Archive for the ‘other stuff’ Category

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

Self Reflection

So, a very good friend of mine, who is an adjunct UT prof and touring educator, was talking to my 6 year old son about math. She was asking him questions to watch his thought process, and as he was struggling with one of them, she said something like, “do you know that when you’re struggling with something, when it’s hard and you have to work at it, that your brain is growing? It’s actually growing! So, good job! Your brain just grew!”
And I asked, “is that just for growing kids? Or is that true for adults, too?”
And she said it’s true for everyone.
And I thought back to that halfway point in my first semester a little over a year ago, when I hit a wall and felt like I couldn’t cram one. more. piece. of information into my head. It wouldn’t fit. It was weird, and a bit surreal because that is exactly, specifically how it felt. So I walked away for awhile, because I really had no choice, and I didn’t study new stuff for several days. When I started up again, all was well.
I haven’t hit a wall like that since, but I’ve approached one a couple times. Not nearly as extreme. However, I’ve noticed that with this insane decision to go to college, and the amount of studying and learning about something COMPLETELY new that I’ve done, I have noticed that my brain has changed. It’s like a door has opened and I really feel like my brain power is greater now than it was before. I can feel that it’s in shape, like I’m a trained runner, or something. Like if you throw something new at me, I’ll catch it quicker than I would have before.
Now, I’m still human, and there’s only so much I can do, and I forget things now that I never forgot before, like where in the world that recipe is, or what appointment which kid has next and stuff, but still. Something has changed, and on occasion, I can feel it change again. I had noticed before, but I hadn’t put a name to it, or defined it.
My brain is growing.
Blood, sweat and tears.
Just like it always is when we grow.
Just like learning the guitar and feeling like the worst, 6 thumbed moron that ever took a year and a half to get to a stupid Bm without having to pause mid song to set it up.
And all those other things I’ve done and tried that were hard and didn’t come natural to me that I worked, and worked, and worked at until I got to a level of competence I was comfortable with.
Brains are awesome.
I was reminded recently about that misquoted poem in Akeela and the Bee-

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same”


Friday, October 4th, 2013

Trying to be Texan? Or just being Texan.

So, firstly, my excellent friend Tim updated my site again, (thank you)! so hopefully it will talk to the WordPress app on my phone and I can blog and post pictures from here.

Second, apparently this gaudy thing is called a homecoming mum, and is a “thing” here. Liv is modeling it for you



Craziness. But at least it’s just an art project and not a big to do formal dance like I remember in high school.

And also looking a bit Texan would be my son, in a diaper and a cowboy hat. Enjoy. Now I’ll sign off and see if this really works. Happy Friday!


Friday, August 30th, 2013

Shelob, and very long ramblings about houseplants

When we moved to Texas a year ago, I had to leave all my houseplants behind. (I had years of history with those plants. A couple were gifts from people dear to me. It was very sad). So last August or September, I set out to find new ones. I was excited, thinking that because there’s so much more sun in Texas, there would be significantly better houseplant options.

Not so.

Apparently, they don’t really “do” houseplants down here. At least not in the Austin area and surrounds. (I miss Molbak’s so bad, I can taste it). Pretty much, all you can find are asparagus ferns, philodendron (seriously? like you even NEED sun for those) and lucky bamboo. If you look, you can find some cool bromeliads. If looking turns into a year round habit, you can see a few other plants here and there, tucked in corners of shops on occasion.

I finally found a prayer plant this month. I’m ecstatic.

So in the end, a year ago, I settled for a jade plant from IKEA that came with bugs and totally died, an incredibly groovy bromeliad that I love from Home Depot, and a rabbit foot fern that I picked up at what everyone here in Buda claims is their favorite nursery. (They’ve never experienced Molbak’s, I can’t hold that against them). I’ve been enjoying my little collection, and with the exception of the jade, which wouldn’t even give me a chance, they seem to be very happy with me and have grown a lot.

Hence my problem, and this post.

More than lack of plants in Central Texas, is a decided lack of indoor pots. It seems that ’round here, people prefer their plants to stay in the great outdoors. I find that ironic, since most houseplants will fry in direct sun. Or morning sun. Or late afternoon sun.

I have been to many stores, looking for a suitable pot to move my very overgrown rabbit foot fern into, and have failed spectacularly. For the most part, all I can find are outdoor pots. Very rough undersides that will scratch the heck out of my table. No saucer to contain drainage. And lacking in the appropriate symmetry and refinement in craftsmanship necessary for an indoor pot.


Plus, our home has a specific look. A style that the pot needs to fit.


So, last weekend I finally found something that was the right size and shape, that would work indoors, on the less expensive side for a pot, and on sale to boot. It doesn’t remotely match my house in the slightest, but it was pretty, Nate liked it, and I’m flat out tired of looking.

That’s the back story.

Nate has named this fern Shelob. The “rabbit’s feet” don’t look like rabbit at all. It looks like a giant tarantula. Or 10 of them. And it was climbing out of its 8 inch pot.


The “feet” (legs) are very stiff, so I figured I’d bury them when transplanting into the new, 10 inch pot. Nope. They were having none of it. Aside from the creepiness of feeling like they were clinging to me as I was trying to dig the fern out of its old pot, when I dropped it into the new pot, they stretched out and over the rim. I’d buried about half of them when I noticed that they were sort of popping back out again.


Creepy. And still kind of cool.

So here she is with room to grow.


In talking to the nursery, it doesn’t sound like she’s actually going to stop growing. Great, like I’m going to be able to even find a 12 inch indoor pot down here. Maybe if I start looking now, I’ll find something by the time she starts climbing out of this one.

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

New school year, 2013

Abby and Liv are both in high school now. So cute to see their relationship change as they have more in common.



In Texas, Elementary school starts first, so Clark and Veronica leave the house at 7:30. Clark’s school is in the neighborhood, Veronica catches the bus to middle school.



We’ve become quite the Doctor Who fans this year. What’s great about it, is it’s a whole family thing. Everyone loves it! This year, replacing his previous Batman setup, Clark has a Tardis lunch box and a Dalek backpack.



Here we go, another year. 10th, 9th, 7th, and 2nd grade. Max has 2 more years before he’s in school.

For me, I’ve been running. I run about 2 miles at a go, and it feels great. I like feeling strong. I’m also lifting weights, doing pushups and such. I’ve lost 30 pounds this year. It came off fast, then totally stopped. I have 60 or so to go, so that’s annoying. But I’m still working at it, and feeling good.

I’ve also played our local farmer’s market a couple times. That was a lot of fun.


Nate had hernia surgery a couple weeks ago. He’s healing well.

We’re still loving Texas. I love being warm. It’s an entirely different kind of beautiful here.

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Happy spring

I can’t believe it’s April already! And once April hits, we’re in full blown birthday season. Abby and Clark are this week, Olivia in 2 weeks, I’m in May, Veronica is beginning of June. Makes me tired, actually. But it’ll be nice. I’m so happy to be in Texas, where it’s warming up already, and the sun shines. My kitchen windows face full east, so one of my favorite things is working in the kitchen in the morning with the sun streaming in. It’s such a new thing for me, day in and day out, cleaning up the kitchen in sunshine. I love it.

So, this year I’ve really been focusing on my health. A healthy mindset is nothing new for me. I’ve been making changes towards better health for 20 years now, but mid January this year, I really bumped it up and I’m working out really hard daily, doing pushups and weights regularly, starting to run (I ran 2 miles a couple weeks ago! then I got sick). I still juice almost daily, have cut down portion sizes, cut out dairy, I eat whole grains and lots of produce. I’ve lost 25 lbs so far. Which is great! But you can hardly tell, and I’m still wearing the same clothes. And that is really annoying. However, it feels good, aside from taking a LOT of time, it’s not difficult, and I’m going to keep going.

The kids are doing well is school. We can’t believe the school year is wrapping up already. We’re approaching a full year in Texas! So weird.

I have been working a lot on my guitar technique. This DVD has been really helpful for my speed and fluency. I go back and forth between working with the video and playing around, making up chord progressions, rhythms, solos, etc. I haven’t written a song since November, but I have a lot of music that need lyrics, so I’m hoping to have a number of new songs soon.

Max is really smart, and challenging, and adorable. He takes a lot of my time.

Olivia had patellofemoral syndrome (significant knee pain) and spent some time in physical therapy this year.

Abigail has been student of the month twice at school this year.

Veronica has been first chair french horn all year.

Clark is learning to read really well and loves to ride on the back of Nate’s scooter to and from school.

That’s kind of the year in a nutshell, generally speaking. Here are a few pics







Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Awesome, or tedious?

I am a recently new iPhone owner. So my pictures are on my phone, not on my computer, which makes it a bit of a hassle to blog. But, I just downloaded the WordPress app so I can blog from my phone. Kind of exciting? We will see if it ends up being a good thing or a real pain in the neck. But life is flying by, and I’m bummed that it’s not being documented on the blog. I hope this helps.

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

500 pictures

Well, we’ve been sick over here for a couple weeks now. I’m so tired of being 24 hour nurse. And now that I’m not feeling well, I’m really tired.

So, here’s a recap of what’s been happening, chronologically, in pictures…

Max turned 3 at the beginning of October,


but we didn’t have cake and gifts ’til about a week later.

Here’s a picture of some of the crazy weather we’ve been having. Dramatic fluctuations in temperature, but for the most part, it’s warm. Lots of wind and really interesting clouds.


Clark got a DOT dirt bike helmet so he’s safer when riding to school on the back of Nate’s scooter. He was excited.


Veronica had her first band concert. There are, like, 250 kids in her 6th grade band.



Here’s Max eating a Honeycrisp apple the size of his head


We finally celebrated Max’s birthday





Abby had some friends over to get ready for a Halloween dance


Here’s the boys watching the Avengers. We’re big fans over here.


Liv decided she was tired of being a redhead, so we dyed her hair brown


I finally made a recipe I’d been wanting to try. It’s Dutch Oven Artisan bread, and it’s amazing. It also makes fantastic croutons, which is good since the Costco down here doesn’t carry the croutons I like, and I really DON’T like the typical, grocery store variety.



In late October, Liv, Veronica and I drove an hour + west to Enchanted Rock to watch my sister and her boyfriend in a rock climbing competition. It’s a beautiful place, granite everywhere, and we hiked around for over 7 hours. It was fantastic.







Veronica played at the last high school football game of the season in something they call Bandorama. Here she is, warming up. I didn’t get a picture of the actual performance.



and while we were waiting around, I took some photos of Liv.




The weekend before Halloween, we had the party at church. Clark was the Hulk this year.


I took first place in the chili cook off with a white chili recipe my sister-in-law has graciously shared with the family. It wins all the time.


Here’s my sister playing some Taylor Swift and singing with Liv


and my nephew, Solomon and Anne’s boyfriend, Roland


We had our pumpkin carving party again this year, tho’ it’s our first in Texas. A smallish group, but it was really fun.












I found these super-cool old guitar stools on Craigslist for cheap


Here’s a picture of my sister and Roland on their way to a wedding. I’m guessing the bride didn’t appreciate the competition… jk


My dear, dear husband turned 41. Wow. 41. So weird.



and a rare photo of Abigail! And she’s actually smiling!


Finally, (and I mean finally), here’s Solomon, Liv, and Max playing around on the driveway.





See how gorgeous and warm it is? And it’s NOVEMBER!!! Awesome.

Ok, so that’s it from me. I feel crappy, so I’m not overly witty and interesting today. Later!

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012


I went downstairs late at night for a glass of water last week and found this on the inside of the back door.


Finding reptiles all over the house still totally amuses me.

This is what scripture time looks like around here.




My girls have always sat nicely for scriptures each night, since they were very little. The boys, not so much.

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

More plants!!!

Nate and I found this totally cool bromeliad at Home Depot. I went back to WalMart to buy the last of the really cool, cheap pots we found there to put it in. And I love it.



We also picked up this happy little jade plant and funky asymmetrical pot at IKEA. I’m hoping it’ll get enough light where I’ve got it.


It’s so hard to stop buying plants once I start. And since I can’t have plants EVERYWHERE (tho’ it’d be totally great if I could), I have to be selective. As it is, I still want a prayer plant when I come across one, (I’m told they’ll be around in the fall), and I’d love an iron cross begonia. I had to leave behind the lucky bamboo that my mother-in-law gave me for my birthday 5 or 6 years ago that had sprouted babies, and the christmas cactus Nate bought for me 10 or so years ago. Very sad. (Anita, you can totally buy me another plant when you come to visit).

As of now, I’ve got the rabbit foot fern in the kitchen*, the bromeliad and jade in the living room. I don’t have a spot for plants in the front room, which is kind of dark… so I guess if we get any more, they’ll have to go upstairs.


*Funny story… Nate calls to me from the breakfast table-

“Baby, what are these hairy, worm looking things in the plant?”

“That’s the rabbit foot part of the rabbit foot fern. The fern sprouts out of them. They’ll eventually grow to the edge of the pot and start trailing down the sides.” I then wiggle my fingers in demonstration.

He replies, “‘Cause that’s not creepy.”

Well, I didn’t think it was creepy.

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Max’s candids

This amuses the heck out of me, except for the fact that Max isn’t supposed to be on the computer, ever. But I came across some photos he unintentionally took of himself recently and had to laugh.