Sunday, July 22, 2012

Alida is "good"

All other updates will have to wait until another time, because I'm learning that staying up for a long time after this little, busy gal has sacked out is not good for my ability to keep up with her in her awake hours!  She is on the move!  Here is one of her new abilities:

She is also really enjoying having little conversations with us. One of her favorites is documented below.  We are glad to know that she also thinks she has a pretty good life:

We'll see if/when we get around to noting some of the other things happening around here: large chicken butchering day today, the first baby chick has emerged from its egg and many more are on their way, I'm learning new and fun ways to use red beets like red beet hummus and today we tried red beet noodles for the first time... Not tonight!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I am not a patient person!

As much as I would like to think I am, yesterday afternoon convinced me yet again that I struggle with patience.  I can think of a zillion (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating slightly, Dad) ways I would have preferred to spend my afternoon.  Background to my afternoon: I have two remaining baby teeth in my mouth with no adult teeth coming in after to replace them and one starting to show signs that it won't last forever and the "end" button on my cell phone stopped working about two weeks ago.  Unrelated you might say, except for the fact that I decided to take steps towards remedying both of those yesterday afternoon!

I landed at the oral surgeon's office for my appointment shortly before 2 p.m.  Paperwork, reading magazines in the waiting room, checking in and watching a little video on implants, talking with an assistant about consent forms, meeting with the oral surgeon and then there I was alone in the examining room to wait for the final thing - talking with the business office folks about the money part of this whole thing.  I read over all the paperwork - the consent forms signing my life away, about the different anesthesia options, studied exactly what they would be doing, the recovery time, etc... I had it about all memorized and was still sitting there waiting.  All I really wanted to know was the answer to the question I had asked on the phone when setting up the appointment regarding financial aid or payment options or whether they charge on a sliding scale. They had told me we could talk about all those things at my consultation.  So I waited. This is when I should have gotten out my knitting but the assistant had told me the woman I needed to meet with was just finishing up with another patient. 

After about 45 minutes the room was feeling rather stuffy and I was starting to wonder if maybe they had forgotten about me. It's a bit unsettling to be sitting alone in a room just waiting for someone to call me out. So I peeked out and after a few more minutes someone walked by that I could just ask if they knew how long the wait would be yet.  I think it was another 15 minutes or so until I was called. I sat down in front of two nice women who proceeded to tell me the costs (over $2000 for one tooth - doesn't include the crown at the end which would be placed by my dentist) and then explain that for implants there is no options for payment plans or financial aid and the balance has to be paid in full 2 weeks before the procedure (no sliding scale either).  I thanked them and left, it now being after 4 p.m. and me fuming that I just waited over an hour for them to tell me something that unhelpful (though I guess useful information!).

Jason got a earful on my way to Verizon and I pitied whoever I got at the next place, as I can't say that sitting in Verizon Wireless (which I've only done one time before when dropping my phone in a CVS caused it to split in two) is one of my preferred activities either.  There were a few people ahead of me so I settled down to wait (after the man lounging on one of the only seats in the place sat up and assured me he didn't bite, most of the time).  For the duration of my wait, I learned all sorts of things about his life as a welder and now a controller of these large robots in the plant where he works. And how he gets paid way better now but the welding work was 4 times harder.  He then went on to tell me that he and his wife just bought a new dining room set. They went shopping for a jewelry box for his daughter's birthday and came home with a dining room set and china cabinet. And then he shared about almost crying when he broke one of their crystal glasses. And did I know how to tell real crystal - well now I do.  He then stood up, turned to me and said, "nice talking with you" and headed to the counter.  I guess I uttered a few words here and there. :)  But it passed the time until Zak called me.  A nice young fellow who was extremely helpful, to the point of asking me where I worked which got me a 5% discount on my monthly fees since EMU has a contract with Verizon.

He looked the phone over, checked the battery, ordered a replacement that would be covered under warranty unless when I send it in they determine that I caused the end button to stop working.  After a half hour or so I was on my way out the door with the assurance that my new phone should arrive the next day, if all goes well.  As I left the store I went to call Jason to let him know I was headed home.  My phone was black. Then I realized that he had turned it off in his examination of the battery and I had no way of turning it on - that is a fairly important button (just try going without it for a few weeks).  He was immediately apologetic and said he'd get it back on for me. He looked at it for awhile and then cheerfully and confidentely said he would take it to the technician to get back on. By this time I was beyond being annoyed because I have to admit feeling rather entertained watching him conversing with the technicians. I could tell that it was not going to be good news. They were chuckling and I could almost imagine them saying something like "sorry about your luck" and gently letting him know that there was no way for them to turn it back on. He came back, slightly flushed in the face, and apologized profusely. It had never crossed his mind, even though I had clearly explained the problem. So I headed back out with his parting words, "I was trying to make your life easier."  So I'm unreachable by cell currently and it is an odd but kind of freeing feeling, except for my worry of who might be trying to get in touch with me. It is funny how we went from only having a land line not that many years ago to be so used to being accessible all the time.

It probably goes without saying that I was thrilled to pull in the parking space at home and see a little girl toddling towards me all by herself (having left her daddy down by the fire ring processing garlic to come greet her ma ma). So so sweet!  And an evening of picking produce in the garden and consuming fresh cucumber dill salad, steamed yellow squash, zucchini with cheese and a garlic swiss chard saute helped put my world right again!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tangly Woods

Autumn Berry Farm, Clover Hill Farm, Roving Rooster Meadow, Honeysuckle Acres, Hidden Rock, Rocky Slope, White Oak Place, Cub Run Community, Bramble Woods, Firefly Farm, Dragonfly Farm...

What does the title of this blog and the above words have in common, you might wonder!?  Recently we've gotten in the "naming mood" again.  What do we wish to call this piece of land that we call home and that we have fallen in love with?  Can we find something that rings true and would be lasting.  We've bounced things around in the past but recently it has felt like the time to get more "serious" about the endeavor.  Part of the reason for that is that there have been a lot of changes around here in the last number of weeks.  It seems that a whole bunch of things came together over the course of a number of weeks and as of July 1 we found all the bedrooms (and possible bedrooms) in our home full of wonderful, fun people.  So as we started talking about the community we will inevitably be building together, how much we want to intentionally be together, how we will live/work/play side by side, etc... it felt fitting to have some kind of name to refer to the conglomeration of people and animals and plants that call the left side of Fruit Farm Lane home.

In our first evening meal together, the possibilities seemed endless, but many of the names didn't "grab us" or they felt like they could have as easily been the name of a subdivision.  When "Tangly Woods" was mentioned as something that Kali had offered earlier in the day, a number of us almost immediately exclaimed, "I like it!"  So, for the few faithful blog readers, what do you think?  It's programmed in at least one GPS, I've gotten one piece of mail with it included in the address, I've seen it in one email signature line to date, and we are all having good fun letting it roll off our tongues to see how it feels.  We aren't etching it in stone yet, but it's fun to have a name to try out.  I like how it is what this place was before humans came along and it is what this place will likely be when we are gone.  It is clearly descriptive of parts of our property but it also captures something about the relational dynamics here - the blending of various families and the beauty and fun and messiness (tangliness) of that!  But the woods feels like a sheltered place, and one that provides relief from the heat.  So far with the comings and goings around here, I feel energized and supported by the people we are sharing life with currently.  We're excited to see what the coming weeks and months bring.

What has been the most exciting thing for me of all is to see our girls flourishing and getting comfortable quickly with new and more people around. It's so fun to see Alida get scooped up and to hear her giggle with delight.  It's great to hear Kali chattering away and hanging out with all of us (not wanting to ride her bike too far ahead on an evening walk since she doesn't want to miss the conversation).  We have benefited from extra adult hands around, most recently with a swing set extension project that was wrapped up last evening and which I enjoyed this morning by sitting on the recently hung porch swing while snipping beans for the first green bean canning of the season.

Speaking of green beans, I need to get the canner going and should wrap this up after sharing one more Alida story, that she will likely groan when reading a dozen years from now or so. The backdrop to this story is that I often have a little flurry of cleaning up when I get home from work.  It's just that I find that I can get into my evening at home better once things are back in their places (at least for a few minutes before our little tornado girls makes her rounds again).  That normally just involves me going from room to room with Alida and/or Kali for a few moments.  Well, yesterday, I was in the bathroom putting something away when I noticed a very substantial poopy sitting in Alida's potty. Jason has been known to occasionally forget to empty out the pee from her little potty, but I've never found poop in it.  Awhile later I took the girls out to the swingset where Jason was finishing up securing it to the ground.  I attempted to mention it very nonchalantly, but clearly was thinking that I would be letting him know that it might be best to not leave it in there in the future. He looked at me with the most confused expression and went on to let me know that he is 100% sure he was not with Alida when she went and didn't know when she accomplished that.  There was a time during the day, he remembered, when she wanted to go potty but then didn't and so he gave up but she was running around for a bit without her diaper on.  She must have slipped away, deposited her load, and ran back to play.  Silly and impressive baby!

Sister update

They still like each other!  I still love watching them enjoy each other.  Alida moves so fast these days and is now interested in the camera - both those things make getting little video clips of the abundance of sweetness around here difficult. Here was one of my favorite moments recently:

Kali decided when she made a "chore chart" recently that "watching Alida" for 10 minutes daily should go on it. Truth be told she probably watches Alida way more than that on most days.  It's so fun to see her coaxing Alida to her bedroom for some game or lesson. Alida almost always goes willingly but doesn't normally stick around as long as Kali would like. Kali does not think that Alida is the most attentive pupil when it is time for her school lessons and is a bit disappointed that she has yet to write the letter "A" when asked. 

Here's how most pictures of them look as they tear around the place - the motion is quite evident.  Alida loves being tackled and loves Kali picking her up and swinging her around.  She doesn't enjoy it nearly as much when Kali wants to tenderly cuddle her. Those times are few and far between and are mostly reserved for her very sleepy moments, and for her mommy and daddy.  So we savor them when they come around.  

Berry update

Somehow even the berries are getting ahead of me.  Blueberry season came and went before I even got around to posting this video of Alida picking her first blueberries.

Kali, Alida and I went on one black raspberry scouting mission but came home with lots of empty containers. At least where we often find them, there were only enough to pass a few back to Alida in the backpack.  The wineberries are in in full force and we enjoyed spending the evening of July 4th with good friends picking many cupfuls which are now stored in the freezer for a time when the fresh stuff is not so plentiful.  We are enjoying the few along our lane and the blackberries are also starting to come in.  I'm finding that I'm starting to acquire a taste for their tartness and Alida usually pops them in her mouth, unless she is in a squishing mood instead (her clothes show that she is enjoying the colorful foods all around us).

All the berries seem to be coming in early this year and the seasons come and go faster than I remember.  Is it the heat or is it that the days are just full and flying by faster than I would like?  Maybe a combination of both.