Sunday, August 31, 2008

Having a great time.

Tipton, IN over the Labor Day weekend is a family tradition of long standing for us. Once a year we get to see people we've known for decades, who watched our kids grow up - and who are growing gray with us. It's the best. This year we lost an old and beloved friend; the 100 year old oak tree at the northern edge of the arbor area is gone, and it is a bit disorienting, and much hotter at the afternoon sessions. This is the one Pow wow we don't miss even when we have almost stopped attending them.

wish you were here.


Friday, August 29, 2008

What Matters

Sometimes it is hard to sort out what really, really matters from a group of convoluted issues. But it is funny how out of a whole slew of things for me, for right now the main issue shines out like a beacon.

To some people what matters most is love, integrity, and things like the Golden Rule. To other people, what matters most is money. Using money as bait will easily let you know where a person's heart is. It's no wonder that so much of the advise in the Bible is about not loving money.

I'd get more specific, but some people involved might read this blog, and the internet isn't really a place for private thoughts that might hurt loved ones. We'll just see how this one washes out.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

what/where is today? I feel as if I've lost my grip on the space/time continuum.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Oh! Woe! What have we come to!?!
(yeah. That's a dead chipmonk given to us by Dinah the Mighty Huntress, and I posted this as a dare.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Research Project

I am considering buying an acoustic piano for Hannah. She has outgrown the low-mid range digital we purchased 8 years ago. I am looking for a real instrument, not a nice piece of furniture, but it would be nice to find both in one.

So far I know something of how to spot a true basket case that will never again make music, and I know how absolutely breathtaking a $75,000.00 Steinway Grand sounds under the hands of a true musician.

Now I need to find the sweet spot where my rather paltry budget and an actual musical instrument will meet, so that Hannah can continue to spread her musical wings.

Wish me Luck. ~M.E.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Blame Game

HIGHLAND, Calif. — Authorities say a 16-year-old girl who died after losing control of her car had been texting on her cell phone moments before the accident.

Kayla Preuss, of Highland, was driving on the Interstate 10 Freeway in Redlands when she lost control of her car and crashed. She died of head injuries.

Authorities say Preuss had been driving drunk and was speeding. But another factor may have contributed to the crash.

Phone records show Preuss was texting just before the accident. Her cell phone, which was flipped open, was found resting on the floorboard by her feet.

Preuss' mother Kelly said she hopes the accident will make other people think before texting and driving.

Does this tick anyone off except me? The mom wants other teens to think before texting and driving? Hello? Do you see what else was going on?

She was 16 – that means she had her license for less than one year.

She was drunk – just a few more clicks reveal another news article that states her BAC was 0.18.

She was speeding - I couldn't find out how fast, or if she had been ticketed before.

The accident occurred at 2:40 AM – anyone ever hear of a curfew for young teens?

She was driving a sports car worth in excess of $40,000.00.

Her mother, bless her heart, states that she had warned her before about the dangers of texting and driving.

Texting while driving is not a good thing. It is a bad thing, however, bad parenting caused this tragedy.


Friday, August 15, 2008

comings and goings

~ Harry leaves tonight for Philly. I'm sort of glad we decided against going along with him earlier in the summer with the current state of events being what they are. He'll be back in a week, but these trips always seem about three days too long.

~ Ken and D.J. will be here tomorrow to start their yearly sabbatical. For the second year we have a place where they can shut the door and call the space their own. This year, it won't even feel like they are camping, because the guest room has furniture. I hope they love it.

~ Neil has left for the last time before he starts back to college for his last semester. It has been interesting having him ghosting in and out of the house all summer - not a guest, but never quite at home. I hear he is used to a more formal atmosphere. He may be back to help me with a project late next week for a day or two, but just as likely he'll be busy with one of his three jobs, the song cycle he is feverishly composing, moving back on campus, and starting classes.

~ Most of the job applications Meredith has sent out seem to be for jobs outside of the Springfield area - specifically back in Chicago. Quickly she has forgotten how she came to dearly loathe life in the City. All of the myriad daily stresses that it took months last winter to wash out of her psyche, and such a short time later she is willing to chuck it all and jump back into the fray. For what - money? excitement? - infatuation? No sense trying to reason with her, she'll have to learn this one again, on her own. No matter what I said, I'd be wrong.

~ I'm not going very far right now. I have some sort of - something - wrong with my left foot. It seems to be healing, but it's slowing me down. foo.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Harry

Today's the big day. 25 years ago I conned this kid into walking down the Church aisle with me and making a lot of promises in public. Guess what - he kept them. But what to do about it?

Harry bought me not one - but three nicely framed pieces of reproduction artwork. I'm now the lucky owner of a fake Klimt, a repro Blake print, and a framed Leonardo notebook page of cat doodles. He also randomly purchased a lovely and appropriate silver bracelet for me.

What did I find for the guy who has everything? A studio that he can once again be comfortable working in. Yup - the walls are done. Sadly, they are two different colors, but the good news is that they are *only* two colors.

Dear Harry,
Thank you for being a great guy. Thanks for putting up with all the junk that comes from living with three girls - and mostly doing it with great fortitude. Thanks for being a fine example of that disappearing species - man who takes care of his family. I love you


Monday, August 11, 2008

something new

I did something new today. I went horseback riding. I think I rode a horse once back in High School at one of those places that take you on trail rides on brain-dead animals. Today I rode with some friends on their personal critters. I had so much fun. The horse I rode, named Cowboy or Goober depending on who you asked, was a character. He, like most horses is essentially lazy, and wanted to stop and eat grass unless told otherwise. I kept talking to him almost nonstop - which confused him because his normal rider, a young guy named Ben, is a great communicator, but never actually speaks to the animals. Cowboy always had an ear cocked back in amusement, and mostly behaved better for me than he did for Hannah a few weeks back. Hannah rode a horse named Doc today. Doc is less docile than Cowboy and Hannah had to pay attention this time! It was a lovely day and the fluffy white clouds made me just want to head west and pretend to be a pioneer... at least until lunch time.

Our young friend Ben was kicked in the ankle by a cranky calf while we were there. He's one tough hombre. He was going to do some calf roping for us, but ended up on the sofa with ice bags instead. Some day soon we'll see that demonstration. He says he ropes calves from the horse I rode, and it's a different animal in the ring. I'd love to see that. He's a tough guy, and insisted on unsattling the critters, hobbling around taking care of things.


my friend Kate gave me some hot peppers from her garden. I cleaned one and put it in the food processor with the onion and cellery and green peppers to puree and add to our Meatloaf for dinner. I forgot about the hot pepper, and forgot to wash my hands right away. Now my nose, lips and the back of my neck burn - everywhere I touched before washing my hands. I bet it'll be yummy, if I can get my nose to stop running.


Saturday, August 9, 2008


a couple of posts back when I declared that I was about 40% done with the walls in the studio I was sadly mistaken. I've started on the third wall of the three that needed repaired, and it is deceptively bad off.

four words - the first two being unprintable and the last two being "varnish drips". Some project last winter included a couple of coats of clear sealant, and much of the wall has drips and splats of the stuff. It doesn't sand well, and I went through about twice as much of the heavy duty sandpaper as I had on the other walls. I pealed off some of the worst spots - along with the paper behind it. The first coat of plaster is drying, and I'm sure to need a second coat in at least a few places.

I may not get back to the project until Tuesday, but my shoulders and arms can use a break anyhow.

Going to the fair tomorrow, and going to a friend's house to ride horses on Monday. I understand the weather will be lovely.


Friday, August 8, 2008


8/08/08 wasn't such a good date for us. Meredith lost her job today. The tchotchke industry is anything but recession proof. She was let go for no real reason from an office that was already so short of help that everyone was missing deadlines and working 60 hours a week. Her boss has offered her a good letter of referral. It's little consolation to a young woman fresh out of college with big talent and big dreams who is now job hunting again in a worsening economy. There are hundreds of young diploma holders just like her. It's hard to have such a ego blow, and to go right back out and try to sell herself again to another company that may be in just as bad of shape as this last one.

We are so blessed to have all we have. We have resources to keep ourselves fed, clothed, sheltered, entertained, and so much more. As a family we'll stand together in this, but she so wants to be independent.

I can understand that. ~M.E.

while I'm at it...

Here's a not so great picture of H Girl finishing up the paint in her room last week. It went from a warm blotchy berry to this green with cream accents. We still have curtains to make. ~M.E.

smooth and cool.

I'm a little sore today. The artistic scraps that had adorned one of the studio walls have been erased in a two day assault of scraping, staple removal, sanding, patching, more sanding, more patching, more sanding, and painting. The floor is in the middle of the cleaning process - which included applying a nasty solvent, scrubbing and scraping up said solvent and now cleaning up after the clean up. I'm thinking about a coat of masonry paint because there will still be some residue.

For any of you that can't picture this, our 'studio' is a 25 x 30 open room on the downstairs level of our house that serves as a martial arts studio, project room, sometimes art studio, and all the time creeping storage in from the edges.

I'd say the job is about 40% complete - at least the restoration process. The paint won't come off from the mats. I'm really sorry about that. Then to reorg the whole joint. That'll be a job.

Ah, well. Physical labor is good for me. ~M.E.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I’m not gone; it’s just that my best computer hours are recently spent at the laptop and not the main box due to company. It makes it hard for words to wind their way out of my brain and down my arms.

It’s only a few days until the celebration of our 25th anniversary. I don’t feel that old and it seems to be too many years. There won’t be much of a celebration – but the date will be marked and acknowledged somehow, I’m sure. I still must find a something for the man who had everything he wants that we can afford, but I did have pity on him and steer him in the direction of something to buy for me that I wouldn’t buy for myself.

Ken and DJ will be here in a few days, and I’m just starting to make sure the place is in order. I like to do that so I have less maintenance to do while they are here. It’s pretty boring stuff, and not blogworthy.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Wm. Shakespeare may be my demise

Now my educational attention is focused on the classes I must teach in the fall at co-op. I have prided myself on closely tailoring my approach to the subject at hand to the students in the seats. I have been given the dilemma of essentially having two distinct groups in my Shakespeare class.

First there is a set of six little girls ages eleven and twelve. I taught a few of them in my Art History class last year, and have observed their friends and find them no different. They are a book smart, giggly, innocent, well behaved group. They would rather smoosh all into a table meant for 1/2 their number than leave anyone out. Like a school of minnows they wander about going hither and yon, but on co-op days always together, but always under the eye of one of two Alpha Moms.

Then I have six more students, three boys and three girls between the ages of 14 and 17. These are a mixed bag of backgrounds, interests and maturity levels - but don't cross-mix with the little girl gaggle.

Shakespeare wrote to entertain the rough workers, erudite merchants, and jaded nobles of Elizabethan England, and he did it so well that we still study him today. The works that would most engage the older group would be either completely over the head, or (ahem..) 'inappropriate for' the younger group. If I skip the bawdy jests, rough murders and bed-hopping for the whole class for the sake of the youngest ones, I'll get a big yawn from the group that I'd like to hook.

This is going to take more research than I had anticipated.