Showing posts from January, 2019

Delayed grief

I didn't mention it earlier, but we have passed the three yearanniversaries of Y. and R. being part of our family this past month. I'm finding January to be a little tricky to navigate personally, and it seems that this is true for R. as well.

I've written before about traumaversaries being a very real thing, with physical and emotional feelings which do not seem to make sense with what is currently being experienced. It's seems the lack of sunlight, the proximity to the anniversary of my father's death which happened after Christmas, and the adoption of our two new girls, particularly R. just a couple of week later, and the unexpected death of our dog just a few weeks after that, January abounds in messy memories. I think it's one of the reasons I have dived into a mass of making things. I find it therapeutic.

R. does not have the same self-awareness or ability for self care. In fact, this is the first year we've seen an uptick in grief. I might even make …

January table runner

I loved my quilting class on Saturday. I have all the strips cut and sorted, and just need to sew them together for next Saturday. It's playing with the color that I love the most. I also enjoyed being with a group of people all making something. It was so interesting to me to see which palettes and fabrics each woman chose. I find it endlessly fascinating to see what appeals to people. We start putting all the bits together into a bigger quilt by laying it all out. I'm looking forward to that.

While I don't have something I can really show you in the quilt department, I can show you something else I've been working on that I finished on Saturday. Having discovered how well table runners work on the square dining room table, I've made a goal of making a new table runner for each month. These will nicely take the place of all of the tablecloths I have, and which I used to mark the change of seasons. I also realize that this goal seems a little at odds with the goal …

Finally a successful art project

We have been in an art project slump. Either what I picked doesn't work out as well as I had hope, or some child or another goes off in a fit because of frustration. It has made me a little gun shy about doing art projects. I admit to holding my breath a bit when we started the one I had planned for today.

The project was pretty scripted, so I was hopeful that things would go well. There were some bad moments. I will admit to pausing to give a lecture as to appropriate attitudes, how nothing ever turns out perfectly, and often something can end up looking nice if you just keep going and don't leave the table in a screaming fit. I might have had to give that lecture twice.

But we ended up with completed projects that everyone is happy with.

from left to right, top to bottom: D., Y., TM, H., E., K., R., L., and G.
There was another success other than everyone having actually completed it. R. did hers nearly all on her own, by looking at what I had done on mine and copying it. I …

Friday, January 11, 2019

And like that, it's Friday again.

P.'s trip draws ever closer. On Wednesday it suddenly popped into my head that we had yet to do anything regarding a bank account so she could have a debit card. I blithely thought to myself that we could take care of that on Saturday morning, until a friend reminded me that debit cards often have to be mailed. Cue panic. So yesterday morning, first thing, she and I set off for the bank. Three hours (yes, you read that right) later, she now has a bank account, a debit card arriving in the next day or two. After some long discussions with the banker, she also has a credit card arriving as well. Her having that little bit of emergency insurance with her makes me feel a whole lot better. We also ordered her some Euros so she has a bit of non-American cash to take as well. Because it took to much longer than I had planned, I ended up texting D. and asking him to put on the video I had planned for that day. So, supposedly, my children have learned a…

The joy of...


I have found your perspective changes when you move from city to country. In the city, when walking around, you might have to skirt a low part of the sidewalk that has filled with water. Other than this nuisance, you can pretty much walk around without fear of ruining shoes. In the country, I have discovered, there is a constant and intractable battle against mud. There is mud everywhere. And when your driveway is just gravel... gravel which has not been replaced for years and years with many bare spots... then mud becomes a real difficulty. Parking vehicles, getting out of the vehicles, getting back into the vehicles, and most importantly, getting the vehicles back out again becomes an everyday concern.

Our driveway was more mud than gravel. Our parking area had become a mud bog which threatened to actually swallow the cars, forget about trying to drive them away. Muck boots or rain boots were required just for walking around. It was bad. B. A. D. bad.

So bad that when a man …

Back to the schedule

We survived our first day back at our usual school work after a long break. It wasn't nearly as dreadful as I was imagining it to be. We all survived... even me, who definitely was NOT looking forward to having a more intensive schedule again. I've enjoyed the children playing and being able to pursue all sorts of things that strike my fancy. I feel a bit rebellious about other constraints on my time.

Consequently, I spent some time this afternoon writing down things I would like to have time for, and then taking a look at our current schedule. While I know I can be a little more purposeful about how I spend my time, no matter how I move things around, there is just not a lot of wiggle room. The only thing I can figure out is to get up earlier and make better use of the hours before we start school around 9 am. I have tried doing this for many, many years, and it has not proven terribly successful. I suppose I could try again. I would dearly love a couple more hours in my day.

In search of yellow fever

Well, not really in search of the disease, more in search of the yellow fever vaccine. Because of where Class Afloat travels, proof of a yellow fever vaccine is required of all participants. We didn't start searching it out sooner because it didn't seem necessary. We had plenty of time to get P. in some where that does travel vaccinations and get the shot.

Except, that there seems to be a country-wide shortage of yellow fever vaccine. In fact, there are no doses of the primary vaccine that is used, and the secondary vaccine is in very short supply. It looks as though we will be driving about an hour to one of the very few places in the area which still does have the vaccine.

This also leads to vaguely disturbing conversations with the pharmacist as I was trying to track it down, leading me to say things such as, "So, you don't have yellow fever, but do you have any typhoid. We're also looking for typhoid." Happily, they pharmacist did have an extra dose of th…

Friday bullets, Jan. 4, 2019

Usually I'm thrilled that it's Friday, except for today. This is mainly because it means that we go back to our usual school schedule and lazy days and leisurely  mornings will be coming to an end.

My lethargy could also be because R. has been, um, not at her best this week. This means that she is not sleeping. I don't know how she is still standing, in fact. J. and I (J. in particular) are pretty wiped out. The barn is starting to be built! They started putting it up yesterday, and here is where it was in the middle of the day today. By the end of today it was looking even more like a structure, but I didn't get a picture before the sun went down. I am beyond excited because soon we will be able to bring Emmy home.
While the people are thrilled to see the barn going up, the poultry is not. They have been constricted to quarters when the construction is going on for any number of reasons, mostly involving safety. That doesn't mean the chickens and ducks like it. Here…

Reading as psychotherapy

So those last five or so books on my reading list...

They weren't very good or well written. The plot was pretty superficial, and I managed to figure out the murderer about two-thirds of the way through each book. In one there were even some pretty significant continuity errors. And yet, I kept reading them. I couldn't really figure out why, because I knew they weren't very good. Normally, I would read one (or two to give a series a fair chance), and then set them aside for something else. It took me a while to figure out why.

My reading is a little bit all over the board, if you hadn't noticed. I enjoy mysteries, and tend to read them like a child eats candy... with as little benefit as that candy. After a bit of this, I feel the need for something more substantial, so that is when the "good" books come out. After having done that, I'll go back to the book candy. If I am feeling more than a little overwhelmed, the level of book I feel capable of reading …

2018 reading list

As has become tradition, I will share my reading list from last year. My notations after each book are as follows: M = mystery; F = fiction; NF = non-fiction; RA = read aloud (usually during tea time); YA = young adult. An asterisks after any book means that I particularly recommend it.

Ready? This list is 89 items long this year.

1. A Rule Against Murder - Louise Penny (M)*
2. Meddling Kids - Edgar Cantero (F)
3. The Brutal Telling - Louise Penny (M)*
4. Adopted: The Sacrament of Belonging in a Fractured World - Kelley Nikondeha (NF)
5. South Pole Station - Ashley Shelby (F)
6. Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive one of History's Most Iconic Extinct Creatures - Ben Mezrich (NF-ish)
7. Bury Your Dead - Louise Penny (M)*
8. Flow: the psychology of optimal experience - Mihaly Csikzentmihaly (NF)*
9. Recipes for Love and Murder - Sally Anderw (M)
10. Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks - Dave Holderread (NF)
11. Smart Moves: why learning is not all in your head - Carla Hann…

2018's top 20 posts