Sun Nov 22, 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”


Mon Mar 9, 2015

Spinning noil

I’ve been really enjoying this new wheel. Trying to fit spinning around school and homework is tough, but it’s a nice mental break and relaxing, so there’s my justification.

A bit about school, as I don’t think I’ve really talked about it here yet. I started at ACC in the fall, in the Automotive Technology program. When I started, all I knew how to do on a car was check the oil. Now, I can change my oil! Haha. It’s a little disappointing to not be able to do more yet, but I know a ton more about how a car works, and I’m inching my way towards being able to do something useful. Last term, I took Intro, Electrical, and Engine Repair. This term, I’m in Heating and Air Conditioning, Engine Performance 1, and Brakes. It’s a lot of reading, and a lot of work, but I’m enjoying it. My hope is to be able to work on cars with my boys as they grow up, and to be able to teach them how to maintain and fix their cars in the future. Plus, I still want an old jeep, and I’d rather keep it running myself than have a mechanic on retainer.

But, when I’m not in class or doing homework, I’ve been spinning. This weekend, I finished and plied my first of hopefully many skeins of silk noil. I got 340 yards out of 3.1 ounces. Hoping to make a pretty sweater, but I have no idea which one yet.



Mon Feb 9, 2015

Spinning laceweight

I have some dyed mohair locks from years back. I’m carding rolags and drafting them into roving. This wheel spins so fast and smooth and easy, it almost spins itself. If it were a nice top without all the nupps and vm from matted locks, I’m pretty sure it WOULD spin itself!




I have 4.5 ounces. If I can spin it all, I should have a zillion yards of pretty mohair lace weight. Kind of excited.

Mon Feb 2, 2015

Look what I found!

I happened upon a Craigslist listing for an old spinning wheel, which ended up being a Canadian Production Wheel. I’ve wanted a 30 inch wheel for years and years, and this was too good to pass up!








When I cleaned the inside of the bobbin, this is what came out!





Thu Mar 20, 2014

So very excited

It’s my first time, and I’m SO excited!!! I felt so strong today. I don’t know when it’ll happen again, but today it was amazing!

I wanted to wait until I weighed less that 200 lbs to up my run from 2 to 3 miles, because I’m so concerned about hurting myself. But this morning I felt strong, and thought that if it were going to happen, today was the day. I’m so glad I did!

Fri Oct 4, 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!


Fri Aug 30, 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.

Thu Aug 29, 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.

Mon Apr 1, 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







Wed Feb 6, 2013

Well, that was quick

It doesn’t look like there’s a button to submit the photos that I select to post on the blog. I’ll keep messing with it. Or maybe, I just have to plug my phone into my computer :-)