Kenzie now has his own blog. I wrote the "About Me" section, but he's doing everything else without anything more than occasional technical help. I've put the link at the top left of this page. He'd love some comments!
Kenzie's listening to KGSR on the radio and creating his own Yu-Gi-Oh cards with colored pencils. The electric pencil sharpener that sits on our kitchen table is getting quite a workout. Each card has an extra-high attack and defense, and most of them say things like, "No one can win against him."
Terry's put up a few ads about in-home computer software tutoring and is now out helping a man learn Macromedia Dreamweaver. His prices are so competitive, and he's such a wonderful instructor, that I can see this taking off in a big way. We're crossing our fingers.
I'm working on the magazine while craving a portobello mushroom burger. I had my first one last week, and I've been drooling for more ever since - and this from a girl who once hated all mushrooms. Suddenly, this is my favorite sandwich - a portobello mushroom grilled in olive oil and a slice of provolone cheese on homemade bread. Maybe I need to make a quick trip to the grocery....
Well, fifteen pounds of honey, three limes and several ounces of dried hibiscus and chamomile, and we'll soon have a new mead to try out. The house smells lovely - more tea-like than honey-like - and the sink is filled with strange beverage-making implements: a huge funnel, long tubes, pitchers, scrub brushes, wire mesh and a giant stock pot. Time to do the dishes and wash the honey from the floor....
We've spent the morning watching Nickel Creek videos and discussing instruments, music genres (and their blendings), talent, fame, etc. Kenzie has always loved to watch Sara Watkins, and he sits with rapt attention whenever she sings. My first celebrity crush? Chad Allen (and I still have the photo and form letter he sent back... somewhere). Kenzie's first celebrity crush (three years strong, now) is arguably much more talented. Unfortunately, Nickel Creek's not coming to Austin any time soon (save for the Austin City Limits Music Festival in September - way too pricey for us), so he'll have to be content with their cds and videos. I wonder if they have any posters....
We got a late start mowing the backyard this year, and now we're overrun with either deer ticks or brown dog ticks. I've driven myself nuts trying to figure out which they are. Deer ticks are potential transmitters of Lyme disease and will bite humans, while brown dog ticks are not transmitters of Lyme disease and are much less likely to bite humans. So, hopefully, they're brown dog ticks!
In any case, the yard is mowed, the dogs are on flea and tick medication and get a thorough checking-over several times a day, and Kenzie is subject to a quick nightly inspection.
Just thinking about it gives me that creepy crawly feeling like there's a tick walking through my arm hairs. <shudder>
From what I've read, simply mowing the grass should do the trick. Ticks would rather live in shady, moist places. Without the tall grass, there's really nowhere for them to thrive in our backyard. We'll see what happens.
Kenzie has rediscovered his love for Trout Fishing in America. He's been singing their songs all day, and he's desperately wanting to see them again (he saw them - and talked with them extensively - about three years ago).
I've finally finished up most of the family/personal projects and problems I've been dealing with over the past several weeks, and I'm tying up and polishing the newest issue of the magazine. Better late than never, and it will certainly feel good to have it finished and to start on the next issue. Oh, how I long for a few assistants to keep the magazine on track, even when other parts of my life require all my attention....
My mother returned to Tyler this weekend to help my grandmother pack up her home and move back to Pennsylvania (she's a snowbird from the north, spending the colder months in East Texas near where she grew up, and the warmer ones in Wellsboro, PA, the town to which she followed my grandfather). She's doing much better.
My mother came back with canned food from my grandmother's pantries, as well as photographs of my great grandmother's old house and a seventy-year-old watch that once belonged to her.
We always drive by Grandma Chapman's house when we visit my grandmother or my great aunts and uncles in Tyler, but there are usually people milling about out on the porch, so we never get a good, long look. It's usually the most exhilarating - and, ultimately, depressing - part of the trip. Why? The house is full of both dreams and problems....
My grandmother, Annie Jo Howey Thomas
The road leading up to Grandma Chapman's house
And the house, itself
It was difficult to look at the photos, I'll admit. And holding my great grandmother's watch in my hands was... I don't know - surreal and sweet? I'll search out a watch repair shop tomorrow to get it fixed and cleaned. Then, as much as I'd like to wear it, I'll probably just keep it in its case.... I'm allergic to metal, so I'm not sure that there's any way I can wear it without breaking out in a rash. Paint the entire back with clear nail polish? Or is there some sort of sealant I can apply to it? Hmm....
Kenzie has a tooth hanging by a thread. He's much like I was as a child - trying to leave it alone if at all possible, dreading the certainty of blood, keeping a washcloth handy. He won't eat anything but applesauce because his last tooth came out while munching on pretzels.
This will be the first top tooth to come out. He's lost four bottom teeth in the last two years, but no top teeth. I'll have to get some good snaggletooth pictures.
Yesterday, I found several canister sets at a local thrift store, and I've been busy switching over all of our staples - pastas, dried beans, rice, oats, popcorn, split peas, flour, etc. The pantry looks so much better, now. I also found a spice rack - something I've never had before. With as much baking and cooking as I've been doing recently, it's probably high time I had one.
We've finally made the switch from pre-packaged bread to using homemade breads. Because Kenzie is allergic to soy (and soy is in all pre-packaged breads), this is definitely a good thing. I've been experimenting with different recipes recently, and am slowly figuring out what works best for us. For the record, warm oatmeal honey bread is heavenly.
Kenzie and I, along with my mother and brother, went to visit family and attend my brother's wife's college graduation in Wichita Falls last weekend. For Mother's Day, my mother and I decided to go gambling across the border in Oklahoma. We got to the reservation casino at about 11:30 Saturday night and left at 3:30 Sunday morning. Four hours of slots (I stayed away from the table games). I'd never been to a casino before and had a blast watching others play. I used the cheapo machines so that I'd be able to play longer, eventually spending $41 and winning $55.
Winning, though, wasn't really my goal. Mostly, I watched others - people shoving twenties into $5 machines over and over and over. By 3 AM, there were really only die hards left. No one looked like he was enjoying himself. There were no smiles, no laughs, no leisurely meanderings through the aisles. Just the compulsive need to win. These people were fast - leaving no time between plays. Their eyes never left their screens. One hand repetitively pushed the buttons, the other held a cigarette or coffee cup or both. I felt like a social anthropologist who'd stumbled upon a new culture.
We had fun, though, my mother and I, trying to figure out each sort of machine (even at the end of the night, most still didn't make much sense), watching the people, seeing how long we could play on a given amount.... It was certainly the most interesting Mother's Day excursion I've ever had!
My schedule has been thrown off recently. It's 3:30 AM, and I've just finished making oatmeal honey bread. I'm wide awake, listening to terribly sad songs, editing articles, folding clothes, playing with the dogs. Who knows when I'll get to sleep.... It's not all bad, though. I mean, how often do you get to have warm, fresh bread in the middle of the night?
Yesterday (or the day before - depending on how you look at it), we attended a homeschooling game day in Austin for the first time. Kenzie had a blast, and now he's ready to learn the "real rules" for Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, Magic, etc. We've always made up our own rules as we went along, playing just for the fun of it.
The magazine was featured in a television news segment on a station out of Virginia. I stumbled upon it yesterday and was astonished when the magazine was mentioned. Just click on "Leaving Normal School Behind" to watch. The article on the website probably does a better job explaining unschooling than the video does, but I'm not complaining. The video is definitely a positive one.
Well, that's the good TV news. The bad news is I've been contacted, yet again, by the Wife Swap team. This makes five times, now. They really want me to send them names of unschoolers, post their casting calls, etc. Gag. The show is scornful and patronizing, and I hope they never find their coveted unschooling family. But, no matter how many times I tell them this, they keep contacting me, again and again. In fact, they're now offering $1000 if I find them a usable family. Ick.