Sunday, December 31, 2006
When we got in the hot tub at 10:00, the sky was entirely clear and we could see stars.
This morning it's clear and sunny and 19 degrees. Still, sun will win (or start to make a dent).
Keith has gone to clean the driveway of a friend who's been at a family reunion and is in an electric wheelchair. I hope others show up there too. They'll need to clean a 25 foot driveway and the sidewalk and the porch, but it's doable.
Marty's home, and it didn't hurt that Keith got my van out, so Marty could come in on the same tracks and get the clear spot in the driveway.
The steps were cleaned off halfway through the storm, for fire escape purposes. Having company and a roaring fire and snow keeping doors from opening seemed a bad combination to me, so Keith cleared our exits. He's a good guy.
Below is a photograph of the firewood in the mulberry tree. Four sticks show. There may be five or six, but I couldn't spot them. There's still more snow higher up, where it didn't fall down when I tried knocking it down.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
The cars after Keith cleaned off all but the roofs today.
We have a houseguest who drove down from Colorado Springs on Wednesday, planning to return Friday. We have a teen who was delivered here to play Encore Thursday night and is still here. Keith and Holly and I had planned to go to Alamogordo to see his parents, but stayed because of snow and houseguests. Starting last night we picked up another strandee, who couldn't get his car out but didn't have to work anyway because his place of business (and many others) stayed closed.
It's been kind of like a party, though. We had enough food, and extra excuse to cook and eat together, and have been playing cards and board games. Last night five of us were in the hot tub and four (all but me) kept getting out, diving into the snow, rolling around and then getting back in the hot water. Or Holly would go under a tree or a stand of bamboo and shake the snow down onto herself.
Earlier, I had thrown sticks of firewood up in the tree that's above the hot tub, hoping to knock the snow off the branches above the tub. I did knock a lot of snow off. I didn't want it to fall on us when we were in there. Unfortunately, some of the firewood is still up in the tree, though not right over the hot tub. So I reminded Holly not to play in the snow under that particular tree.
This is how much snow can pile up just on stuff like pipes. This isn't as fluffy as the last snow. It's settling and drooping. The shot below is the other corner of that frame, and in the background is the roof of the house, and some of the snow that can stay in a dead apple tree. Lots of snow.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Christmas Eve, Keith and I went to carol at eight or nine places, all decided in advance and scheduled by our friend Chris, with driving times and directions all printed out. We started out on the far end of Rio Rancho and worked our way back toward uptown, and the Tramway corner, leaving about 4:45 and getting home at 10:30. Long night. Pati, one of our five, was sick, so it was me, Beau, Chris and Keith.
Meanwhile, Kirby was playing WoW to get double honor points. Marty and Holly had gone to see the luminaria in Old Town, and they took Sadie, Brett and Susan/Rose. There were carollers in the gazebo and Marty & co. went up to join. By the time they found the song in the booklet without page numbers, it was done, and one of the organizer-singers said they needed a cheery song. Marty asked if they knew Green Grow the Rushes, O. They didn't but were willing to learn, and Marty led the whole group in that, and then they went back to the booklet and sang until the Old Town officials turned the lights off in the gazebo. Marty said Brett, Sadie and Holly knew the song too, so he had backup in case he got confused.
When Kirby heard they had gotten to sing, he was sorry he hadn't gone.
We had Christmas stockings, because Marty wanted to. For the first time, nobody woke up early (or at least the kids didn't), so I got to sleep until 9:30 or so. Keith was up reading by the fire, and Marty woke up and got the other kids. The gift opening was the nicest for years (and it's always pretty nice), and then I made apple/banana pancakes and we all ate together. The kids were watching An Evening with Kevin Smith--Evening Harder and laughing away.
Holly and I went to our friend Charles' house to watch the third season of Little Britain. Charles is in the U.K. visiting his family, but his all-regions DVD player was still home and we had the keys. We couldn't figure out at first how to get the furnace going, so for the first hour we huddled under a blanket with corn bags (I knew the house would start off too cold and took cornbags). If we go back to watch more, we'll know to open the thermostat case and turn it to "on" instead of just setting the heat higher. Little Britain is fun but disgusting. We like Lou and Andy, and Vicky Pollard. The McNeill's brought us Season 3 when they moved back from England. We saw four episodes today and that was a lot.
I like that it was busy but overall very still and peaceful.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Kirby made a snow cake for Sadie's 22nd birthday. The candles wouldn't stay lit, but Holly knew where some sparklers were. Later I commented to a new friend of theirs who had never been here and was getting the house tour (including my messy office) "One thing about being packrattish is you have sparklers at Christmastime."
Kirby added, "If you keep everything, you have everything. That's how it should be."
Here are some more snow photos, and they too are of before the snow was as deep as it is not. I can't keep up. It keeps snowing. I love the way it can pile up on something as thin as the edge of a cooking pot or clay flower pot. And this is how fluffy it was: I got a different cooking pot and scooped it full of snow off the deck, so un-walked-on snow, not compacted at all. I melted it on the stove. What started off 6.5 inches deep was 1/4" of water. Very fluffy snow.
Holly's rat cage, which was out to air and sanitize. Good job, snow!
more snow photos
and here's what the pipecleaner guy looked like without the snow all over him:
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
So for any of you who don't ordinarily get to see snow, here are some oddities. and my clothesline has three inches of heavy snow, but it just wouldn't photograph well.
Holly did this one, upward.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
We got two cords of wood yesterday. I love firewood, and fires, and wood. I couldn't touch it. I have a cedar allergy that's getting worse. Keith and I are singing, with three other friends, at a tearoom this Thursday and next, and I really, REALLY can't be sick. I have to be able to sing and not be coughing and woozy, because as it turns out, people are paying big bucks for this "special event." There's food too, and all, but it's a big responsibility. I'm even staying out of the cedar hot tub until after we're through with performances. We have two tearoom performances, one at the Midwinter feast here (SCA thing), and we're carroling on Christmas Eve. After that I won't worry so much about being a little sickly, in the warmth of cedar fires and all.
But because of my allergy and caution, Keith and the kids moved the wood from the front driveway around to the back, and the kids stacked it.
For years I've had the thought "This might be the last time they're together," and they keep being together again, which is cool, but I know that anytime, from the time they were little, might have been the last time they were together. So I got as close as I felt I could safely to all that cedar dust, and I took some photos of them all together for what might be the last time.
Oh! And one more winter thing, for those who play neopets. Don't forget the advent calendar freebies all month.
Oh. I just looked for the first time at the announcements and tearoom site. http://stjamestearoom.com/events.html I thought we were one of several Christmas events. Seems not so much. I don't know why I'm feeling so pressured about this project.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Yesterday I heard how wonderful Kirby was at a birthday party in November, and specifically how suprising it had been to the hostess that Kirby spent a long time laughing and talking with her dad, who's 60ish.
While I was hearing that story, Holly was outside the window, playing on a playground with other unschooled kids, only one of whom was also a teen (the one whose birthday party Kirby had attended). Today on the mailing list of that group, someone wrote "I loved what Sylvia said about Holly on the slide--she turned to me and said 'Holly DROVE here and now she's playing on the slide with the little kids. Only an unschooled teen!'"
That's three reports within twenty four hours, all involving participation with other people regardless of age. Cool!
Monday, December 04, 2006
Kirby has changed jobs and now must wear black slacks, a long-sleeved white shirt and a black tie. He's thrilled.
Marty goes more toward suspenders thermals, artsy western shirts, vests... hard to describe but he has a plan, and is pretty particular.
Holly has a collection of period hippie stuff from the 70's, 80's disco dresses, various bits and parts, and she puts outfits together in ways that causes strangers to take several steps toward her, in public, to talk to her about it.
Keith and I are quite the t-shirts and jeans types. I guess we get our fashion ya-yas (what few we have) from SCA garb. I have some photos of Keith and baby Holly here: sandradodd.com/duckford/gunwaldt
Friday, December 01, 2006
The book was Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art, by Stephen Nachmanovitch (which I read periodically). The movie was "Accepted," a fantasy about natural learning. Except for the lying, it's a cool story.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Yesterday morning Kirby came into the bedroom and told me the cars had been broken into. They weren't broken into, but two left unlocked had had their music stolen--a borrowed iPod from one (Kirby was planning to buy it from his friend, and still will, and the music is backed up), and the radio/CD player pulled out of the white van, which usually sits locked, but Marty had driven and forgotten to lock. I reported it to the police, but it won't do anything but become a little bit of a big statistic, I think. And the police report number could have helped our insurance, but our insurance wouldn't cover it anyway.
We've had CD cases and a little CD player (portable plug-in kind) stolen before, from unlocked cars, so in one way of looking at it it's just our fault. There are other ways of looking at it, but what made me feel best was that they didn't get into the house or garage, and the cars were still there. Things could be worse.
They stole our music, though, and everyone here likes music.
Then I came in to make the planned call of the morning, about my printer. Yada yada, on hold, transferred, etc., various frustrations; they'll fix it free, but I have to mail it to them and it will take 4-6 weeks. As it cost me $50 after the rebate and the scanner works wonderfully, and the ink was expensive and evaporated too quickly (a problem of water-based ink in the desert), I'll just need to get another one.
While all that sad activity was going on, our wireless internet wasn't working for the fourth time in five days.
SEE why I wasn't blogging?
But around and above that, we're all healthy, Marty's planning a visit with his friend Madelyn who's coming here to stay for a week in January, Kirby applied for and got a new job as a waiter at Olive Garden and it starts right as the last two weeks are up on his job at Dion's. Holly and I went to eat at Dion's yesterday so we could eat there one more time while Kirby's there. He's the one who said "Holly, your order's ready--Holly," and his voice was strong and lyrical. Holly said he's been really nice to her lately, more than usual.
Keith's having a very rough work week of long hours and frustrations, but the hot tub is clean and he cut lots of wood last week and it's nice in the snow. Oh right! It snowed yesterday, in a miniature fashion. Almost all day, nearly imperceptible small snowflakes that just made the tops of things white, and the ground wet,and stayed on bushes and trees all day without melting. This morning it's lightly on everything, but not at all deep.
My Wednesday night discussion was good overall, we had two visitors of rank (SCA rank), and one of the guys who's only been a couple of times and was there by invitation of a regular got frustrated and was dominating the conversation, and ended up leaving early, but in a civil way, and said he'd be back next week. Maybe he will and maybe he won't. It was uncomfortable but useful, even to him I think (will be, as he analyzes what happened and why, with the help of one or two of the others there who have a stake in his progress and happiness). The environment and purposes and expectations of SCA discussions can be so different from "regular" discussions that it's hard to even write about them to a "mixed audience." The pivotal point of it, for me, was his saying straight across the table to me (with nine other people there, half of whom had already agreed with me) "I challenge you to show me a dictionary definition of 'integrity' that says it has a positive connotation." Dictionary definitions--that's an area of challenge in which I'm confident. I didn't have a dictionary, but I offered a money bet. It wasn't taken.
But yesterday I made a big pot of green chile stew and homemade bread, even though I was going to a restaurant for a discussion. Kirby's Wednesday gaming group ate quite a bit of it. The house smelled good. I made rum balls (using a generic term; didn't use rum)--some with pecans and cocoa powder, and some with grated orange and piñon, both with Grand Marnier. They need to sit a few days.
Marty has been to several of the discussions. Holly had been to one, a week ago. She went because she was hungry, and the plan had been she could get someone to walk her home if she was bored, but she stayed the two and a half hours. Last night she went again, stayed the whole time, and contributed a couple of times. Each of them said something profound last night. In response to a definition of integrity that involved bike stealing, Marty said "That's consistency, not integrity." And in and around whether there has to be "evil" for good to exist (the discussion was whether the word needed to be "evil," which seems to be personified, or whether it couldn't be "bad" or something less focussed), Holly asked whether there was as much good in Satan/the devil as there was evil in God. (That followed an Old-Testament smiting and genocide story, which gad followed a set of prayers for forgiveness, one of which was Israelil.) When Holly asked that, I started to open my mouth and say "The Chinese say..." but I couldn't remember anything that the Chinese said. I just knew there was something about balance, from China, about that. There stuff about all kinds of balance, from China.
I just looked at her with big eyes and blinked, and others looked at her, and what could they say? She was fifteen and had been going on about her newly-red/pink hair just a bit before that, and about the bag-boy she has a big crush on at the store that's right next to the restaurant. And she asked a question like that.
When we got home, I told her what I had thought, and that after things were still, I realized it wasn't a Chinese saying, but a picture. She said, "The yin-yang?" I was already drawing it. I asked her if she had thought of that during the discussion, but she said no, not until just then, when I said something.
Yesterday was one very busy day.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
On Wednesday nights I run an SCA philosophy discussion, for some SCA friends--squires and students of others; one new knight. I wasn't feeling well, but toughed it out (barely) and came home and went straight to bed by 9:15. That didn't work out at all, but by 10:30 or so I was asleep. At 2:30 I was awake, read a while, got up, set the hot-tub to drain, and came to check e-mail. Grateful Dead on headphones, 4:15 a.m. reading nice e-mails. I like my life.
My desk drawer was open when I came in, and there are four surprise candy bars. One of my kids brought me four "Island Orange" Mounds bars. I LOVE those! So far I'm just admiring them and enjoying the sweet feeling of having a kid who would have brought me that gift. I don't know which kid, yet.
To fulfill my solemn agreement with the Unschooling Blog ring, I'm supposed to write something weekly. It's kinda bad, then, that it's been a month. It's not that I haven't written anything, it just hasn't been here. There've been two articles for Danielle Conger's really nice unschooling magazine-site. One was on exactly how much time to spend with a child, and contained the following scientifically-derived chart:
If you read the article, then you'll see how to adjust the chart if you have more than one child.
I write on a couple of unschooling lists, but they're been pretty quiet, which is fine.
My writing lately has been serviceable things for SCA purposes. Some of it's private, for the retinue of the new King and Queen of the Outlands. Those who've known me for a long time knew of my SCA involvement. Those who've only known me for five years or less knew I used to play, maybe, but I was inactive for a few years. A few different things happened in August and September that lured me back there, and a project that was languishing has been picked back up. So anyone who's curious or SCAish might look to see what I was doing instead of writing on this blog. It's pretty different from the unschooling stuff, and not beginning/intro stuff, but for the adventurous or the other slackers among you...
Information on the reign of Artan VI and Aziza
For something more familiar, with photos of my kids (when they were little), try this one:
Children's Costumes at SCA events
or about music, written before I had kids:
Period Vocal Music for the Multitudes
And that's what I've been doing, mostly. I've been to three events, one local, one in Denver and one in Roswell, which reminded me that the largescale games I used to dream of are pretty thoroughly covered by SCA involvement. When I remembered that, I started to think about being embarrassed. For some reason, I just didn't think of it as a game involving cars, but just last week there was much talk about who would ride where, which trailer might go (oops... wiring had been cut off Jeff's van... no trailer this time), people came from Kansas, Colorado, Texas... So I guess, medievally-themed as it is, it is a game involving moving around large areas, although we're not hiding from each other or pretending to set the buildings on fire.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Now I have kids, two of three of whom can drive, and they have played games involving moving around large areas. Kirby and friends played a game in Los Alamos that involved some people on foot who could cut across through parks and playgrounds, and some in cars with an aspect of catch (a passenger would get out and tag one if they saw one and that person would be in the car, or something). That sounded dangerous, but Los Alamos on a weekend is often a quiet place with little traffic.
This week my kids are playing a game of Killer. It's a role playing game with a book and a bunch of rules. I played one time, and did pretty well with a plate of poison chicken I sent to a party where several players would be. I had a note in the bottom, wrapped in plastic, informing them that any player who ate it was out. Got three that day. Died to one of Kirby's co-workers who had a star trek disk-shooting "phaser." She said "You're Kirby's mom, right?" and when I said I was, she "phasered" me.
This time I'm not a participant, but I am the backup bomb squad. They're not allowed to interrupt each other at work, so Kirby's phone message says if he doesn't answer, to call me. I had a call today. I don't actually have to go anywhere, just sort of declare a time it will take the bomb squad. This was an envelope under a doormat, sticking out a bit. The caller hadn't touched it, nor stepped on the doormat. He has two roommates also in the game. I told him to wait half an hour and then consider it disarmed, and if it was poison and not bomb, the bomb squad would've taken it away anyway. That didn't keep one of his roommates from stepping on it or opening it. I don't think they did.
Holly was eliminated this morning. I discovered her "killer," as I was leaving to drive 25 miles to buy eggs. I don't usually drive that far for eggs, but in keeping with the theme of this post it seems worth mentioning. I'm making pickled eggs and wanted to find small or peewee eggs. Only found medium, but it was a nice drive, and they're small enough. So as I walked out the door, a guy I've only recently met was unrolling crepe paper streamer around the house. I thought he was trying to get Marty, and was advising on Marty's scheduled return for lunch break but no, it was Holly. He knew he would lose points for Kirby being in the house too, but was willing.
I went by the store where Marty works to tell him that maybe he shouldn't go home for work, because there was paper around our house and if it was a bomb and he was the first to touch it... but he said "Paper? Really? Is it red or orange?"
"Yellow," I said, not knowing then that it was red around back.
"That's not a bomb. Someone was after Holly and set the house on fire."
Oh! Some bomb squad I am.
But the point is, this is the kind of game I fantasized about as a kid, only even better.
Last night Marty was miles from here, waiting in the bushes for his friend's girlfriend to come out of a workout class so he could shoot her with a Nerf gun. They all knew he had been there (the couple and another friend) but he moved the car and hid. He heard them talking about the fact that he seemed to have gone home. He was ready to spring out, with his two orange plastic guns and his ski mask, but headlights shone on him, and it was a police car. So he pulled the mask off, set the guns down, and by then she was in her car with the door closed and his opportunity had passed. The police didn't see him (or didn't stop and talk to him, anyway), but he certainly didn't want them to see him jump out of the bushes with a mask on and lunge toward a teenaged girl who was getting into a car after 10:00 at night.
Even though Holly's out of the game, she's still having fun because she designed and is helping maintain the webpage. Don't ask to be friends with it; it's just for the players. The pictures are all out front anyway, but it's attractive and that's to Holly's credit: http://www.myspace.com/killeralbuquerque
and you can see dramatic polaroid photos of my kids and maybe some others you know (for those who've visited here--Brett and Sadie are in there).
It's fun to hear the stories and see them plan so enthusiastically. It's nice that they included me, too.
P.S. The main photo on Kirby's myspace these days is not Kirby. It's the probably-very-nice boyfriend of some girl named Kirby who posted that picture of him holding a note saying "I love you Kirby" and ourKirby lifted him whole (well, that image of him).
Sunday, October 01, 2006
One of the chickens was laying eggs in that barrel of grain. The squirrel... he was unexpected.
The sunflower was HUGE, and I took that photo by just holding the camera under it, because it was so heavy it had bent over facing the ground. Elijah, my nephew, cut it and gave it to us. I stuck the stem into the umbrella hole on the table on the deck near our bird feeder and birds have been picking the seeds out of it. Very cool.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Click on any photos to enlarge.
InTruth or Consequences there's a McDonald's with tile, and a neon sign stating that that they use Bueno brand green chile.
Then we went to Hatch. Some of the conference folk had asked about "Hatch" a couple of weeks ago, and it's a farm valley. Here's a photo of the Elementary school.
Holly fell asleep. I took a video of the sky, but the sound that should've been Weird Al singing "Yoda" glitched up or was overwhelmed by the wind. It started raining right afterward.
Good clouds, lots of hawks.
We've been to the wedding, but those photos haven't been uploaded yet. There was a mariachi group, all female, from El Paso called Mariachi Flores Mexicanas. They rarely used the trumpets and had no big bass guitar. Lots of violin, two guitars, three-part harmonies. They did at least eight songs during the mass, including Ave Maria. The most surprising part was one prayer with mariachi responsorial parts. The priest chanted his lines and that musicians sang and played theirs. Pretty cool. This was at the Santa Clara Catholic church in a teensy town called Santa Clara and also Central. As "Central New Mexico" is a common geographical term, and Santa Clara Pueblo, in Northern New Mexico is much larger, neither of its names is going to catch on big. It's only five miles from Silver City, so nobody but locals need to know anyway.
Friday, September 22, 2006
There's a small local dark grey cloud over the mountains, and perfectly blue sky to the east, but the WHOLE rest of the sky, in every direction and way, way behind me is a high, thick solid snow cloud, slowly moving from the west. Kinda creepy, like when a giant spaceship obliterates the sky. To understand the effect, note that the transmission towers on the mountain, a mile up, are still clearly visible. The cloud isn't right on us, it's way up there, higher than that local cloud which is also really high.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
These are thumbnails of bigger (but not better) photos:
The last one has the antenna-guy Holly made next to the Blake's guy! Unplanned, and very cool.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I feel sorry for the kids, the teens. The target person was the tenant, who was the owner of the house. An older woman (60's?) who wasn't able to get up and about, and they weren't taking sufficiently good care of her. And the house was "deemed substandard" for habitation. The social worker in charge gave me her card, and she was there for the older woman.
The guy I've called "the dad" (the dad of four kids or so) is "the son" to the social workers and police, because (I guess) his mom owned the house. They didn't even know there was a little boy there (little meaning four years old, give or take). I think, but am not sure, that the teenaged girl is his mom.... all confusing. Cast of too-many.
What I do know is they let a nice big swimming pool go to hell, and that one of the teens was dealing small-quantity drugs out the back corner of the yard, looking over his shoulder to see if anyone in the house was watching. It must have involved cell phones. Cars would park right outside our back gate, the driver would get out and trade cash for something, and get in and drive. Keith saw it once. I saw it three times. Our friend Monica told Holly she had to park and wait once for the transaction to be completed before she could keep driving through the alley.
So that will stop now, or move elsewhere.
Their poor yappy pit bull who only ever got yelled at won't be barking at us.
Still, I feel sad. When the grandma was able to get out, she used to do a lot of yelling and shaming. The mom, I hadn't heard for a long time. The most recent fighting was between a teenaged or 20ish girl and one of the teens of the family. He was being hateful to her.
The contrast to our yard and our family is stark. Their yard is dark and quiet now.
I'm glad for Keith, and I'm glad our kids are as happy as they are, and that we have smiles and kind words here.
Friday, September 15, 2006
There are thirty or so tonight. Stunning. Marty said he'll see them in the morning. I forget he goes to work before they close.
It's hard to describe the color. They're white, yeah. But there's a satiny, silvery pearliness to them. And they're big--five or six inches across. And each lasts one night.
The loop makes it seem they're everywhere, but they're on the south and west sides of our bedroom, in the back. There's noplace I can stand to get a photo of them all, and no way to show what they look like without the flash.
They're making my life better, these moonflowers.