Monday, October 27, 2008

SWDB 102708

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...October 27, 2008

Outside my Window...crisp air and lots of oak leaves.

Towards a daily rhythm...I've decided to participate in this year's NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) yet again: one post per day during the month of November. I'll be inevitably out of town during part of it, but I enjoy the daily challenge.

I am thinking...Now that I've nailed down my thoughts and preferences on all the local races, I need to go vote. Because I can.

I am thankful overall good health.

From the kitchen...Can you say muffins? Yes, you can! M-u-f-f-i-n-s! Yes! Okay, I'm off to make muffins.

I am wearing...comfy patagonia yoga pants and a stretchy aqua shirt. Brr, I need a sweatshirt, too.

I am reading...the first of several new library books.

Labor Day: Shared Experiences in the Delivery Room (Thirty-five personal accounts of courage, humor, sweat, and the ultimate of joy, unquote.) Edited by Ann-Marie Giglio.

Reading the Wind, a new sci-fi book by Brenda Cooper. I've barely started it, but it promises to be very, very good.

I am also reading in some of my old pregnancy books about what's going on and labor-strategies.

I am creating...another dance program. I pull out some ideas for individual dances, look at old programs (so as to copy or avoid duplicating), think about the skill level of the crowd, arrange in some kind of sequence allowing for breaks and the swell and ebb of energy, add and subtract to make a good flow for the evening, decide on alternates, evaluate again. Rehearse, get psyched!

I am hoping...That my parents and in-laws had many fun conversations and managed to avoid politics during their visit entirely.

I am hearing...the furnace blowing, and Milagro Saints on the CD player

I am going to breathe deeply...and try to maintain some patience for volunteers and poll workers who call. I am experiencing a little campaign fatigue and am getting tired of being asked every/every other day if I can be counted on to support my candidate, if I have voted yet, if I can volunteer again, if, if, if. I am all for the GOTV effort, but it's getting a little much.

Around the house...washing all the new-old baby clothes and piling them according to size. I love all the thrift-store finds! Before washing, the cats have to snuggle up to them in the basket so they are properly broken in.

Bring beauty to my home...images of light and neat details.

One of my favorite things...finding useful things in thrift stores. Seeing beautiful old things salvaged and put to use.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...A dance program, a costume, a lesson plan, a party, a lunch, baking, sewing, writing, another dance program, another appointment, another round of dishes/raking/cleaning.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Tiny Leafy Volunteer


Friday, October 24, 2008

A few happy things

I'm feeling compelled to post today, but I'm not quite organized enough to write on a single topic. So...

A few happy things recently:

-- Crisp, juicy apples in season. Is there anything that tastes better this time of year? (That's rhetorical. I mean: No!)
Cheese and Apples in Season

-- Being able to "wake up" my daughter to make sure she's okay by shoving at my belly a little.
"Wake up, you! Are you okay?"
*boink, boink*
"Oh, that's good, then. As you were."

-- A relatively painless car-buying experience. Tiring, yes, but painful, no. The car payments are painful, oh yes!, but not as bad as they *could* be. Plus now we have this cute new car with four doors, more space, and rubber floor mats all around. If we have to have (nngh!) a new car, at least it's attractive and practical.

-- Freezer waffles! With real maple syrup! How I love thee and thy lack of complexity.

-- Having the dance program pull together and find a shape. Having old teaching patterns click into place.

-- A postcard from Italy. Even if you know that the happy couple was just churning these out in their free(?) time.

-- Surprise phone calls from friends wanting to get together. Yay!

-- Bloggers who email appreciation after I comment on their blogs. I know! I'm impressed! I'm not usually that organized.

-- Snuggle cats. Especially the bad cat who decides he'd rather snuggle than shred random important documents.

-- Dancing to lively Quebeçois bands. Oo, yeah, this'll be fun!

-- Thoughtful, well-written blogs. My blogroll doesn't even begin to cover the swath of things I read. Here's a short list of some blogs/websites I've been enjoying recently. Not that these are new, not that these are all of them, just that I've been slow (and lazy) to update my blogroll.

uppercase woman
vanity fair mag online
peculiar momma
Pam's House Blend: Always Steaming
sweet juniper
xkcd: a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language

-- Cut-n-pastIng together a handout for my students, and giving them just enough information on a single page that they can grasp at their (low-beginning) level. It turned into a surprisingly interactive material and built on the vocabulary and concepts they were already familiar with.

Some students were drawing lines from illustrations to vocabulary terms, and others were carefully re-writing every new word, and others were gleefully latching onto this American concept we call Halloween. Oh, so that's why people are doing these weird things. They think it's hysterically novel that people make Jack-o-Lanterns, dress up in strange costumes, and ask for candy.

So the handout was a hit. Yay for clip art! And an extra yay! for my husband who pulled this project out of the fire when my printer choked on said clip art.

Halloween concepts

Next week: Doorway dialogue. "Trick-or-treat!" "Who are you?" "I'm a ghost." "Oh, you are very scary! It is a good costume." "Thank you."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SWDB 102108

A Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...October 21, 2008

Outside my Window...planes, trains and automobiles. And sunshine on slowly turning leaves.

Towards a daily rhythm...feeling strong kicks. She's getting creative. Left, right, high, low, both sides at once, now! It's weird when she dances on my cervix, yo.

I am thinking...of too many things.

I am thankful for...a warm house. but not too warm. I enjoy the crisp bite in the air as Autumn turns our way.

From the kitchen...making great headway in clearing stuff off of flat surfaces.

I am wearing...stretchy black leggings, stretchy purple top. And some blue-and white-beaded dangles.

I am reading...a wonderful book a friend just sent me called Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-life Parenthood. This collection of essays is edited by Camille Peri and Kate Moses of with a foreword by Anne Lamott. I've been dipping into it here and there, and I have not yet failed to find something that makes me laugh, moves me, or gives me lots to think about.

I am also reading a book I've temporarily ran off with from a friend's house. I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women's Lives by Ellen Goodman and Patricia O'Brien. Most excellent! I'm not reading it straight through, mostly skipping around at this point. I would like to finish it to the point that I can return it. Another fun, moving and thought-provoking book. There seems to be a theme going this week, huh? Women and their lives.

I am creating...plans for pesto, plans for early Christmas cookies (if my kitchen is to be torn apart during that prime season), plans for a Halloween party for my students. I like making plans.

I am hoping...I can make all these plans without driving myself crazy. The perfectionist has all kinds of wonderful ideas, and wants to make everything sooo complicated. As if I can't do something without it being The Most Wonderful manifestation ever. I am hoping to keep my focus on the core goals: fun, friendship, good food, learning, calm spaces and festive gatherings, people feeling good about what they are doing.

I am hearing...the faint squeak of a cat's snore.

I am going to breathe deeply...and take 15 minutes to declutter ("boogie") my desk of paper clutter.

Around the house...a bowl full of basil leaves and late tomatoes and sweet peppers. They are almost too cheerful to eat.

Bring beauty to my home...see above. :)

One of my favorite things...lists of things to do. Since I try to use the FlyLady way of working in 15 minute increments, I often draw a series of boxes for each task, the number depending on how much time I think I should or can do that. So even if I work on something for a mere 15 minutes, I still get to check something off.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...Making (educational) invitations for the Halloween party, finding canned pumpkin to make pumpkin-chocolate-chip-muffins, and taking a few piles of goods to the thrift store. I still have to confirm that I am coming to the dance I am calling this weekend. I need to think about putting away and/or protecting all of the things in the kitchen and house during kitchen renovations. I expect the plaster dust to be astoundingly pervasive, so I'm planning to take proactive/protective measures.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...


Saturday, October 18, 2008

SWDB 101808

A Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today... October 18, 2008

Outside my Window...It's been sunny, then gray, and cloudy.

Towards a daily rhythm...getting enough sleep. Getting enough water.

I am thinking...of how to respond to a friend who declares that women shouldn't have children after the age of 38 (because of the risk of Down's).

I am thankful husband, my husband, my husband! And a number of thoughtful and cheerful friends. :) Also, the group of women who are happy to pass on baby-related advice as needed, and other friends who trust me with their sensitive and possibly painful stories.

From the kitchen...My mother recently made me a huge batch of "black-eyed pea potpourri" which includes lots of vegetables. I have not been able to restrain myself from eating this at least a couple times a day because it is so good, very nourishing. In addition to the black-eyed peas, it features tomatoes, celery and carrots and various herbs.

I am wearing...The most comfy jeans (with a wide waistband, natch), a rose-purple-y turtleneck (large, natch), and a long, plum-colored sweater-jacket I bought years ago at an outdoor market in Italy. And my vintage-style gold dangly earrings. Somewhat mismatched but cozy!

I am reading...The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff, a story peopled by Willie Upton, returning to her "perfect" small-town in hidden disgrace, trying to find the mystery of her own father (her hippie-turned-religious mother tells her it's someone locally related, not the one-of-three in her SF free-love days as previously told), delving through generations of ambitions and madness, framed by local characters who know her past but not her future, and a mysterious and compelling "monster" pulled out of Lake Glimmerglass. Whew! Is that all one sentence? It's a mystery of a story. Oh yes, and a free-spirit friend who's dying on the other side of the country. A search for self that's both both archeological and picturesque.

ALSO, just finished reading Cool In Tucson, a murder mystery by Elizabeth Gunn, alternating viewpoints between the man who committed the murder, the lead investigator tracking down the case (who happens to be a woman), and a few other people of import to the story. The plot is wonderfully entangled, but plausibly so, with the myriad motives and obligations of family, departmental, and business relationships adding rich complexity. The tension as the investigators close in on the information they need to understand the situation is like watching the pieces come together from multiple directions on a jig-saw puzzle. Wow! Such a great read that I finished it in one day! I'll have to find more of her work.

I am, and more space.

I am hoping...that all my weird belly feelings are nothing more than slow digestion and insufficient hydration.

I am hearing...birds calling. A blue jay has been lecturing all the others in the front yard for hours.

I am going to breathe deeply...and get a little more space under my ribs.

Around the house...I'm gathering clothing and other items to take to the thrift store. I'm looking forward to clearing more space.

Bring beauty to my home...earrings hanging in rows, like little jewels.

One of my favorite things...chili-chocolate and quirky compositions with color and light and unusual combinations/perspectives.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...Bring in the rest of the garden produce before temperatures prematurely dip near freezing this week. Write lesson plans and programs. Possibly repaint the cabinet if I can work in time and space. Make a prioritized list of those house jobs. Decide where to meet my friend for lunch!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Truffle Favors

Saturday, October 11, 2008

SWDB 101108

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...Saturday, October 11, 2008

Outside my Window...the oak tree is starting to drop leaves, and some of the leaves are turning orange and yellow.

Towards a daily rhythm...another load of laundry moving through the system.

I am thinking...of the economy + energy prices and how that will affect everyone in the next year and for years. I know a lot of people who depend on traveling and construction for their livelihood... which then affects the people around them. As one small example, if we have a band traveling from the next state to play for a dance, the gas prices will eat into what little profit they make. Communities are under pressure to raise entrance prices, and then some dancers are becoming more reluctant to travel longer distances to pay more to dance... This is just one small part of one story of the hundreds that are going on in the world. I think everything will be squeezed. Maybe we will be forced to relearn frugality and to invest in our local economies. That would not be a bad thing.

I am thankful small and mostly debt-free.

From the kitchen...I am eating the very last wedding truffle. Rose-flavoured dark chocolate with an edible glittery pink sheen. Yum.

I am wearing...a comfortable T-shirt and cozy green velour pants. Oh, and house slippers. It's a lazy Saturday morning.

I am reading...Hell and Earth, a fantasy novel by Elizabeth Bear. Think of Queen Elizabeth of the Promethean (Iron) Age and Queen Mab of the Faerie world, both whose power is under threat from various factions and machinations. They are somehow linked, and only Will Shakespeare and Christopher "Kit Marley" Marlowe (who can walk in both words) are in a position to help. I'm enjoying Kit Marlowe as both personality and literary character. He's somehow made a deal with the devil and gained/lost advantages, trying to reconcile himself with choices he was forced to make. There's the whole historical/political undercurrent as well which I don't understand so much. It's an interestingly woven story.

I am creating...a plan to get all of our house projects done. Just talked to another friend/acquaintence who does small house and yard projects. I like the idea of having multiple people take on different parts of the total, as long as they can manage to not get in each others way.

I am make headway on house and yard tasks this weekend.

I am hearing...Bela Fleck's Tales From the Acoustic Planet (acoustic banjo jazz) and my sweetie typing on projects, writing to various people about an electric car conversion. Also one of our cats making funny and pitiful mews.

I am going to breathe deeply...and remind myself to spend more time OFF the computer today. Starting after this post!

Around the house...I'm moving things around incrementally. I'm maneuvering a large storage box out of the closet in which to store my pre-maternity clothing for later.

Bring beauty to my home...Not sure. Honestly, making the bed every morning brings a clear, calm space to at least one place in the house.

One of my favorite things...dancing to wonderful music. Feeling in the flow of music-people-dance. I felt good last night and danced a lot when my energy was up. The band had some appealing new material that drove the dancers wild with happiness. I was happy for them that they had that success, and happy that I could give them enthusiastic feedback. Also, I was particularly grooving on their sound - like old time string band with a jazz groove, heightened by a drone/buzz in the upright bass and a mysteriously exquisite horn-like fiddle tone.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...I'm trying to look ahead to 1. Work on dance programs for the next six weeks and 2. Prepare to open baby registers at a few stores. I'm making an infant clothing chart to keep track of what is needed clothing-wise, or else the plethora of 0-3, 6-9, 12 month clothing in various styles will confuse me to no end! 3. Plus my usual ongoing ambitions.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
Supplemental sugared fruit for the wedding cake last weekend.
Sugared Fruit


Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook 100208

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

Outside my Window...holly berries turning russet on their way to red. Also, a wonderful, large, garden spider has taken up residence on our porch! Fortunately the web is both out of the way of the usual foot traffic and in a good location to catch many mosquitoes and moths plaguing us.

Towards a daily rhythm...Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head... I am coming back to my daily maintenance routines.

I am thinking...of friends who are getting married this weekend, and who we might see while we are at the weekend-long event. That will be a happy and relaxed occasion. I am also thinking of my friend who lost her baby a couple weeks ago... a couple days before her due date. That's some sadness lurking around the edges. I also need to call my mother and wish her a happy birthday.

I am thankful for...the warmth and connectedness with my husband. Recent dreams tapped into the emotional drama of weather and life chaos, and heightened my appreciation for his presence. I enjoyed seeing him in the middle of the day for our OB appointment. I'm also thankful that I have the appetite to eat a variety of foods these days. I am thankful I can feel the baby move, even if it is a little disconcerting to feel those unfamiliar sensations.

From the kitchen...Frozen waffles are my new favorite thing to eat. While I'm in the freezer, I also love fresh, natural ice cream tasting of vanilla and cream. But I did have some wonderful "Gypsy Soup" with tomatoes, chickpeas, zucchini and peppers.

In the garden... The lantana is starting to slow down from its annual conquest of the front garden. The rosemary and lavender are happy in this cooler weather - even a few blooms. The mint grew so wild and lavishly that it dried up and died off... leaving room for new growth to start pushing forward already.
mint - second wind
The tomatoes are still growing, but I have fallen behind in keeping up with them! I have more than I know what to do with, both of the plum tomatoes and the heirloom golden ones. Also on the vegetable front, the sweet heirloom pimento peppers are finally starting to turn red! I was worried that the season would turn cold before they matured. The basil is still chugging along.
HC Basil Waves

I am wearing...yet another maternity outfit with a stretchy loose leggings and a tailored over-top. I am also wearing some of my sleek leather shoes--my feet are not (yet) too swollen to enjoy them.

I am reading...Philip Roth's American Pastoral and enjoying it surprisingly well. Some of this descriptions and phrasings leave me gaping with admiration and laughing with delight. The story started slowly, but then with a few twists, it suddenly has much more meaning and weight than I had anticipated.
Earlier, I read Mind the Gap, a modern fantasy about the alternate life under London.

I am creating...more space in the house and more space for the things that matter in my life. Tonight is movie and popcorn night!

I am hoping...I can keep moving forward on all my plans. I am hoping that the childbirth instructor we want to work with emails me back! I am hoping that we can keep finances on an even keel with all the sorts of life changes and big projects going on. I am hoping that our country gets back on track.

I am hearing...the soft snoring of my cats napping in the office, and my fingers tapping on the keyboard.

I am going to breathe deeply...and try to let go of my frustration with less-experienced people who I'm not positioned to advise.

Around the house...Slowly decluttering and putting things away from last weekend's messy camping. I've been working away on the oily floor and on the pile of dishes. I'm pleased to be making progress.

Bring beauty to my home...I'm working on this new bed quilt at least once a week.

One of my favorite things... I love how the seasons shift. Fall is coming on and leaves start falling, the light starts shifting, the air dries out and becomes crisper, the sky becomes bluer. I'm savoring the cool bite of evenings recently. Then coming inside feels actually cozy rather than a respite from the earlier heat.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...recharging all of my rechargeable batteries to be ready for all kinds of wedding fun. Yay! Wedding fun! I'd also like to start making batches of pesto to freeze and eat fresh. I usually have until mid-November before I have to worry about a freeze.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Spider on Reflection