Monday, March 31, 2008

A Kijabe day

The weather today had me thinking of "home" again. It's a drippy kind of rain with temps somewhere in the 50's. All that was missing was the red clay tracked throughout the house. Though my boarding school experience wasn't all that blissful--it has, however, recently come to my attention that everyone had a lousy childhood and most of my classmates were suffering as well--I could not fault the location. Tucked up in the Kenyan hills overlooking the Great Rift Valley, concrete block buildings that never really seemed to lose the chill, fog in the morning--freezing in gym class and huddled around the space heater in art. I still wrap up in my kikoi when it's cold.

I now sit here with a cup of chai--the real thing (not Starbucks' spiced swill they've been duping the masses with) minus the infusion of smoke from the fire under the dented pot.

Tea, water, milk, sugar. Boil all together--careful not to boil over--pour, wrap cold hands around the cup, blow just a little and enjoy. Best enjoyed under the African stars, sitting around a fire listening to Masai Moranni singing their lion song.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Books

As you may have noticed I've added a nifty little widget off to the side that catalogs my/our book collection. I figure if I add a dozen books a night then maybe, just maybe, I'll have our books cataloged by the new year. Oh, I'm not exaggerating--fine, maybe a little, but certainly not by much!

Husband and I were laughing about breaking the website that hosts the widget. It has several neat features, but if I used them, they would cry. For example--they look at what you read and recommend chat groups of like minded readers. Our book collection doesn't fall into categories like that. We run the full gamut--from sci-fi to fantasy, from historical biographies to modern day war stories (anything written by a former Spec Ops person--it's on our shelves), from humor to horror, from mystery to romance--it's all here! So, please, Library Thing, match me with a like-minded reader! Just a side note--I truly believe that civilization as we know it would cease to exist if there were no longer second-hand bookstores.

Another thing the website does is make reading suggestions based on books you already read. So far everything they've recommended is already on our shelves. Wow, they're good!

Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to go back to reading my current book--Twilight. Quite good actually. It was a birthday present from my sister--who managed to borrow it and read it before I did. That's fine--I did that with the Johnny Cash CD I bought her last year!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Friday with friends

Yesterday was another glorious day! One would almost think spring was here...then it dropped back down to the 50's today. Oh, well. A couple of our dear friends from our days in Virginia Beach drove up to spend the day with us...they also happen to be our god daughter's parents.
Princess #1 enjoying the sunshine with Princess #2

Everyone getting Kyleigh to laugh...not that difficult!

Husband rode the Buell yesterday and Little Man had to do his Spaceballs impersonation. I missed the shot where he was on his tricycle wearing his daddy's helmet.

Ending the day at Crump Park. Jacob graduated from the toddler swings--this one spins so much better!

Her royal hinniness...I just had to play with the niffty features in the new iPhoto.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A day at Maymont

The weather today was simply gorgeous! Cousins are all on spring break. We had no other choice than to all get together and be outside.


Maymont has a farm animal petting/feeding area. Lots of goats!


Even Kyleigh got to enjoy the day! The pack worked wonderfully--though, let me tell you, that's a workout!


Jumping stepping stones with Donia.


And this is why the Wee Man is now sleeping!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Breaking in Mini Mac

Munchkins are all abed, Husband is leaving for work--translation...I can sit on the couch and break out the new computer! Nobody napped this afternoon and this is the first chance I've gotten to sit down and play.

Just to grant a small peek into my geekdom...it's Tuesday night so, of course, I'm parked in front of American Idol (yes, I tend to Mystery Science 3000 the show). Tonight, however, I'm kept company by the new MacBook Pro--"Mini Mac"...not to be confused with a Mac Mini (all you Celtic music lovers out there, all together now--Marry me, Merry Mac...) Technically, this is a work computer. Um, sure. Thanks, Mr. Tax Man. And all the widgets I'm downloading, they're just to help me stay creative. Yeah, that's it.

On a side note...said munchkins are both feeling icky. Wee Man has his first ear infection...I suppose I should be grateful that this is his first but I'm so flippin' tired of everyone in this flippin' house being sick! Where is spring?!

How to get the most out of your new Mac (box)

Take out computer, insert child.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Un-American?

It's, what? Almost 9pm? And I just realized our cable company drastically cut our available channels. Not sure when that happened--we actually haven't had the television on for anything other than movies in several days. Does that make me un-American because I don't consume my weight in television viewing? I don't watch NASCAR either and I never saw one single episode of Sex in the City. I don't watch The Office, and I don't understand the Simpsons. I am, however, a closet American Idol fan...though it's a fairly transparent closet since most people know I watch it.

In the past when the cable company has switched channels over to digital they've sent notifications in advance to warn us. Guess they just assume everyone is on digital cable by now. Not so, Overly Large Cable Company! I'll hold out to the bitter end--baby needs formula and new shoes! We can't afford digital cable. And, yet, there I was on Craig's List this afternoon looking at motorcycles...

"I misspoke"

Or, "Be careful of what you say around a 2-year-old"

A while ago, during one of our more chaotic mornings--yes, it does get chaotic around here--Jacob asked for juice. I got distracted doing something else--yep, that happens too--and was brought back to task by my adorable offspring's loving reminder that I was to fetch him his juice.

"Right, milk."
"No, Mommy--Juice! "
"Right, I knew that--see I was reaching for the juice--I just misspoke."

And that has become his word of the month. Again, just now. I called the table a desk.

"Mommy, did you misspoke? Because that's not a desk, it's a table."

And in his own special way, that makes him the delightful child he is...

"But this can be a desk for right now, Mommy."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Yep...it's a Friday night

And where am I? Sitting here at my desk, in my pajamas, sipping tea and wondering if it's really too early to go to bed. I used to be a really cool person! Really!

One day, not too long ago, during one of my visits with my sister her husband came home with a used acoustic guitar. My youngest nephew took it and started strumming. I sat down to show him a couple of chords and he just looked at me with this wide-eyed look--you know how to play the guitar?! I then explained that before he met me I was pretty hip. I wasn't always the no-style, no-sleep-getting, frumpy, grumpy aunt that he saw before him.

I actually do make an effort to go through my closet on a fairly regular basis and attempt to de-frumpify. That's when funky pieces--like my Prana camo pants and MK red cords--get added. Oh, yes, and my Earth shoe cowgirl boots. I tend to set my own rules for style anyway. I wore a bikini while pregnant, I wear socks with my sandals, I often wear white in the winter, I don't own a slip and I refuse to wear pantyhose. (And all of those just made my mother cringe.) Looking back over that list--guess I'm still pretty cool after all. Even if I am sitting here in my pirate jammies typing in my "diary".

Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's official...

I am now, officially, a professional video editor along with being founder, president and CEO of Kuona Productions. Or, rather I will be once I get paid. Or does merely being hired with the agreement of payment make one a professional? It's all very confusing. However, I now know the difference between a corporation and an LLC (limited liability corporation). I've decided to go with neither and simply register my company's name with the county. The other two require meetings, minutes and business plans--and several hundred dollars and legal fees. My business plan--have fun, break even and gather clients.

video

Kuona (ku-O-naa) Swahili v.: (to see) To observe, to show, to witness. To get knowledge or an awareness of through the eyes; to perceive visually; to look at.

Cinema Eye--a phrase coined by early 20th century Russian documentarian, Denis Kaufman (aka Dziga Vertov) to encompass his belief that the mechanical eye of the camera was a more perfect means of "exploring the chaos of visual phenomena filling the universe".

Though Mr. Vertov basically went on to be rather loopy, the idea of the camera capturing images missed by the human eye is one of the aspects of photography and videography that fascinate me. Hence, the reason I've named my production company "To See"--of course, it is me after all, which is why it's in Swahili.

Nyquil...my new BFF

So, this is what it feels like to sleep most of the night. I should do this more often! After progressively getting worse throughout the day yesterday--as opposed to better after battling this crud all winter--Husband was on Kyleigh duty last night and I went to bed wonderfully loopy on Nyquil.

One gripe--I'm a stickler for proper dosage on meds and completing a round of meds. The dosage amounts listed on the bottle stated 2 tablespoons every 6 hours for anyone over 12. Fine. However, the little plastic dosage cup doesn't have a 2 tablespoon mark. Don't make a sick person convert ml into tablespoons! What were you thinking, you Nyquil making people?!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sucked in to the madness!

It is 11:oo at night. My tired, exhausted body should be tuck away in bed. But noooooo....I had to see someone else's blog earlier where they had changed the little URL icon (the blaze orange B up there before the http) to their own custom coolness.

Of course I have to figure it out. Thanks to my brilliant husband I now have the know-how (and other nifty cool stuff). But all of the free software to do it is designed for PCs and Windows. Once again--dang, stupid conspiracy against Macs! You just want to be like me, but you can't be and that's why you make my life so difficult! I'll find away around it. Oh, yes I will. Just not tonight--me and my weary bones are going to bed!

Two-year-old logic

We do our best to limit the amount of TV that Jacob watches. He barely watched any TV until my last month of pregnancy with Kyleigh--I was simply too tired, too achy, too everything and Bob and Larry made fabulous babysitters! Now he's limited to a maximum of either one movie per day or two Veggie Tales (half and hour, sweet and sour...Veggie Tales!) He has a couple of full length movies that he really likes...Night at the Museum (dinosaur movie) and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (the least scary) are his current favorites.

This morning Jacob asked to watch Harry Potter. Fine. Harry Potter it was--on and off of course because this is a two-year-old attention span we're talking about here! Later on we went out and met my sister for lunch--the lunch venue very quickly shifted from where I wanted to go (Panera Bread) to where Jacob would be the most entertained (Chick-Fil-A with an indoor playground). On the way home Jacob asked if he could watch his dinosaur movie and the this is the "conversation" that followed:

No. You're not watching another movie because you already watched Harry Potter this morning.

No--my dinosaur movie, not Harry Potter. I don't want to watch Harry Potter.

No, Jacob. You already watched a movie today. No more movies.

Why?

Because you don't need to sit in front of the TV for another hour and a half and watch a movie. That's why.

Silence...cue crickets...

But...I was going to sit on the couch and watch my dinosaur movie.

Explain to me how I'm supposed to argue with that kind of pure and unadulterated logic?
Just so you know--I did not back down and we built a tower out of Jenga blocks until it was time to have the nap argument. Which, judging from the lack of sound coming from his room, I either won or Jacob has simply figured out how to play quietly.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ahhh...clean house!

I really try and keep a clean house. I'm realistic about it though--I have to be with a dog that somehow blows his coat all year, a bulimic cat and a family of four. But the house does stay relatively clean. Except for these past couple of weeks. With sleep deprivation on top of being sick, it's a wonder we've even had clean clothes and dishes! I'm so very grateful for a husband who cooks and cleans--we break all of the laws on gender roles in this house!

Even when I'm not sick and exhausted I still don't like to mop the kitchen or clean the bathrooms! It's not like I enjoy living with the filth, it's that I can't handle the industrial smell of cleaning products. Why does something have to smell like a nursing home or our dorms in boarding school in order to be clean? Well, it appears I'm not alone in that thinking. The good people at Mr. Clean came out with a cleaning product that I can live with--and now my house smells like lavender and chamomile and I know it's clean! They should compensate me for the plug, don't you think? So, the house is clean, laundry is done--folded but not put away (I said I was feeling better, not that I became some sort of super mom overnight!) Wee little ones are down for naps and Husband is out at the shooting range testing his new rifle. Ah, the American household.

Oh, important safety tip--when using a dust mop on hardwood floors, do not--and this is important--use furniture polish on the mop head thinking it'll pick up more of the doggy hair. Poor Jacob has wiped out so many times I'm surprised he's not all black and blue!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The cast so far...

Jacob...aka Captain Underpants...action figure sold with everything you see here. Angel blanket cape sold separately.

Princess Kyleigh, she who must be obeyed.














Dakota T. Dog
The geriatric doggie. Picture him with a skinned nose from
where he fell down the stairs on Sunday.




Sebastian T. Cat
Our diabetic household drama queen (named after a homosexual vampire--Once Bitten Lauren Hutton, Jim Carrey--it's a classic, you should watch it!)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Things I can't live without

All right, how about "Things I can live without but I don't want to"--is that better?

Coffee maker--I have an unnatural relationship with my coffee maker. With it's programmable brew time and insulated carafe, it has fresh hot coffee waiting on me when I stumble downstairs in the mornings.

My Mac--we've been together for six years...multiple keyboards and mouses and one fried boot drive...still, a rather long term relationship between human and computer.

Books--take away the tv, but please don't take away my books!

According to some, we have a few books in this house. The little ones are also developing a love of books. My heart sighs when I hear Jacob "reading" to himself. It's also just about the only time he sits still!

Time for more coffee...and yep, it's still hot!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Daylight savings time...

I've always found the idea of daylight savings time arrogant. The presumption to control time--rather arrogant indeed. I don't even wear a watch--that's how much importance I place on time. However, to sit here at my desk by the window and look out at the sun still fairly high in the western sky at almost 5 in the afternoon--I say, well done and thank the good Lord for the arrogance! I am a solar powered being and this has been a very long winter.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Memo, what memo?

Oh, that memo...the one that said the mommy isn't allowed to get sick. Yeah, didn't get it.

Fortunately Husband didn't work last night so he was up and about and able to help with getting Jacob down for a nap. Not sure why my normally hefty immune system has been hit so hard this winter--might have something to do with the fact that the last truly good night of sleep I had was sometime back in the summer of 2004.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Family day and bargains...

Yesterday was a gorgeous day. Jacob woke up feeling better--if his bouncing off the walls was any indication. Kyleigh and her incoming teeth actually let me sleep. There was no excuse or reason to not enjoy the great outdoors. And to insure that this playground visit didn't end up in the emergency room like last time (Jacob bounced his head off of a picnic table and ended the day with three stitches--now a scab which he is very proud of!) we woke up Daddy to join us.

Following playground, picnic and haircuts for the boys--for which they were both very well behaved, we swung by my former work to pick up a baby backpack carrier that I'd been wanting for Kyleigh, who is rapidly outgrowing her sling. The model I wanted retails for $120. I was annoyed at myself for not getting it while I still had pro-deal privileges and would have only paid $80 something for it.

A while ago I had sent a garment back to the manufacture to be repaired and had since been informed that they could neither repair nor replace the piece so I was given store credit to find my own replacement. Since the garment had been a gift to begin with, store credit was like free money. Back to yesterday. Armed with my credit--which was enough to pay for half of the pack--we walked into the store and there right in front--last year's packs were on sale. For half price. That's right. I paid $1.57. In the words of my brilliant and highly educated sister...wowie kazowie!

No...that is not me nor is that my child (I neither wear a watch or jean shorts). Just wanted to show the carrier. This is off of Kelty's website.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Life's little ironies

Following the birth of our daughter in October I resigned my position at the outdoor gear retail store where I had been working for the past almost four years. Since my decision to stay at home with the little ones it has occurred to me that it is far more socially acceptable to walk away from a college eduction to stay at home with children than it is to walk away from the same education and work retail. Odd. I loved the industry I was working in, I count my former co-workers as my friends, I throughly enjoyed my job--and I went to work in shorts and sandals. Isn't that the meaning of success--loving what you do and doing what you love? (To the one person who just said, "Nu-uh...it's about making money"--you're sad and delusional, we have nothing further to talk about, get off my blog.) However, as much as I enjoyed my job, there were times when I felt the need to explain that I did have a college degree and yes, I could understand big words. Now, it's almost as if I've been raised to this coveted position of being the stay-at-home-mommy that other moms on the playground only dream of.

Here's the ironic kicker--we are better off financially and as a family unit with me not pulling in a paycheck than we were when I was. Hmmm. Not much of a sacrifice. Even me and my limited math skills figured that one out pretty quick. My staying home has freed up Husband's schedule in such a way that not only is he able to pick up some of the off-duty jobs he enjoys, he is also able to go back to school. Between his school grant and his employer's tuition reimbursement, his tuition is paid for. He also receives the GI bill for school--money in the bank and the wife can stay home. While I usually feel completely and totally unqualified for the job of "Mommy" our little household seems to be thriving on the change.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Roots

Global nomad, third culture kid, missionary kid...which ever label is applied is inconsequential--they all fit. The point is I grew up without roots. Where I was born, where I was raised and where I now live are all geographically and culturally different. I am a believer in the "bloom where you're planted" philosophy (mix that with a little Jesusism, Taoism and Mother Earthism and there you have my core beliefs). However, even with embracing the nomad within, there's always been a part of me that wants a place to stand and say with firm conviction, "This, right here, is where I'm from."

My parents are buying a house on this side of the ocean. Not super close, but same state--which by our standards is "right next door". Though there are no plans to retire any time soon they felt the timing...housing market...was right so they've gone ahead and done it. No, it still doesn't give me roots. What it does give me, beyond a really sweet vacation home, is more family close by.

The greatest lesson I've ever learned is that family, above all, is most important. It doesn't matter to me that I don't have a home town--that's just geography. What does matter, however, is that I have a family that loves and accepts me unconditionally. We don't always agree, we don't always get along--and sometimes we don't get along rather loudly--but I cannot think of a single instance when some member of my family wasn't there for me when I needed them. And that's pretty impressive for a family that's been scattered over, at times, three continents for the past 30 some years.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Cars

A friend of mine in Holland just recently blogged about driving--or rather, her lack of driving and about how nervous she gets when she does have to drive. It got me thinking. From what I've observed in American culture we tend to be defined by what we drive. Muscle cars, classics, eco-friendly, whatever--they all tell you something about the person who owns it. (Except in my husband's line of work--the cars all belong to the driver's cousin or girlfriend and they were just driving it...and no, that bag of crack isn't mine either, Officer.) You never see mini vans at drag races. Though, I did go see a school bus race one time--gotta love the south!

I would be lost without my car. I remember all of the vehicles I've owned, yet I have a difficult time remembering past boyfriends. Even in Spain when I really didn't need a car and Things 1, 2 and 3 spent more time in the driveway than out on the road, I wouldn't have not had them. Thing 2 clung to life even after the gear shaft broke in 3rd gear--still managed to drive from Rota to Seville! Thing 3 made the journey back to the US with me. Though all the loving care in the world couldn't help it when its frame decided to warp and it was sent to the great junk yard in the sky. All of them have been like my children--petulant and demanding children, but children non-the-less.