Monday, January 31, 2011

Mama Mazie

Throughout our house we can almost always find someone who is under Mama Mazie's care. I love when I discover some little creature she has looked after.

Mazie is such a joy to me and to those she has taken charge of.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Poem #16

Resume' by Dorothy Parker

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

I really like this poem. I don't know anything about Dorothy Parker except I quote that I've read that is attributed to her: "I don't know anything about being a millionaire, but I bet I'd be darling at it." Isn't that a great quote? Don't we all feel that way? Given the chance to be filthy rich, wouldn't we be gracious and generous, darling yet down to earth?

One thing I like about the poem is the rhythm. It goes along at a happy little clip, contrary to the subject of the poem. And while subject is heavy, the end is hopeful.

My favorite thing about the poem though, is the title. At first, I skimmed over the title not letting it affect my reading of the poem. Without the title, the poem seems almost hopeful in its delivery. Don't go to all those dark places, just make the best of it. But, with the title, the reader is forced to reckon that the speaker of the poem has tried each of those things. Much the way an employee puts projects and undertakings on their resume', the speaker of the poem does the same in this poem.

This poem reminds me of a Langston Hughes poem I used when I taught middle school English. When we talked about the importance of titles, I'd use one of his poems. I'd write it on the board and cover the title up by taping up a sheet of paper. I'd ask the students to write about the poem for five minutes and we'd discuss. Then, I'd uncover the title and ask them to write again about the poem. Then, we'd discuss how our readings were changed by the title.

The calm,
Cool face of the river
Asked me for a kiss.

Read it and think about what the poem evokes for you. Then click on comments and read the title, seeing how that changes your reading of the poem.

Class dismissed.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A list for a list

Here is something I've been doing for a while now. Since having children, I've found my brain truly doesn't work like it used to. (The word truly always makes me think of the movie Roxanne. You too? "Earn more sessions by sleaving." I think that was my sister's and my favorite part.) I've never been one to go to the store without a list, but now sometimes to create the list takes more brain power than I have. So, I created a list to refer to when I have an upcoming shopping day. This has helped me to forget less. I tend to make one big trip toward the beginning of the month getting as much as I can for that month. The trips when I haven't referred to the list are not as successful. For a while I printed the list off and referred to that; now I just pull it up on my computer.


Paper towels

Toilet paper


White vinegar


Method dish washing tablets




Kitchen sponges



Downy sheets

Downy liquid





Trash bags 13 gallon

Freezer gallon

Freezer quart

Storage gallon

Storage quart

Wax paper


Plastic wrap



Dog food

Cat Food

Hall Closet


Cotton balls



Toddler toothpaste

Butt paste




Toilet paper



Fridge & Freezer





Cottage cheese

Shredded cheese

Block cheese

Cream cheese



Yellow mustard


Duke’s mayo

Bread crumbs

Flax seed meal


Green beans



Turkey sausage

Ground beef



Ground turkey




Chicken breast

Roaster chicken






Puff pastry





Green Tea

Herbal Tea

Quaker Oats


Peanut Butter


Salad Dressing







Dried fruit




Mini Nillas


Artichoke Hearts

Mandarin Oranges

Canned Tomatoes

Tomato Paste

Pasta Sauce





AP Flour

WW Flour

SR Flour

Cake Flour

Corn Meal

SR Corn Meal


Chocolate chips






Brown Rice

Mac& Cheese


Chicken broth


*This list was obviously made a while ago. I need to update it, but wanted to publish the original first. I have things to take off and a few things to add.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Year's First Visitors

We had a great visit with this year's first visitors. W has been a close friend of H's and mine for many years, since they worked together at the beach one summer during college. W brought her two girls, 18 months, E & F, for a visit on this crisp but sunny first Monday of January. We walked to the barn and then had lunch together.
I love the picture above. Elliott has taken F's hand as they all run toward the barn.

W's girls are beautiful and very well behaved. They are calm and play well. W is a great mom, very consistent and engaged and loving. We are so glad they came to see us.
We have lots and lots of babies at the barn this winter. Sheep and goats. They are all such cute babies. Brownie had one of the first babies and my three have really taken to it. They've gotten to hold it quite a bit and they have named him Villie.
Below is the shelter that the five of us built in December when cold weather was coming. It was fun doing a project together as a family.
Come back soon, W, E, and F.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Project 40,

Downhill slide. That is what I am on--with the Big Four-Oh at the bottom. I thought it might be a good idea for me to check in with my Project 40 list. I've had to amend the list a bit. My knees are giving me trouble since I finished the half marathon in April. So, I am done with running--at least for a while. I don't plan to get all these finished by June, but during the year I am celebrating 40.

#=ones I'm working on
*=ones I've done
X=ones I'm not going to do

X1. Run a 5K
X2. Run a 10K
*3. Run a Half marathon
4. Go to New Orleans
*5. Sew a Skirt
6. Sew an Apron
7. Sew a Pillow
#8. Memorize 40 Poems
#9. Read Les Miserables
#10. Sew a Dress for my Girls

11. Go to Oxford, Mississippi
12. Visit Lazy Magnolia Brewery
13. Take a Long Weekend Alone (3 Nights!)
#14. Send Novel to Agents
#15. Send Short Story to Literary Review
*16. Listen to Live music at xx Theatre
17. Visit Flannery, Carson, or Eudora's Home
18. Plant Calla Lilies
*19. Hang Wallpaper
20. Eat raw, organic, or do a detox diet for one week

21. Learn Calligraphy
22. Read One Hundred Years of Solitude
#23. Try 12 recipes from The Gift of Southern Cooking
24. Go to Helen Keller's home
#25. Plant a Lemon Trees
26. Read a Hemmingway
27. Read a Faulkner
#28. Attend a Literary Conference
29. Eat at Float-Away
?30. Go to an EmmyLou Harris concert (as of now, the only dates she has within five hours of us are during a weekend we already have plans during.)

X31. Eat Oysters in Appalachicola (may need to be amended)
#32. Learn 12+ Birds that live in our area
#33. Learn 12+ Trees that grow in our area
34. Teach a writing workshop
35. Go through Pioneer Woman's photography archives
36. Start Bee Hives
37. Watch last season of Six Feet Under
#38. Be able to do 40 Push-Ups
39. Make Mole' Sauce
40. Make a Video of my children's first 4 years

Monday, January 3, 2011

Some of Our Favorite Things

We are seriously loving our Legos. All three, but especially Lu and Bubby. Every day at rest time, all three of them choose Legos for the toy they get to take to their rooms.

We also enjoy making tall towers with the blocks.
Just a few of our favorite things right now.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

One of the things I enjoyed most about teaching is that you got to start over every year. Make big changes. Try new things. For the same reasons, I love the new year, and I love birthdays. Resolutions don't scare me. I have accepted that I will not get everything accomplished that I want; I have come to realize that I often put too much on my plate, try to do too much. Still, I think it is good to have goals, resolutions, to keep us striving to be a little bit better.

One of my favorite blogs mentioned trying to think of a word to focus on for the new year, something you want to become or refine. I have chosen the word engaged. I have certainly developed that motherly talent of checking out. I want to check out less. Multi-task as little as possible. Enjoy the undertaking or activity, whether it is a story with my children or cooking supper.

Since having children, and I think daughters specifically because women tend to have more of an issue with degradation, I have noticed how I talk to myself. In the past year or two, our pastor's husband gave a lay sermon that I really enjoyed. Part of what he talked about was the way that we talk to ourselves. He quoted Philippians 4:8 in his sermon: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." That is something to ruminate on. Along with that verse, I think about my daughters talking to themselves the way I have a propensity to talk to myself. I would cry if, one day, I knew they were saying such harsh and awful things to themselves. Those two things have come together to help me to talk nicer to myself. I have cut way back on the harsh judgments of my appearance and even try to find things, appearance- and character-wise, that I do find acceptable or even valuable.

I write the above to give a foundation for my new year's resolutions. In thinking about how I hope all of my children talk to themselves--Lucia, Elliott, and Mazie Bell, I framed my resolutions a little differently this year, perhaps a little softer, more hopeful than dogmatic. I have an empty frame by my writing chair that I intend to put the list in:

Today I hope you:
  • eat raw vegetables
  • say something nice to yourself
  • walk or do yoga
  • write
  • read a poem
  • pray
  • say no to things that are bad for you
  • sit on the floor and play with lucia, elliott, and mazie
  • notice your gift
  • give thanks
I hope your year has started off well and that you are kindly moving yourself toward new goals. Much love to you.