Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Five weeks ago I discovered I was full. Full. To here. I have whined a lot about being tired of all kinds of things, but, to be honest, I have done little to change much of it. But, I have a secret.
That's changed.

I have been on a plan for five full weeks. And, this is from a person who can only commit to four knitting projects and six books at a time. In fact, my Father once remarked that the only reason I carried my son for nine months was because Nature wouldn't give me other options or let me "finish it later." And, by the way, he was two weeks late. I think it was a cruel joke.

For some time I have talked about wanting to pay off the house, be out of debt, lessen my stress, and so forth. But, frankly, I have done a passing effort at these things. Now, Dave Ramsey and I are more than going steady. We are shacking up. Yeah. I have a spreadsheet by my place at the kitchen table that gets filled out every night and every penny is accounted for. And, I have a plan.

I am selling the farm. Close your mouth or it will freeze that way.

This is going to take a little time. First, the house has to be cleaned and cleared, projects finished, two floors redone (one resanded and sealed and one replaced as the tile is cracking), a little indoor painting, and some updates done to the bathrooms. Then, the outside has to be dealt with: a blind ditch that I kept telling the Mister NOT to drive his tractor over has collapsed, filling my yard with a small stream that is just muddy and not pleasant; painting needs to be done to freshen the house; and, landscape has to be replaced.

Since I work full-time and still hit the craft shows about a dozen times a year, it will take awhile to get it all done. I am compiling a notebook with a page for each room with a list of what needs done. I will start with the messiest construction -- the kitchen floor -- and work from there. At the same time, I will be clearing Every Single Space so that this monster house will look, well, monster.

The next step in the plan is to live on a strict budget. I paid off one debt in the past month and cash flowed three major repairs to the car and truck. Dave is right; writing it down makes you honest in what you are choosing and makes the money go farther. I still have money left at the end of the month. Amazing.

Concurrent with this is getting my income up even more. I have started a little tutoring on the side and like it very much. I actually feel that I am teaching more than I do in my classroom. These are a wide variety of students and it is marvelous to stretch myself with things I don't normally do. I have created syntax trees, edited documents, and even taught capitalization! Such fun and I love seeing the extra money come in.

To keep myself honest, I purchased those adorable plastic magnet numbers and put the total debt on the refrigerator Right Where I Have To See It Every Time I Go In The Kitchen. It bugs me and I love to even change one number. I have a target date up as well to remind me that I am on a schedule.

Now, you ask, where will I go? What will I do? Simple. I am moving to the family farm where I am building a smaller house that will be much more energy efficient and, more importantly, paid for. My sister is building around the corner in the same pasture. I am excited beyond words.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Best Laid Plans...

The inside day was nothing close to my hopes.

I realized that I needed feed for the piggies, Buttercup and Sausage, and that the laying pellets were a little too low for comfort, so I hopped in the car and scooted the 24 miles to the feed store. When I got out, I smelled it. Anti-freeze. Yeppers. Radiator. Blown. Like really blown. And I only had 436,000 miles on it. Go figure.

After a good talk with the guys at Southern States ("Yep. Smells like anti-freeze." "How many miles you got on this thing?" "Really?" "You better hurry; won't make it far..."), I limped the car the full block to the Advance Store for help.

"Yep. Blown radiator...You might try the guys next door at Meineki."

And the guys at Meineki, "Yup. That's a blown radiator alright. It'll take all day and maybe tomorrow to get it fixed."

I called the Mister at work and he said he'd be there when he could get there. My knitting and I sat down and started spending some quality time together. Five hours later, the car was repaired for a full 12-cents less than quoted, the Mister and I had finished my errand list I wrote while I was waiting (such a dangerous thing --- to be alone with time, paper, and pen).

The rest of the week has been spent cutting wood, hauling it home, and stacking it. We had three trees down on the property below the mountain and had a company come chop up the trees so we could split them. We are still working on it and already have brought home six loads of firewood. There is still six or seven more loads to cut and haul home. Whew.

Yesterday I watched "Gone With the Wind" and ironed antique linens and aprons. I know that Bonnie Blue dies, so why do I cry like a girl when that happens? Why do I cry when Melanie dies? Why doesn't Ashley come clean with Scarlett sooner? Bum. And, why do I hope that Scarlett gets Rhett back?? How much are those wonderful dresses??

Back to work tomorrow; we only have three more weeks of classes and it is Christmas break. I can't believe it is already here! We are still having temperatures in the 50s during the day. Crazy.

What are your plans for the week? Thanks for all the kind comments on my last posting. I was just having a day and it is nice to know folks care.

Have a simply mar-vuh-lous week, ya'll!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another One

Last night was another one of those nights --- I don't sleep and, when I do, it is a sleep that is anything but restful. I wake myself praying, "Please, God, protect my son and all those with him. Surround them with Your loving hands and protect them from those who would hurt them. Show them their path in life and guide them to it with love and care. Bring them home unscathed by the horrors they see and experience. I gave him to You when he was a baby; now, keep Your Promise and give him fulness of days." And so it goes, hour after hour, night after night.

We have no TV connection to the outside world; we have only the internet for news and sometimes that is too much. Another two die in the stupidity of Afghanistan and Iraq. Fifty more face devasting injuries. A hundred more have injuries we can't see. I feel my knees shake, my heart cries when I hear these things. They are someone's son or daughter, and, yet, I feel a sense of relief that it isn't my son. I feel guilty for these thoughts... but still, I whisper,"Tthank you, Father, it isn't my child." A terrible paradox of empathy and joy.

I wonder how other mothers deal with this. How do they stand the not knowing? How do they face every day without weeping in the grocery line? How do they bear putting their heads on their pillows knowing that their child is in a tent in a country where children throw rocks at his convey and he sees the "impact cloud" where a comrade missed an IED and there is just enough of him left to fill a bag to send to his mother? How can they bear it? I don't know if I can. I am not strong. I am not brave.

Today is day 65. We have another 115 to go. And, this morning, after five days silence there was a single text:

Hey, Mum! You'd love this place because I am with a group of British Special Ops. Last night we saw the new Bond movie. U2!

How did I raise so brave a man? Tighten up, girl, he depends on you to keep it real and normal. I can do it. With God's help.

Monday, November 19, 2012

An Inside Kind of Day

My students have a reading day today, so I took a personal leave day. This is my "unplanned" time at home to catch up: grading, preparing for clas, and doing things here that I like to do. The best thing is that this is "unplanned time." 

Today is an inside day and I am happy with that. The finch are chipping; Mr. Wookie alternates between snoring and stomping to the food bowl; Bunnie keeps rattling his cage because it is time for him to come out and play; and, the rain is falling Ever So Softly. There is no other noise. No TV. No music. No one talking. Just quiet.

Later today, I will put sweet potatoes in the oven and set fish out for dinner. I'll chop some apples for Waldorf salad (have you tried the honey crisps? OhMYGoodness!) and toss it on a bed of lettuce. Simple.

I am longing for a new skirt and, after pricing and trying on some while shopping with my Sissie last week, I am going to pull the Pendleton wool out of the wardrobe and finally cut out a skirt for myself. I bought this wool on close out a long time ago and haven't had the courage to cut it until now. It'll make a lovely, long skirt, four-gored, I think. And, I have enough left to make another something from it... Is it poor form to have two skirts from the same fabric, but in different styles?

Then, I will press all my antique linens that have been in storage and place them in the old chest-of-drawers that has been cleared out; I want them where they are more available so that I can use them more often.

And, if there is time left before feeding, I will stretch out with a "Piecework" that has collected and devour it and enjoy a real cuppa tea and a toasted English crumpet. I found them at Trader Joe's last week and just decided to treat myself. I am the only one who eats them and, if I am careful, they will last for two glorious weeks. Yummers.

Yeah. I like my "unplanned days." Don't you?

Thursday, November 15, 2012


So, I don't know where the past months have gone. I have not read blogs. I have not posted much. I have, frankly, been "into me." Do you do that? Do you just need some time to sit down and just think about your goals, life, and choices before and behind?

Before you decide "something is wrong," let me assure you, it is not. It is just where I happen to be right now.

You know, we start out life full of lofty goals and aspirations, only to find that, sometimes, our choices have left us so far off track that we hardly recognize how we got to where we are.... or even who the heck we are anymore... My life dream was to live on a farm, write, have about a football team of children, and a partner who would share my dreams. We would grow old surrounded by our children and grand children. Life would be quiet, orderly, and peaceful. I would teach fall and spring and write all summer long. Home would be a haven. It would be filled with laughter, love, and joy. My needs would be few; my pleasures many.


So, here I am, looking at my life and saying, "Um, can I have a redo, please?" I guess we all can look at certain places in our lives and say, "Yup; that's were I should have turned left. Or right... Or not at all.... "

But, it is what it is, right?

We did not change as we grew older;
we just became more clearly ourselves. 
~Lynn Hall
I read an interesting bit yesterday about "trying on" life as we think others live it. At first, I was amused by the article. You know, pick a person you admire and try life as you think they live it. I spent all afternoon thinking of who I would be... there are lots of folks I admire, after all.... But this morning I realized that I just wanted to be me without trying to think about how others see me. And, let's face it, we all do just that -- not let others see who we truly are... we always hold something back. Life is lived in third person...

Years ago, I had two tattoos done (yes, tattoos) -- one was a dragon turning back on itself which symbolizes personal power in the Oriental culture. It is in a place where no one ever would see it, because I felt that choice was personal and for me only. The other was a wing, on my heel and ankle, to remind me never to become earthbound again. To always dream and look up. To be authentic to myself and to remember that life is more than looking down. I always did think that the worse punishment from God for that originial sin was not only the separation from Him, but also the fact that human kind was doomed to always look down to make their way in the world. No looking up and dreaming, unless we stopped and did it On Purpose.

Not sure how to end this post. I guess it is a letter to myself more than anything. So, dear Martha, let go. Reach out. Look up. Dream. Be scared. Be angry. Be frank. There is more sand in the bottom of the hourglass than in the top. Quit being "earth bound" and remember how it felt to have wings. Use them.