Month: October 2004

Sleeping Beauty

I’ve been reading a book which is basically a Sleeping Beauty variant. Generally I really enjoy a well done rewrite of a fairy tale, but this time something keeps bugging me and I figure if I write about it in here I’ll purge it from my brain and be able to enjoy the rest of the book.

Why did the parents send away their daughter?

Supposedly sending the baby girl away keeps her safer from the evil which cast a spell on her. But it also deprives both parents and daughter of all meaninful contact during all of her childhood years. Suppose the daughter is kept completely safe and is returned to her parents at age 16. Yay, the spell has been defeated, but daughter and parents are left with no real relationship and no way to make up for lost time. Now suppose that the spell comes into full force when the daughter is 10 and she dies. The parents have been deprived of what might have been 10 years of enjoying the company of their daughter.

Maybe it is because I’m a controlling parent, but I would have a really hard time handing over my daughter. I wouldn’t believe that anyone else could do as good a job as I would raising her and keeping her safe. I would find a solution which allowed me to keep her as safe as possible while still being the one who raises her.

And as soon as I finished writing the above I started thinking about the courage of birth parents who give up their babies to adoptive parents. In essence the dilemma of Sleeping Beauty’s parents happens every day. Every day there is a young mother who looks down at her beloved child and knows she must give the child up to strangers so that the child will have a better future. And these young birth mothers have no promise that the child will every come back, not at 16 or 18 or ever. Such courage puts me into awe. I don’t know that I could be so noble. Especially not if it required me to hand over one of my children.

Halloween Parties

The Chaos of Candy which is called Halloween officially began today. Because of the teachers’ convention which begins tomorrow, today was the last day of school in October and therefore costume & party day. I helped out for the party in Kiki’s classroom. Gleek and Patches came along too because in a room full of sugar-high fourthgraders the amount of chaos they added was negligible. This should tell you something about the experience.

All of the kids were in costume. Lots of cute. Some cute trying to be scary. Some grubby trying to be cute. But the most frightening costumes of all were the young girls dressed up as Paris Hilton. Creepy.

Tonight was also our church Halloween Carnival. The teens put on Carnival games for the younger kids. Prizes and candy are handed out like . . . well . . candy. My kids love this annual event. Even Patches loved it. He kept coming to me yelling “Canny!” with his fist around some treasure and then demanding “Op-en!”

We brought them home wired & tired with buckets full of candy. We then sorted through it. They each got to keep 10 pieces of candy and I bought the rest from them. This way I don’t have to make extra trips to the store. The kids get enough candy to be happy and money with which they can buy something else. And no one gets sick. (we hope) This ritual has become an accepted part of the holiday and will be repeated after trick-or-treating.

For tonight they’re all abed. Tomorrow I don’t have to make them get up early. I don’t have to make them get ready for school. I don’t have to make lunches. I think I like days off as much as the kids do. By Tuesday I’ll be ready to have them go back, but a few days break will be nice.

Tired Ramblings

I’ve been pondering lately whether the quality of my Live Journal has suffered lately. Quantity has measurably fallen off, that is obvious, but has the shift in my lifestyle affected my ability to write?

To answer my own question, no I don’t believe the ability is affected at all, but my motivations are different and that has to come through in my writing or lack thereof. On the other hand the principles around which I base my life haven’t changed at all and so any changes in me are surface changes therefore not affecting my writing.

Gah. I can’t be my own observer. Sometimes I wish I could. Mostly I think what a bad idea it would be if I could observe myself objectively. I’d spend all my time observing and studying. I’d never get anything actually done.

Those are just idle, tired thoughts anyway.

The Day of Vomit failed to materialize. Apparently it was upset tummy rather than stomach flu. This qualifies as really good news. I already have more stomach flu stories than anyone could want to hear.

Much of today was frittered away at where they have addictive little games to get hooked on. Insaniaquarium caught me in it’s clutches and now when I close my eyes I see fish and coins and stars. I need to go to bed. Tomorrow is the Day of the Halloween Parties because the kids have the rest of the week off and the church party is scheduled for the same day. Sugar highs and crankies incoming. Possibly more vomit too. Whee?

So glad that wasn’t MY bed!

Gleek and Patches share a room. This means that in order to avoid them playing and keeping each other awake I frequently put Gleek to sleep in my bed and move her after both kids are sleeping.

Tonight as I picked up Gleek to move her, she made a funny grunting noise. I got her into her bed, tucked her in, and then heard that sickening “Hoooork” which means I now have vomit to clean up. Hot Chocolate & noodles. Whee.

I’ve changed sheets and sponged mattress, pillow, & carpet. I’ve re-made the bed and tucked Gleek back into it with a pot handy. Now I’ve got to put Patches back to bed since the noise woke him up. And I’m contemplating the fact that earlier this evening Patches told me that his tummy is Owie.

Loads of laundry incoming.

Opportunity Seeking

Triggered by Hawklady’s comment to my journal entry on Accounting Happiness, I’ve been musing about finding opportunities and making the most of them. I’ve been thinking alot about a character in the Lloyd Alexander book Taran Wanderer. I can’t remember the character’s name but he labeled himself as “lucky”. He and his family lived by a river. They set out nets in the river to catch anything which might float by. The character claimed that any time they had a problem the solution would come floating down the river and get caught in their nets. The title character, Taran, noted that what was really happening was that whatever the man happend to catch was put to good use.

I feel like that lately. I’m keeping a constant inventory of things we could use and a constant eye out for free solutions to problems. It is amazing what is available for little or no cost. My local branch of has been wonderful for this. But I’m also looking a the resources I have here in new ways. Suddenly I’m discovering ways to repair clothing which had seemed too full of holes to be worth anything. I’m discovering the value of preventative maintinence. I’m stretching my creativity Making Do.

Most of all, I’m really enjoying this. I sometimes miss being able to walk into a store and buy brand new shiny things. But I’m discovering that I find joy in taking slightly shabby things and making them new again. I’m enjoying the challenge of fishing in the stream for things I can use. I suppose it is possible that this joy is the result of novelty, but it doesn’t feel that way. It is more the joy of finding that skills I’ve been neglecting are actually really useful. I have the joy of making things that will be useful once they are finished. (As opposed to most handicrafts where you spend bundles of money to buy the materials, hours of time to make the thing, and then have no where to put it or no one to give it to.) True handicraft is to make something you can use from items you have on hand.

Now it is time for me to get back to work. I’ve got clothes to make new.

Bad Dreams

This morning I came awake in the pre-dawn hours with the very grateful awareness that “It was only a dream.”  I really hate dreams that require me to get out of bed and check on the well being of the children.  I hate the way they stick in my head all the next day haunting me as if they had actually happened.  Feelings linger regardless of the unreality of their source.

I intended this morning to take extra time to just love my children.  I wanted to savor the fact that I have them and that they are all healthy.  I wanted to enjoy their unique irreplaceable personalities.  What a joy and a miracle it is that I have them.  Instead we were all caught up in the pre-school hustle complete with Patches-damage to Kiki-beloved items and an infuriating broken zipper.  I was steaming mad when we drove away from the house.  I’d calmed down enough by the time we arrived at school that I apologized for yelling and wished Kiki and Link a good day.  It wasn’t until I drove away from the school, leaving them behind, that I remembered how I wanted this morning to go. Then I cried.

I know that I’ll see them after school.  After school I’ll get the chance to hug them and love them and enjoy being with them.  But my dream looms in my brain with a shadowy persistent “What if”.  So many chances of happiness are lost because I allow small things to interfere.  Tragedy may never occur, but that doesn’t change the fact that this morning’s chance for happiness is gone.

Accounting happiness

Today was accounting day. Every Monday I gather all the reciepts and bills for the last week, then I sit down and enter all the information into Quicken and make sure all the numbers match up. This has become even more critical since Howard left Novell and we can’t afford to have money go MIA.

Today I made our first non-benefit health insurance payment. Ouch. I also had to pay off a credit card with a Barcelona hotel stay on it. Novell had already reimbursed us for this, but it was long enough ago that I’d forgotten that the money was only borrowed. With those two and assorted other bills I watched more than $3500 disappear from our accounts. The amounts left over were rather discouraging to me. I looked at the numbers trying to figure out how I was going to make the money last long enough. Finally I just got up an went upstairs where I could get away from them.

It is a good thing I did, because Howard was upstairs in the kitchen. And we ended up having a conversation which reminded me that there will be actual income arriving from commercial cartooning he is scheduled to do. In fact there is enough work currently lined up that Howard is going to have trouble doing it all. I was prepared to get stressed about that, when Howard reminded me this is a GOOD thing. People are willing to pay Howard to cartoon. They are willing to pay enough that rather than watching the money drain away over the next couple of months we will be able to at least hold steady maybe even grow the accounts.

I feel so blessed and I am incredibly grateful that having Howard home cartooning is even possible. How did we get so lucky?

Harvest Time

This afternoon was filled with the joyful glee of harvest time. It began with an innocent mention of the fact of many ripe tomatos on the vines. Kiki snatched this bit of information and went a-harvesting. Patches, Gleek, Link, and a neighbor boy all went with her.

I was downstairs deep in concentration on a sewing project when I became aware of the sound of children very close to my window well. They had discovered that tomatos shoved through the window well grate made a satisfying splat sound upon landing. At first it was only rotten tomatos, but by the time I ran upstairs to call the game to a halt every tomato their hands touched was being declared “rotten”. Even the green ones.

I chased the swarm of children away from the nigh barren tomato plants, but true to the nature of most swarms, it didn’t disband, just settled in a new location. This time the focus was the Walnut tree.

For those who may not know, Walnuts form slowly over the course of the summer as green balls on the tree. These green balls are half again as large as you’d expect because there is a thick green outershell to protect the walnut shell which in turn protects the nut itself. Apparently nature herself has learned the art of over packaging. This green outershell has the ability to stain fingers and clothing black. If boiled it would probably make an excellent dye because it doesn’t wash off. Late in the summer some of these green shells turn black, soft, and squishy because small maggots have moved in to eat the outershell. Gleek calls them “cute little worms!” everyone else in the whole world calls them “EEEEEEW!”

Fortunately our walnuts are past the wormy stage. The outershells have dried and curled back and the walnuts have begun falling from the tree. Kiki discovered that shaking the tree would bring down a rain of walnuts. (Don’t get hit. They hurt!) Then the swarm would gather the walnuts and hand them to Kiki through our back window. I don’t know why the window. The door was right there. In fact they developed an assmebly line. Neighbor Boy would peel off any remaining outershell, Patches would deliver the nut to Kiki, Kiki would sit inside and place the nut into a bucket. Link and Gleek had wandered off to play something else.

I like this kind of game. Now I have a bucket full of walnuts that need to be shelled and dried so that we can use them.


I used to have largish blocks of contemplative time. Time in which I was taking care of children, but my brain could wander whithersoever it wished. I haven’t had that lately. Instead my hands and my brain are much busied with projects. Some of this is the result of the influx of yard work which was imposed by the arrival of flower bulbs in the mail. (They’re all planted now. Yay!) Some of it is the natural consequence of needing to trade some of my time in order to save money. I’m doing lots more dishes these days because I’m actually using dishes to cook stuff instead of buying convenience food. Some of it has disappeared into organization projects. I need to be organized so I know what my resources are. We have lots of useful stuff in storage, but if I don’t know where it is when we need it, we’ll have to spend money to solve problems.

Hopefully I’ll soon be through the glut of business and I’ll have more contemplative time.