Not A Hoarder

Have you ever noticed how nobody lets you say you stink at something anymore?

Is it midwest nice? Has the ugly and pervasive habit some people have of saying they are bad at something just to hear others tell them that they aren’t seeped into our souls so we think it’s expected of us? Have we swung to such a stupidly positive culture that we can’t admit our faults anymore?

For instance. I am a bad housekeeper. However if I say this I am immediately met with claims that my house is in fact nice, tidy and clean. Since I can count the times I’ve washed the floor in this house on both legs and don’t believe in dusting these claims are ridiculous, uneducated and clearly false. My housekeeping has maxed out on the level of “not a hoarder”. And I am for better or worse totally fine with that.

Neither am I one of those who will claim to be poor at something just so that I can be praised. I’m not a huge fan of telling people my faults. I’d rather run with the idea that I can do anything, but of course I can’t, or in terms of house cleaning, won’t. So if I humble myself to admitting that I’m terrible at something don’t try to talk me out of it. That’s terrible for my ego and John still has to live with me.

In an effort to once and for all say, “I am a terrible housekeeper” without trying to be talked out of it I give you Exhibit A:

This tenacious little plant grew in my sink strainer under a large pile of clean dishes. Yes, I was home the whole time. (No, John was not, which is certainly a factor in its appearance.) Yes, it does have a root that goes down just as far as it is stretching up for light and yes I did transplant it into my greenhouse next to the other tomatoes. And yes, I can tell you, after raising many tomatoes from seed, a tomato plant doesn’t grow that fast overnight!

Now, next time you hear me say I stink at cleaning the house you can sympathize, you can tell me about your own plants you accidently grew, you can tell me it doesn’t bother you but please, for the love of sprouting tomatoes, don’t try to argue that I have a clean house!

Red sky in the Morning…

I woke with a start to a room bathed in red light and the sky on fire. Certain for just a second that the apocalypse was here, brought on by yet another foolish time change.

In the next moment I realized that it was nothing more than a red sky of warning for any inland sailors foolish enough to go sailing during today’s brewing late winter storm.

But I still hate time changes…

Ivy’s Favorites at 14 Years Old

Ivy, what’s your favorite…

Color? – Pink and Black

Animal? – *looks around the room for inspiration* “Not sure.” (This from the girl who has been begging me for years to re-start the favorite posts. Maybe she wasn’t expecting such a tricky one…)

Farm Animal? Do you have one of those?- “Maybe, yes. Yes, I like the ducks”

Not a duck.

Bird? – Eagles or owls

Food? – Ice cream

Clothes? – Sweatpants, sweatshirt and a tank top. (No kidding… Covid has been rough on all of our wardrobes but Ivy lives in this 24/7.)

Dog? – “Goose, but don’t tell Trip.”

Cat? – Cassie

Thing to do? – Read, hang out with you or watch anime.

Thing to do inside? – Read or watch anime (delivered with a sigh, apparently this question was repetitive).

Chore? – “Laundry or washing dishes.” (Hooray! It’s true she does laundry and washes dishes!!!)

Time of day? – Morning (Weirdo.)

Place to go? – Grandma Mary’s

(Note the clothing choice.)

Song? – I have lot. It might be Dacing in the Dark. (This must be true since she walks around with one ear plugged into music dancing and lip synching along 95% of the time.)

Flower? – Tulips

Thing about school? – “In quarantine? I don’t have to change my pants and I can do school in my pajamas. In general I really like my teachers.”

Friend? – “Natalie (can I say my top three?) Hyja, and Kyla.”

Movie? – Brave

Thing to do with Clara? – “I like playing card games with her. She’s the most willing out of everyone to play.”

Thing to do with Jane? – “I like when we are both in the same room and we are both reading and it’s quiet. I also like playing in the hammocks or silks in the garage with her.” (Hmmm… that first answer speaks volumes…)

Thing to do with Dad? – “Play board and card games or hiking.”

Thing to do with Me? – “I like playing ecologies with you and I also like swimming when you are coaching.” (She likes it when I coach? Amazing! Maybe it’s because I don’t outright tell her I like to watch kids suffer like John does when he coaches?)

Sport? – Swimming

Book? – The lunar chronicles plus Heartless (That’s like 6 books btw…)

Author? – Marrisa Myer or Cassandra Claire

Meal? – Brunch

Thing to do in the car? – Read

Thing about winter? – Skiing!

Season?- “Fall” (Why?) “because swimming starts and it’s also really pretty.”

Part of living during a pandemic? – “I don’t like the pandemic… I get to play more games with you guys.”

What do you want to do when you grown up? –  “I. Don’t. Know.” (Someone has to choose her first high school classes and this question is looming it’s scary head quite often in a more real way than it ever used to.)

When you get older what kind of problems to you want to help solve? – I don’t know that either.

Anything else? – One of my favorite classes in school is Spanish and I also really like art.

Last time I asked Ivy her favorites she was only 9 years old, take a look back and see how things have changed!

Ivy’s Favorites at Nine Years Old

Happy 14th Ivy

Ivy turned 14 today!

She chose to spend her birthday skiing with a group of families where she is the oldest girl by far but Ivy loves skiing with her five year old buddy.

Then we had a family birthday party with Grandma, Grandpa, one Great Uncle and Great Granny. The festivities ended in a card game where she happily crushed her grandpa’s game and gracefully lost to her dad.

Ivy chatted with everyone from 2 to 96 today and while she has a special birthday treat planned with a friend in the future, John and I couldn’t help but glow with pride at the way our young lady handled herself today.

Happy Birthday Ivy!

Measuring

I start my day in careful thought,

Measuring out my energy in drips and dots.

A splash for breakfast,

A smidge for chores.

Waking the girls will require more.

I allocate a pinch for lunch,

But the drive to town requires a bunch.

Time at the pool gets a generous shake,

And it’s hard to see how much is left when there is dinner still to make.

I dole out smidges, dabs and bits,

Until the children’s night time hits.

I tuck them in and say goodnight,

Struggling to keep my words coming right.

I collapse on the couch, the well run dry.

But tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll measure better.

Or at least I’ll try.

A Dead Possum Day

This morning while outside doing my daily chores Goose brought me a possum.

He unwillingly held it for a moment while I took a picture and then spit it out into my hand (never pass up an opportunity to practice good retrieves). Having no real issue with possums, I always stick them up in a tree when the dogs bring them to me and let them come to and wander off when they are ready. This morning though I had a better idea, a way more fun idea. I put the possum up on a platform bird feeder in the backyard, well out of the reach of the dogs and then went inside to announce to the entire house of schooling and working people that their was a possum playing dead in the birdfeeder and they should keep an eye on it so they can see it walk off.

John came down from his office to adjust the possum so he could tell from his view when it woke up. Kids ran to windows. The excitement a possum can bring to this household is not to be underestimated.

And then we waited…

And it turns out that while every other time the possums the dogs have retrieved have been playing dead, this possum was dead dead.

It seems like a perfect analogy for those days that seem like they’ll be shiny… and then… no.

A dead possum kind of a day.

Somedays are like that.

Until next time,

May your health be fair and your dead possum days be few.

The Last Sparkle of the Season

I have never been one to take my tree down right after Christmas. I have a pile of “reasons” for my procrastination that could rival the height of the gifts on Santa’s sleigh, but mostly it’s just that I love the sparkle.

I love winter. I like the cold and the snow and the chance to recharge from the wild summer months. I am, however, not a big fan of the dark. Right now we have just over 9 hours of daylight. The google search that told me that also told me that we only average about 4 hours of actual sun per day in January. I would scoff at that but I feel confident the sun has only been out for about 2 hours in the last week, so I’m believing the random internet sites today.

Stunning hoar frost is a happy perk of a foggy, sunless week!

We wake up in the dark, the kids go to bed in the dark and even when the sun shines, it barely has enough oompf to get over the horizon for many of these so called “daylight” hours.

My Christmas tree, on the other hand, is full of multicolored lights that shine from when I wake up to when I go to bed and I love it. But last weekend I looked at the train that runs circles around the tree and noticed it had been traveling so long that it drove itself from a winter wonderland to the green grass of spring.

It was time to take down the tree.

I had left it up for so much longer than was wise that any needles left on it showered to the ground when I touched it. There was no way there would be a single needle on it by the time I dragged it to a door. And those bare twigs looked like perfect kindling…

And so I got my pruning shears and trimmed my tree branches off into tiny pieces and stuffed them in my kindling pile.

Unwilling to get rid of the lights till the last moment, I just moved them in as I worked.

I sat back admiring my handy work, never feeling more like my father’s daughter than I did just then with my Christmas tree turned kindling, and decided to leave it up for just awhile longer.

Now I have a stick with a ball of lights globbed onto it lighting the room with its soft glow behind me, a cozy fire in front of me (dead Christmas trees really do make excellent kindling!) and I’m contentedly enjoying the last sparkle of the season from my rocking chair in between.

Help me out, what do you do to brighten up the house when the holiday lights come down?

Nightmare Meditation

Perhaps you remeber my futile foray into guided meditation? Well, I didn’t give up completely. Instead I decided to try (in that same afternoon brain rest time) just concentrating on my breathing while listening to my favorite non-music.

Apologies to the creators Macaroni Union, I’m sure this song made in a collaboration with sound therapists has got musical depth and integrity that are astounding. However I, having little of either, find it to be a soothing collection of noise that my brain can’t anticipate a pattern from. Making “Weightless” the perfect thing to use to block out background noise when trying to give myself some brain rest or outright fall asleep. This makes sense because it was scientifically created and then proven to be the world’s most relaxing song.

So back to my “meditation time”. I block out the light, turn on music found to lower listener’s anxiety by 65% and focus on my breathing until I either fall asleep, get bored but feel well rested enough to get up or actually achieve something like successful meditation as I fall asleep into a dream where my relaxed mind has let a demon crawl through the song into my realm and it’s now sucking the life from my body and it’s imperative that I “snap out of it” or die.

Meditation continues to not be my thing but I do recommend the music. Give it a try sometime and let me know what you think. I’m fairly confident it doesn’t always come with life sucking demons.

Next Up – Letter Writing

I love this November tradition of blogging everyday and reading my fellow cheer peppers posts but now it’s time to turn my attention to our annual Christmas letter.

This year, so far, I’ve got an abundance of envelopes, a paltry amount of stamps and zero ideas for a letter.

But I’m a Cheer Pepper. I’ve blogged everyday for a month. I’ll come up with something!

I love getting Christmas letters in the mail. Are you a fellow letter writer?