful fall day, but we like to bowl. Unfortunately, there were three birthday parties that day (not unfortunate for the birthday folks, mind you) so all the candle-pin lanes were taken. SO, we took a leap of faith and went for the regular bowling, which I personally suck at. The last time I was in NYC, we went bowling and I was hitting so many gutter balls that my teammates wanted to bowl for me, the losers.

Anyway, we got the big balls. The nice thing is, you can opt for the rails, which pop up for whomever wants them, and chose our balls. A&N were really up for it, and they did a great job. In fact, they hit a few spares, apiece. As for me, I was okay, but I hit my first strike. I couldn't believe it, and R was amazing. So incredibly graceful, she's a natural, and good, to boot. It was a blast and the kids loved it. We set a nice precedent and can now bowl on the regular lanes, away from the depressing corner and more in the center. Don't ask me why that matters.

We jetted by work, got some good data (whew!), then to Hollywood video to get Cars, then to Pizza Chef for dinner and movies. CB came over and she even brought N a gift, so nice. It was a lot of fun, we had cake and I think N had a nice day, though for some reason he's so full of self-doubt that he wouldn't even make a wish. Something we'll have to keep an eye on, he never likes to try things and we may have to assert ourselves more.

BTW, I tried furiously to get in touch with Sam to make our cake. He's over at the Quechee Club, but after numerous phone calls, of which NOBODY called me back (those bastards at the Club), I decided that Sam wasn't an option anymore. Instead, we went with Lou's, and though I personally think their baked goods are mediocre at best, they do have a killer chocolate cake, maybe my favorite. I called it in, it was just the right size, though it struck me as expensive, and I wonder if they charge more for orders. I don't recall it costing that much, but I remember things wrong all the time.

The cake, however, was killer, and still one of the best to me. When we were at Contradance, we had cake for a girls birthday, and it was way average. It had that sucky, hard frosting that reminds you of flavored butter. I'm wondering where they got it.

Speaking of Contradance, it was strange seeing P&J because PD has been putting off the estimate on the barn, and now that he's doing a job for a us, and a big one, he and J both seem inordinately nice. We never hear from these guys, and suddenly it's like we're kin. Weird, and I'm sure I'm reading too much into it, but it's still weird. Just for the record, GD was being very "not-nice" at the dance, completely ignoring all of us. The arrival of Is was our saving grace, but I have to give credit to A, she is unfazed and just jumps right in. She's so good.

And N danced. Just a little, but he went out there, and he had fun. Could be a beginning.

Gotta run and make breakfast for the kids. A&N both had nightmares last night, so we haven't slept well. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

N's Birthday

I can't believe it, today N is five. He's such a big boy, and such a fine young man. Something about little boys that is so endearing, it cool to watch. They seem to show up as men from the get-go, and I'm convinced that a lot of the manly and male qualities are hard wired. Sure, some of the BS macho stuff is forced into their brains, but I'm a believer that you can distinguish between the natural and the forced. You can tell what parts of guy's personality just don't seem to fit and what comes naturally, and the boys that are swimming against their natural tide seem a bit off, almost as if they are struggling with trying to be something they are not.

Either way, we want N to be himself, and it ain't always easy, especially for boys. We have no plan for today, much like we always do, no big parties and no big to-dos, but we do want him to have fun. His sister, Audrey, who BTW is a great big sis, is so excited for him, and we have cake and presents, but again, don't want to overdo it with an excess of gifts. I know, it seems counterintuitive, but the truth is, I think too many presents are detrimental. It just seems to ruin the fun.

We scrambled yesterday to get our state information regarding homeschooling together. They gave us two weeks to respond to their issues, and though some of it is ridiculous (how to do you give samples of phys ed?), we'll comply and deal with it. No sense in bitching, we've chosen a path and must deal with the consequences. We had to retrace our steps and get all sorts of examples of different topics that we'd covered, and it wasn't so bad that it hurt. It just took time.

A has been loving choir and horses, and we're glad for it, though horses will be coming to an end soon. We think she might want to do dance, but we'll see. We totally blew off A's dance buddy, N, and I think her mom must hate us. Maybe we can rectify this situation, somehow.

Our vacation is on the horizon and there's still so much planning to do. I'm anxious, as always, but still want to find a way to blog about it and maybe get compensated in some form, but again, we'll see. I need to pitch ideas to publications, time is ticking away.

I'm starting to stress, so I gotta deal with this stuff. It's not easy trying to kick-start a glorious freelance career, but I'm learning. I've been leaning more towards the whole networking thing, but there's so much to learn that I don't know where to begin. Have to keep in mind, it all boils down to traffic, gotta generate more traffic.

One thing I have decided is to NOT promote myself to my friends and family. It embarrasses me to do so, and I tried it with AM. Not only did she completely blow me off (she couldn't have been less interested), but I felt like a total loser because people who promote themselves are just a bore, and here I was doing just that. Will I never learn?

R&I are flying in the balloon today, and J wanted us to chase, but we can't because it's N's birthday, and I'm not going to compromise it. Why do I feel so obligated to help GL? I feel so guilty when I can't help him, and he's not paying me a penny. I guess, in the end, it boils down to the fact that I like and respect the guy, and would love to help him when I can. It's just that I can't!

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Busy Day

We had one of those "whopper of day" days, yesterday, but that all en par for the course with us, and much of it was rooted in my getting too ambitious for my own good. But such is life, I can't seem to help it, I somehow embrace the philosophy of not thinking about it too much and just going for it. I'll never learn.

Either way, we had riding lessons at 1:00, but before that I baked three loaves of bread, a tray of brownies for contradance, cookies for choir, and made lunch for the kids and soup for dinner. On top of all that, I threw in a load of laundry and hung it to dry (we don't have a dryer, we're so rustic). It was a bit of a mad rush, but I guess in the end, I like it. I like doing the domestic stuff, but more importantly, I like doing a good job at whatever I do, especially when it's for my family. I can't stress that enough.

A had riding lessons yesterday and for some reason the other mother invited a couple of other kids along, thereby disrupting the wonderful dynamic that A and H had together, not to mention compromising their riding lesson by introducing more kids. Now they can't ride like they used to because the teacher has to take care of four kids. Whatever be the case, A still had fun, and the other kids were nice, and we know them. I shouldn't complain, but things are different.

N and I went ice skating and he is so good at it, it's amazing. He's a natural, and once again, we saw the masses of kids skating for hockey at the rink. It's a bit much, these kids can barely skate and their suiting up for hockey. It's possible that they have plans for them to be pros, but whatever be the case, there is a certain degree of pushing them towards this competitive environment that is all a bit cliche. To each their own, as they say.

Today we're supposed to go hiking with CH but I'm thinking we can't make it, there's too much going on, and the hike will be challenging, not that we couldn't rise up to it. We have choir and then contradance tonight, so I'm thinking we'll lay low, even though it's a chance to see CH, our buddy.

A friend the other day voiced doubts about homeschooling, she's wavered before and now she's wavering again. I've definitely heard it before, and I wish I could calm her concerns, especially in lieu of the fact that she's so damn capable, I am personally a big fan of hers, as is R. Their son is worthy of the challenge of homeschooling, but I also acknowledge that it is hard, and if something isn't working, you have to adapt. I hope it works out.

At least it's not raining! It did yesterday but the rain broke enough for the kids to ride, which I'm grateful for. We are still preparing for the big birthday.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Virtue of Fast Food - Not!

Last night, as I was running around town looking for birthday stuff, I was driving home around 5:30 dreading the fact that I still had to make dinner and thinking how nice it would be to just pick up some pizza or a quick burger at McDonalds, not that I would ever eat there, especially with the kids. Personally, I think the process of feeding your kids an inordinate amount of fast food or processed food (some is okay) is akin to abuse, but that's just me.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, the foliage is past peak but looking great. The colors seem to be coming out at odd times, but it's working well. We went ice skating and saw a young boy w/mom who was there last week, and he was really struggling. Obviously it was the first or second time for him on skates, but what really struck me was how his parents were really pushing him. His mom even said she felt like they were so far behind, especially after watching our kids. The week before I saw him there with his dad, and same thing - pushing him hard to skate, and he was having a difficult time.

They obviously didn't realize that our kids took awhile to learn, it was hard going at first, but now they are good skaters after perseverance and diligence. Things take time, and for some reason, we feel we have to be on a schedule. Whatever, we still had fun. When they left, we had the ice to ourselves and Audrey and Nicholas have become quite proficient at skating. I must admit, I love it, myself, though at times I find a rink somewhat confining. I do think that rollerblading really helps with the ice skating.

Anyway, we are in the midst preparing for N's birthday, the big 5-0. I was scrambling around Woodstock and West Leb looking for a good present, and found one that I think he'll like. He's a builder, he loves constructing, especially when there's a reward at the end, like performance or movement.

It's been a struggle to find our good friend, Sam, the baker. He's at the Quechee Club, but I can't seem to locate the guy, and people either have no idea or won't return my calls. I think the only way I'll pull this off is to go over there, but I'm not sure if it's even worth it. We can do this ourselves... sort of.

Anyway, searching around took a lot of time, the one thing I have none of, and by the time we got home, it was late and I had to whip up a meal. I was leaning towards mac and cheese, though our kids have grown to disdain that choice, but will eat it in a pinch. I was going to make fried rice, but had no peas, and that takes awhile. In the end, I steamed some spinach, boiled some penne and threw in some pesto, and sauted some organic sausages from Applegate, and voila, a meal that everyone loved. And best of all, no fast food. I love when a meal works out.

I've been chasing balloons a lot lately, and it's been getting me down because it takes up too much of my time and really throws a wrench in my day. Today I need to make bread, make cookies for choir, make brownies for contradance, and get the kids to horse riding, though it is raining. I never thought I'd be so happy to see rain, but rain means no chasing, and I'm stoked for that.

I want to make pesto and freeze it, that's how we just did it, and the kids love it, and it's a great quick and easy meal. I've got the basil, just need to do it. JD made this great spinach pesto, and that's an option, as well.

The state came down on us and told us our portfolio submission was inadequate, and now we have to scramble to complete the deal. Some of it is so stupid, they want samples of physical education and health education. Don't get me started.

So we have our work cut out for us. Birthday planning will go ahead as planned, and things are falling in place.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rays of Sunshine

Even though it's cloudy and threatening rain, there are rays of sunshine on the horizon. We went to the dentist yesterday and believe it or not, A had no cavities. I was so happy, we are doing something right, though I have to confess, we may be the only parents left out there who still brush their kids' teeth, though only once a day. I really believe that the three times a day works, and they get lots of practice in the meantime.

We are going on vacation in about three weeks, and still don't know who will take care of our cats. It's not easy having pets, but we'll try to find something. I feel bad leaving them, we've all grown so attached to them and want them to be happy and healthy.

We've been making the most of our time with Balloon Gary's car, it's been great, but again, the end is always looming and we'll have to adjust to our lives with one car, once again. Oh well, might as well enjoy it, we've got a lot done.

I've started blogging more regularly not just here but on WB and PS, so things are moving along. It feels good to be connected to other writers, they're all supportive, even with the whole narcissistic thing. Lots of good support and advice, though I've yet to work towards getting more freelance work. I'll have to revisit some of the options, and I want to do a travel blog. I have to find out more about that.

Saw HS Gary and we still have to connect, have lost touch with school beginning and all. Still plugging away, not sure what else to say.

Until the the next time, thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Resting Up

It seems that my life of burning the candle at both ends has caught up with me, and now I'm need of catching up with some sleep. The past few days I've felt just wiped out, and I feel it's tied to three critical factors - lack of sleep, working hard, and eating a crappy diet. I can address two of the three, but the hard work must carry on.

We've had some great days, however, and life has been good. Audrey went to her first choir practice and she loved it, we're so glad. We really think she has a flair for the stage and would thrive on it, but she's pensive about the whole thing. She's so dramatic and always on, so the stage would be a great outlet for her. And, she's got such a good memory for learning song lyrics and lines. It should be fun, and I confess that I have a secret wish for her to do a solo but won't interfere or say anything. Let things fall as they may.

We went ice skating, Nicholas and I, for the first time this season and Nicholas is on fire. He was doing so well, we knew he could do it. He rid himself of his milk crates and just went for it, and he was great. The rink was empty, and save for a few kids, we had it all to ourselves. It felt strange at first to be on the ice after all of our rollerblading, but in the end it was more fun, at least for me. It's just quicker. There were a few parents there with their kids and two dads complimented Nicholas on this outstanding skating. They could have just been being nice, but they didn't have to say anything and they went out of their way to.

Audrey has been loving her horse riding, and she's sort of made a new friend in Hannah. Whatever be the case, she loves riding, and it's awesome that she's found something cool, though she was just as enthusiastic about gymnastics and dance at one time. I think she needs constant challenge, though again, she got that in gymnastics, then grew a little weary of it. Either way, after skating, we picked up Audrey and went blading. They really love that.

I've been meeting more and more single parents, our friend Brian, the water testing guy, just told me he split with his wife, and I couldn't believe it. Here was a guy who seemed to think more along the lines with us, he worked from home and his wife and he decided to take on simpler jobs to spend more time with their kids. Does that sound familiar? And now they're apart. It's sad and disconcerting to see so many families drift, but I don't know what the answer is. I wish I did.

Finally made contact with Cindy, she's the one who told me about the choir, though we haven't seen eachother, yet. Give it time. As for Amanda, I haven't seen her all week, that's gotta be a record. It has a lot to do with not being out in Hanover, but we'll make contact, as well.

I've been feeling a little blue, and I can't pinpoint why, but I know it's multi-faceted. Part of it is the change in weather, part is not getting enough sleep, and part is wanting to write but feeling overwhelmed and not being able to. I usually wake up feeling down, but it fades as the day progresses. I'm feeling better now that I'm trying to get more sleep, and I've vowed to go back on the wagon with ice cream and snacks. Now, if I could just get more exercise. Is that getting too ambitious?

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pulled in All Directions

It goes without saying that parenting pulls you in every direction, especially when you stay at home. It's amazing how difficult it can really be. I've been trying to get so much done and in the end, it seems like I get nothing done. How frustrating is that? I need to take care of so much practical stuff, and on top of that, make meals, homeschool, and oversee life's delicate balance. Did I mention that I wouldn't do it any other way?

Our good friends have been a bit disgruntled with their kids' school and I can totally relate. Their daughter is good friends with A&N and always asks them if they can homeschool, but I have to admit, it isn't for everyone, the grass is always greener. Having said that, it fits us fine, but it's taken literally years to find our groove, and the learning curve has been painful.

Speaking of homeschooling, I'm still struggling a bit with N, he just can't focus, but he's getting the concepts, he likes/gets the math and gets the reading, but is too antsy. It's cute, though frustrating at times. We don't want to force the issue, however, so we'll take it one step at a time. A has been going at a steady clip. I've found that the key has been not forcing the issue too much. Sure, they need a little nudging, and they need to know life isn't just about doing things they like and are fun, but by doing a bit each day, we do get days where she's inspired and goes off, and then there are the days where it's not as easy, but as long as we get a bit done, we're doing okay.

The wood pile is about 60% moved, but it's still calling me. I like the new position, it seems closer and will actually reduce the amount of work for me in the future. Plus, it's nice and tidy, good for an anal retentive as myself. Either way, I'm not complaining too much, though my job elicits a lot of sympathy.

Life has been good and steady, we're still grateful to GL for letting us use his car, it's been so helpful, I love that guy. I've been working a lot more at work, and finally our pcr is working out and hopefully we can get some results and move forward on our project. Need to get papers and grant funding to stay afloat.

I need to finish filling out the paperwork to get our septic system in order and I keep putting it off, though I don't know why. It's our loss, and I've got to finish it today. Also need to look into getting snow tires, I'm told Nokia is the way to go, and I've got to start asserting myself more in the freelance world. I've got to patch up my resume and keep writing for my bread and butter resume fillers, i.e., WB and PS. So much to do, so much research to do.

In the end, all I want to do is hang out with my family. We made brownies yesterday, personally I think it's a great recipe, and tried something new-egg noodle casserole. It came out pretty darn good, if you ask me, but you're not asking me. I've also discovered the secret to making bread easier-patience. By letting the bread rise a little longer, I can not only get more loaves out of one dough ball, but the bread comes out much better, less dense and more like good, killer chewy spongy bread, with big holes.

Now that it's cold, and it's getting cold, our lives have slowed down a bit. We just hang out and live our lives, and it's actually pretty nice. If I'm able to get a good two hour block in, I can get a lot done around the house while the kids play or learn. Gotta maintain social contacts, however, and that's when things get a little dicey, but it's doable.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Writing Again

There was a long lull between blogs, I seem to be too busy to keep it up, but I've begun writing again and it sure feels good. I have yet to formulate my queries to magazines, but I feel like it's a legitimate approach, and one I've got to pursue. Still wanting to somehow blog for travel with family, but I'm not sure where to begin. I need to research this one a bit more.

It's October, and Fall is here. The weather has cooled significantly and we are starting to burn wood full force. I still need to move the woodpile and finish (for that matter, begin) assorted home improvement projects, but they can always wait until next Spring.

I've been making it to karate and loving it as usual, though I always end up sparring with the black belts, who I know go easy on me, though last time I sparred with the sensei and I swear he wanted to take my head off. I think the kids would like it except for the sparring part, so maybe I can teach them along the way. It would be a good thing for them to know.

We are pondering a dance class for A, and then we really need to tap into a fun outlet for Nicholas. He's not at all forthright about it, though he has hinted about horses, which we think would be a great thing. He likes machines...

We spent a good mellow day yesterday at home, and N has been enthusiastic about learning math. Reading he's lukewarm on, though he's clearly getting it, but we don't want to force him into it. The key is that they don't come to hate learning, and with N, he's way more resistant, though things are clicking. He's picking it up, he just can't sit still and focus. I really believe that if her were in a conventional school setting, they would crush his spirit and vitality, he just can't sit still, and even just the thought of that breaks my heart.

The same is true for A, she is such an individual free spirit, and the idea of her conforming to the masses, it still occurs on a smaller level, simply sucks. I'm so glad we homeschool, it really fits our lifestyle, though it ain't easy.

Anyway, we had a nice day yesterday. I always try to have days where we stay at home, even though we have the car. I really have to resist the urge to go for a drive to something mundane, almost as if it's for the simple fact of getting out of the house. The kids help, because when they find a groove and are having fun, which they usually manage to do, they don't want to go anywhere, so it works out beautifully. And there's always cooking. We made a killer peach pie, and the kids were really excited about making it. They bugged me all day about it, and when we finally made it, I excused myself from the kitchen or else lose my mind. And they did a great job, and the pie was great.

I forgot, for breakfast they made French Toast, as well.

The homeschooling thing has been going smoothly, A shreds, she really learns new concepts and takes off with them, though she tends to fly through books, which causes me some degree of pause, but boy does she pick up a lot of info. I have to modify N's' routine, the reading was just getting too painful for both of us. It's cute, though when we begin. We usually brush teeth and then begin lessons, and he willingly joins me in the school room, but the minute I open that lesson book, he's doing cartwheels on the bed. It's amazing, like clockwork. So, I've moved away from Distar, though it's been very helpful, and we've begun to read early readers. They seem more interesting to him, and they are basic reading material, not as dry and forced. Plus they're more fun.

He does sit down and focus with the math, however, and he seems to get a lot of satisfaction out of it. He's good, and is beginning to get the nuts and bolts down for adding and subtracting. It makes him proud, and that's the most important thing. We'll probably hit the library today and get more reading material for him.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Kittens and Horses

One might wonder why, with all the responsibilities that I have at home, I would lobby so hard to get two kittens, in the face of such opposition, and the answer is clear to me - for the kids. A&N wanted to have pets so badly, and one of the excuses why we held out was we wanted to wait until we had a house. Either way, being at home all the time, having pets keeps kids more rooted at home, and time at home becomes more enjoyable. Like Kate said, pets bring so much joy to everyone's lives, including R, who is a cat lover.

I'm a dog person, but I must admit that I love these cats, and I can't imagine having to deal with the responsibilities of a dog. Not right now, thank you. It's been a wonderful time, even though the cats drive us crazy late at night, they are cute and infinitely entertaining. And they are nice and love the kids, very patient. It's been good.

We went riding yesterday and N for the first time showed an interest in riding, pointing out the horse that he'd like to ride IF he did in fact ride. A good first step, and we'll see if he comes around. A had a great day riding, DJ heaped on the praise on how quickly she's learning, and A was beaming. I think she's a natural, at least that's what I'd like to think. Whatever be the case, she's enjoying it, and looks forward to it. That's all we need for now.

As I mentioned, we went to see the play two days ago and I sealed my place in the SK hall of shame, but such is life. It was just a reminder that I can't live up to her expectations, and maybe it was just meant to be. I did see some of the UVH moms, J and T, and they were very nice and cordial, and opened the door to returning to the group. Not sure if the kids would be up for it, but there are some classes I think they would like. And the social thing is not a bad thing.

I was also the shameless, insecure writer and fell into the tiresome act of self-promotion, justifying it by wanting to generate more traffic. As if. Anway, I went out of my way to show AM my work, thinking that it would somehow magically transform my life or change the way she sees me (as if I even wanted this). If there was anything to say in my defence, she is an amazingly nosy person, and as I was checking my email she literally stood there and stared at the screen, with absolutely no concept of what she was doing, so I figured if she was going to read my emails, I might as well show her something towards self-promotion. No excuses, shame on me, but she could back off a little. Anyway, I don't get a sense she will ever read my stuff, so maybe no harm, no foul.

The question is, if a blog is never read, does it even exist? Of course it does, for the blogger.

We took GLs car in for an oil change and there was a problem, they couldn't get the filter on and he said it was a problem with the engine casing/mount, and I should have it checked out. He gave me the oil for free, I felt bad, but at least the oil is changed. I'll have to tell GL about it. We also went to Lebabon Pet Store to get a covered litter box, and wouldn't you know it, they were sold out. How could that be? I got a bigger box, either way, and I think it'll work better, and then had the brilliant notion to build our own cover. It could work, you never know.

Had to jump through hoops to get our homeschooling paperwork to the state, and we still don't know if it's all in order, but nonetheless, I think we get credit for turning it in. It's all a learning experience. The people at the office, Karen and Sharon, have been very nice and very helpful, so I'm grateful for that. I've found state workers, at least Vermont state workers, are so much nice and so much more helpful than US government workers. Why is that?

I've been neglecting my writing, at least for the places I like to write, mainly PS. I am beginning to wonder if they hate me for my neglect, but no matter. You do what you gotta do, and I've got issues to confront at home that take precedence over my glorious freelance career. Now begins the long and laborious road to writing queries and seeking out interesting publications. Wish me luck.

I spoke to a good friend of mine, or former friend whom I haven't spoken with in years. We used to be former party buddies, he was one of my best friends in high school, LH. Apparently he's been through some rough times, got divorced and is now scraping by, but he's lived the male porno fantasy for the past several years. I.e., good looking women, multiple partners, and a profusion of cocaine. He's very good looking and very manly, so the women go nuts for him. As he told me his tales of sexual conquests, however, there seemed to be a bit of a sad tone to it all. LH a great guy, decent and true, so even though things seem to be going well on the surface, he's got a bikini model fiance much younger than him, he's rid of his bitch wife, somehow I came away from it a little depressed, and felt his life so distant from mine. Maybe because he's got a family and he's been doing so many drugs. Whatever be the case, I couldn't relate, and can't imagine anything getting between me and my family. I have to count myself lucky in that way.

I never for a moment take that for granted, and that's what helps me keep going, even when I'm down on the ground.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Social Complexity

We went to see the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe and the kids loved the play. I was a bit worried, it seemed sophisticated, and personally I thought the production was well done, great acting/singing and an overall very nice production, but for a kid? I kept an eye on A&N for excessive fidgeting but they did very well, and afterward they said they loved it and couldn't wait for the next one. I'm glad they enjoyed it, and have a secret hope that they'll develop an appreciation for the theater and maybe even want to be on stage, but you can't push such things.

I screwed up big time with SC, and if I thought she hated me at one point, I know she does now. It's funny because this has happened in the past. She likes to sit the boys up front because they can see and they have some leg room, and then I show up and ask them to move and everything gets screwed up. Life was simpler when we weren't talking, a situation I'm sure has been rekindled. Part of the problem is that we haven't seen them in so long, and A&N really wanted to sit with the Ms, so figured we could all sit together, but it threw out SC's master plan, and in the end, her sons got a little blown off, and knowing SC, she ain't digging that. I can't blame her, I'd be pissed off, too, but it's my bad. I should have simply let things evolve as they may.

I had planned on simply having pizza for lunch, but everyone we know seems to have issues with pizza, and instead opt for more expensive options. So instead of spending ten bucks on lunch, I ended up spending twenty on Chinese food. In all fairness, the food was good, and the kids loved it, and I'd like to think it's healthier than pizza. There was broccoli, after all, and some soup. Just have to avoid the General Tso's and all that sticky, goopy stuff, as AM would say. Lunch was fun, though, and we enjoy the Ms company. The kids all seem to click really well, and I appreciate that the older kids are nicer to the younger ones. They all really get along and I feel lucky to have such good friends.

The weather was so nice yesterday, and I could feel myself getting anxious knowing that I had wood to relocate and gravel to lay out, but I didn't want to rush the moment, the kids were clicking and having fun, and it's important for them to spend quality time just being crazy with their friends. We finally headed home in the afternoon and wouldn't you know it, but CB called and came over. Does it ever end?

Actually, it was fine, and her brother came over and they all loved the kittens. Besides, it was a short visit, the B's were off to the library and were going to pick up CB on the way back, so she was over for an hour and half and then it was back home. I tried to move wood but there wasn't much time, and rain was on the horizon. I also had to get the gravel out before the big rainfall, and had to make dinner. Speaking of which, there's a killer and easy recipe for lentil casserole that actually came out very well. And talk about easy! I feel like it's a small victory when we can have a vegan dinner, don't ask me why. It's so much easier to cook meat, it seems to make a meal, but so much meat.

I am managing to get a lot of the logistical stuff done while accomplishing all the necessary items in our lives. I had to investigate the artesian well for the septic designer which involved researching the company that actually drilled it over twenty years ago. Fortunately, they are still in business. I took care of the cat's vet appts, and am trying desperately to get back on track in terms of writing, but I seemed to have hit a lull. I'll have to get back to blogging and start writing queries to assorted publications. I do feel like the writing is going somewhere.

Finally, there is the house and life stuff, the most important, and I can't lose sight of that. Oh, and then there's work. Can't forget about that one.

Gotta run, time's running out and before I know it, the kids will be awake and I have to report for duty. Until the next time, thanks for reading.