Monday, October 16, 2017

Sage and all the Winduebs were playing in the backyard and making shelter houses for themselves and Sage tells me about hers in 3-year-old-speak.
"This is my home. It's a broken home. I have to swing alone."

Broken referring to the tree limb. Funny but sad. I'm thankful that none of that is actually true for my kids.

...

We had co-op today. It delights all of us each Monday.  Sage loves "preschool". Marley enjoys self improvement in any way. Solo gets to gym-class (that's a verb right?). I get to talk to other parents and see my kids have a good time... and eat lunch. I love lunch so much.

Today Marley and Aimee made cakes for Mystery of History class and frosted them and labeled them to look like ancient Egypt.  Full sized sheet cakes by the way. Boy was that good news at lunch.


Also today we introduced Toby to the first Harry Potter movie. Important rites of passage.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Nothing rhymes with Ish-bosheth.


David inquires and then the Lord speaks.



In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord . “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked. The Lord said, “Go up.” David asked, “Where shall I go?” “To Hebron,” the Lord answered.
2 Samuel 2:1 NIV

...and David inquired of the Lord , “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”
1 Samuel 30:8 NIV


he inquired of the Lord , saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” The Lord answered him, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”
1 Samuel 23:2 NIV


Once again David inquired of the Lord , and the Lord answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.”
1 Samuel 23:4 NIV

so David inquired of the Lord , “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?” The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”  Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of the Lord , and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees.
2 Samuel 5:19‭, ‬22‭-‬23 NIV


Friday, October 6, 2017

When humans judge other humans it tends to go badly.

Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?”
1 Samuel 25:10-11

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sometimes

I catch myself worrying what some people will think of me.

But it's foolish to think of another human as being an authority on truth, joy, faith.


The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day,  and the idols will totally disappear.  People will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth.  In that day people will throw away to the moles and bats their idols of silver and idols of gold, which they made to worship.  Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?
Isaiah 2:17‭-‬20‭, ‬22 NIV

Monday, October 2, 2017

Pitter patter of tiny posts

Home-school co-op picture day is where you can see a lot of kids in dress shirts and gym shorts.
...

"I can't believe it's the first day of October!"
"It's the second day of October..."

...

We went camping at Mammoth Cave and I LOVED it. Great rangers, great programs about light pollution and about female cavers through history at Mammoth cave, the caves... wow. My favorite moments were walking with the family talking about Mammoth Cave-themed ice cream flavors. Mammoth marshmallow, Cave Cricket Crunch, Stalactite Strawberry...
Solo ever wants to lead the charge into adventure. A little frightening when you're surrounded by edges, darkness, and the unknown. He's brave though. Like Marley who will take the dogs outside in the dark by herself (I won't).
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Trying to remember to enjoy all these amazing children around me for an many moments as I can.
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Actually enjoying the puppy stage of dog-ownership. Roy is a smart boy. Reminds me of what  dumb, dumb boys Murphy and his brother were. :)
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Every day is a mashup of school, chores, food, pets, play, work, Bible. Some days we throw in neighborhood friends, co-op, violin, driving, home-group, church. 
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I can never do enough to earn mercy. You can't earn mercy or it isn't mercy. But I can do more to show my gratitude. 
...

I am SO excited for my sister's baby shower. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Gideon

God chooses a coward to be a warrior.

The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”  “Pardon me, my Lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”  The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
Judges 6:11‭-‬14 niv

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Pet life shuffle

The last few weeks has been a lot of pet happenings and decisions. We kept going back and forth about whether we should keep Juniper or find her a new place. She was so nervous all the time just being around our everyday lives. But she made it so much better the day we had to bury Gorbash, who died last week. Her antics made the heart feel lighter. Though it also made it very difficult to dig a hole.

Ultimately it came down to the fear she would bite a kid (she kept making attempts and actually grabbed Harper by the pants) and that she wouldn't warm up to Bob. Making him feel awkward because she wouldnt come near him or be still while he was around. It was nerve wracking. So I put out 2 ads and the inquiries poured in. I vetted a lot of people, most of them were highly unsuitable. But she found a place with 2 people who have 2 other dogs and no little kids.

We gave Marley Juniper because of Marley's excellent and responsible behavior for her 9th birthday. She didn't want to give up on Junie. We overrode her but we didn't want to punish her or renege on the gift. We let her choose from other dog ads we found on rescue sites and CL. But this time, no adults and no large breeds. My preference is to adopt adults, because it seems easier and better for homeless animals in general. Larger bladders, less adoptable, etc.

She chose a black and white puppy, supposedly a Jack Russell and maltese mix. He is very cute and his scruffy looks remind me of my darling Lulu.

It's been going well. Puppy care isn't as bad as I remembered. Of course I remembered it as being terrible and last time I did it, I had a full time job also.

So Gorbash the calm dude is gone. Juniper the Greyhound Enigma is rehomed. Little Lord Fauntleroy is here.
...

Also I've been sick for 5 days and it makes all events feel hazy.
...

Also there have been massive hurricanes all over the south and Brenyn and Plamen had to evacuate and they brought Tink the Maine Coon to my parents along with Svetlana and Anna.

...
The Bengals suck.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Sage in September

Checking on Sage as she slept before going to bed. Her blissful abandon in sleep. Me making sure she is warm enough on this brisk evening,  I am struck by how few of these days of have left.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Sun son sol

There is a lot to love about all of my children. This post is about Solomon.

Solo had digestive ailments this evening and couldn't sleep.  So I lay next to him talking about his upcoming birthday plans. He doesn't know that we are going to Great Wolf Lodge tomorrow. He has told us he wants to go to Taco bell for breakfast, skyline for lunch and dinner and taco bell for dessert. Gross! He told me he thinks POWERade and Gatorade are the same thing and should only be consumed at sports events. I told him some of the things I love about him. How much he loves the things he loves. He doesn't like taco bell, he LOVED it. He doesn't want to "catch 'em all!" He NEEDD to. He doesn't like watching sports with Bob, he loves it.

He said watermelon kool-aid flavor is just OK, but cherry has "a lot of flavor." I assume that means it is good.

He still couldn't sleep after this chat. He couldn't stop "thinking about something gross " (a sometimes-affliction shared by his sister and mother). So we turned on a documentary about bridges. Which, by nature, is a very dry documentary indeed.
He liked the part when the German guy was talking about Roebling or some other bridge person and there was a translator speaking over him. Solomon thought someone was messing with the German guy and just talking over him to be funny.

Because Solomon is fun, he assumes other people are too. Sometimes I think of how the world is going to come after my son and I get angry. How people will lie to him or trick him. But really I think he's going to do a better job of pulling people up to his level instead of getting pulled down. He's just such a ray of sunshine. In that respect he is aptly named.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Murphy

Murphy and I have been together for 10 years since he was 3 months old. It's taught me how to speak dog.

He just woke me up from sleep by standing next to my bed panting and I knew he had to go to pee. I'm so well trained.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Never lose access to your old email accounts...

In an attempts to organize my blog (of yester years and the now) I have run my forehead into the cement wall of lost logins and passwords over and over.
I cannot backup my blogger blog because the email I use to login is the secondary email on the account and the primary email I do not have access to. I tried to regain access to it but was rebuffed, being unable to provide the necessary information.

I couldn't backup the old livejournal account because I couldn't access that same email or the one prior to it. So it's copy and paste and or nothing.

It feels stupid to have to give up on this. But I cannot find any loopholes to jump through to success. It sucks.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Personal

It's easy to say thank you to God when you do not have cancer.
It's easy to say thank you to God when you do not have a rebellious teenager under your roof.
It's easy to say thank you to God when you are in an unbroken relationship.
It's easy to say thank you to God when you have sufficient food for the day.
But
Then the kids won't give you a minute to think.
Then the dog eats some of the chicken.
Then you're tired.
Then your spouse is too busy to love you.
And there is no thanks said to God
Or no thanks felt.
And we rebel.
And we fail to seek Him.

And then I fail to seek Him.
The thanks become a distant truth that I resent.
And I fail to seek Him.
A hundred decisions a day, a thousand thoughts and how many spared for Him?
Never enough.
More complex than science, more magical than destiny, the Creator of the stars.
And no thanks felt in my heart
As I live by the power of His mercy
On the very threshold of his throne room
Awaiting entrance, I am an arrogant fool.
And when I die and I am flush full of the awareness and power of His glory and how very far short I have measured in deservedness
He will look at me
The One who knew me before my mother knew me, before I knew myself
The One who is and was and always will be
The eternal One
He will look at me and I will be saved
Because He will not see me but Jesus.
I am not fit
Even when I am humbled to my knees and appalled with what depths I am certainly capable of in heart, in mind, and in speech.
When I remember to pray, to read, to choose wisely
To have a gentle spirit and be merciful.
It is a poor offering.
But the One looks at me and sees Him and I am saved.
Thankful am I that the Holy Spirit in me cries out.
Thankful am I that I am being saved.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Future minded. Eternity minded.

If someone trespasses against you and you spend years forgiving them or feeling you've forgiven them,  but you can't bear the thought of being in their physical presence, have you actually forgiven them? 

The easy answer is "maybe."
But I'm afraid the true answer might be no.  

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

If I had 3 wishes I would wish:

1. That when Bob and I die we would spend eternity together praising the maker of the universe.

2. That my parents would know fully how humbled and amazed and appreciated their love and care has made me feel.

3. That I had a pair of thermal imaging goggles.



In that order.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A bit

Art history is all fun and games until you read about someone like Caravaggio. Yick.
...

When something doesn't feel right; when I feel like a pale imitation of what I want to be. I need to read the Bible more or better. It helps me rake all the worldly fake gladness from the real source of joy in my life.

Friday, July 21, 2017

A nice 3 nearly often.

Sage just walked down two flights of stairs in the dark to tell me that Marley's cough sounded worst and that she thought Marley needed med-sen. Then she told me, "On Saturday when I was a baby Grandpa Bob was holding me and I had a cough."

Marley appreciated when Sage and I showed up with the med-sen. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

In the center- the waiting.

I grabbed a washcloth today and for a moment I could smell my grandma's house as it had been when she was alive and sound of mind. It made me feel 100 years old and a million miles from home. Sad and happy and hopeful and lonely.

Earlier today I was sitting on my parents' porch and looking into the trees and thought of my other grandmother.

It's amazing where human lives lead. That though we've fallen, God holds us to Him. That through the miracle and blessing of motherhood we can experience so much living and joy, even while existing in the middle of a dark foggy world that seems hopeless and groping all the time.

That even our suffering is not in vain.  If we are remembered by many or few after we die, eventually no human will recall us, or know our smell. But the Creator of the Universe has purpose for us and spoke our world into existence and populated it with creatures He loves, though they deny Him.

I guess I still feel lonely. Though the Father attends me with the Spirit. I'm sad for the losses of my kith and kin to time. I'm in dread of the time I have left, full of loss as it will be. I know the comfort of hope,  but I am not yet surrounded by the comfort of home, where pain and tears will be forgotten memories.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

More lovely

The word of GOD is liking being under a clear sky,  standing in the full sun but not being burned. Like viewing every small part and act of spring renewal and every potential this world has for beauty, all at once. I cannot grasp it or see it for myself. The spirit discerns it and gives it to me like a gift beyond comprehendable value. Praise GOD forever.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Sissy

A girl who was my friend in elementary and middle school died a few weeks ago. Prior to her death she was very addicted to drugs and living a lifestyle that rendered her unfit to keep her own children. Her body was eventually weakened and poisoned to the point of death. When I knew her she was goofy, loved to make people laugh, and loved to receive attention. I lost touch with her after high school except very occasional facebook talks. I am just now able to put it into words instead of randomly breaking down in tears.

She was the first person I ever smoked a cigarette with or tried drugs with. Our friendship was less close after I went away for a time to boarding school. It could have been that I stayed close to her, became as dependent on drugs for satisfaction. She wasn't really so different from me. God used my circumstances and my parents to keep me from that life and that death. I keep thinking about her, wishing I had kept in touch and also glad I didn't. Thankful that the rabbit hole didn't keep me buried.

I'm sad for her and her kids and her parents. I'm thankful for mine. I didn't deserve the mercy I was shown, I don't deserve it. Now I pray that all this ruminating and sadness I feel for her will be of use. That God will help me find a way to turn this inside feeling to help myself, my kids, and others to escape that life and death that took her.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Love stories playing out

The other day I posted about all the sweet things going on and missed one. It's easy to forget the major stuff because you know you will remember it. It makes sense, in terms of journaling, I assure you.

My little sister is going to have a baby. Soon she gets to meet a person who will teach her a whole new set of emotions and how to weave them together into a whole new way of life. I am thrilled for her and Plamen. I am thrilled for our whole family. The feelings I have about my newest nibbling mirror those I have about Marley's 9th birthday. God's gentler blessings are grand and wonderful. It is so easy to take for granted but close inspection reveals it for the miracle it is.

Psalm 65
Our God, we look forward to praising you in Zion.
    We will keep our promises to you.
All people will come to you,
    because you hear and answer prayer.
When our sins became too much for us,
    you forgave our lawless acts.
Blessed are those you choose
    and bring near to worship you.
You bring us into the courtyards of your holy temple.
    There in your house we are filled with all kinds of good things.
God our Savior, you answer us with right and wonderful deeds.
People all over the world and beyond the farthest oceans
    put their hope in you.
You formed the mountains by your power.
    You showed how strong you are.

You calmed the oceans and their roaring waves.
    You calmed the angry words and actions of the nations.
Everyone on earth is amazed at the wonderful things you have done.
    What you do makes people from one end of the earth to the other sing for joy.
You take care of the land and water it.
    You make it able to grow many crops.
You fill your streams with water.
    You do that to provide the people with grain.
    That’s what you have decided to do for the land.
You water its rows.
    You smooth out its bumps.
You soften it with showers.
    And you bless its crops.
You bring the year to a close with huge crops.
    You provide more than enough food.
The grass grows thick even in the desert.
    The hills are dressed with gladness.
The meadows are covered with flocks and herds.
    The valleys are dressed with grain.
    They sing and shout for joy.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Good

So many things this week...

Drinking coffee with Sage and Bob at a teeny adorable coffee shop while Marley attends a gardening class and Solo a mixed media class on scholarship.
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Dappled morning light on the ferns.
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My mother posting her age publicly on FB, causing shock and disbelief in her daughters. We're inspired.
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My mother turning 70 (can I post that here?) My kids writing paragraphs about Gigi as an assignment.


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Marley being told she can pick out a dog from the pound. Stipulations: not too old, no double coat.  She chose the quiet, shy dog who had been there twice as long as the others (her first choice was 7 and had a double coat AND got adopted while we were there). She made a great choice. Perfect dog for Marley. I'm making efforts to not play alpha too much. Marley wanted to name her Meme, but that's my name so I objected. So she named her Juniper (Junie) Ravenclaw. She wrote a book prior to this about a girl and her dog named Junip. Solo and sage have been calling her "Junifer".
...
Firm knowledge that I share genes with my mother.
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Sage has been very cuddley for 3 days without being sick.
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Solo divided his pokemon cards and card holding pages into two and found an empty binder to make sage her own pokemon collection.
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Sage insisting Grandpa Bob hold her like a baby just like in her baby pictures.
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I had my first cup of coffee in 3 days this morning.
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Bob had a super in depth assessment at work and impressed the guy by leaps and bounds. He's an irreplaceable asset. (I already knew that) (Also the test showed that Bob takes on too much stress and doesn't handle it well) (already knew that too).
...
I'm trying to not let people I don't like, make me less likable.
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Lulu sleeps at the foot of my bed every night.
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The kids and I have been doing a better job reading the Bible, not just talking about it, each day.


Friday, June 30, 2017

Xpost from Facebook.

Saw a mom and tiny baby deer getting ready to cross the street in front of my house, so I walked into the road to make sure no cars came. The mom crossed and the baby wobbled it's way over to me and nosed my knee. I pet it a few times before mom came back and I moved away. Totally worth holding up traffic. 😍 #urbandeer #dowhattheywant
Also I was wearing shorts I will never wear again because I never actually wanted anyone to see them but now people have. Also I was carrying a painting roller on an extension rod. I looked like trailer trash Bo Peep and it was still a wonderful magic moment.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What lion?

Control yourselves. Be on your guard. Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow. Stand up to him. Stand firm in what you believe. All over the world you know that your brothers and sisters are going through the same kind of suffering.
1 Peter 5:8‭-‬9

You know what my problem is when I read verses like this is? I don't relate them to myself.  My problems are so insubstantial, so mundane, so pedestrian. I don't see any lions waiting for me. Today I had a few verbal misunderstandings with a couple of people on noncrucial topics. I encountered a lot of grump unless. My car was making a whistling noise. Now I'm grouchy because I was tired of being the only person not grouchy.

I know those verses are for me. So I'll be on my guard. I'll try to shrug off this mantle of gloom because it isn't mine. The mantle of hope is mine.

... sorry for the mixed metaphors.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Where am I?

I really want a unicorn for my yard. I'm an adult. I should be able to pull that off.
...

My low/angry points in my hormone cycle essentially boil down to my hormones getting the best of my sense of humor.
...

I'm getting better at connecting to the natural world around me. This is because my head is out of my own butt most of the time and I'm taking the time to stay in one place. Taking the time to fall in love.
...

If the human race would all agree to stop with the constant showering and soaping we would all be a lot more human to each other and mind it a whole lot less.
...

I don't like having my base reality disrupted. It's easier to bear when it is for my children or a very fun activity. Even then it puts me well off balance for a long time.  Like I need to reset, which is accomplished by not being disrupted for awhile. This sounds like I'm describing basic introversion but I don't think that's it. Socializing with random persons who fit inside my base reality is joyful for me. I want to talk to people in my neighborhood, in my ymca, in my grocery store, in my church. I'm not always good at it,  but I like it and it doesn't disrupt me. It's going to a different neighborhood, a different ymca, a different grocery store (I shudder at that one) that I dislike.
Guess I'm a status quo homebody with classic human control issues. I'm hoping that more aging will bring with it more wisdom and I will get over this need to control.
...

Marley picked up a printed portion of my blog last week, it was written around the time she was 1, she read a bit and said, "This is hilarious." I told her she could read it all when she was 18.
...


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Not home yet

I read about the Hebrews enslaved in Egypt, their suffering and oppression. I read about God's facilitating their escape, their subsequent bad behavior and their punishment to roam the desert for 40 years before their progeny is allowed to enter the promised land.
I know this is a parallel of what God has done for each believer through Jesus. But sometimes I forget that I'm not a Hebrew in the Promised Land. I'm in the desert. This isn't my final destination. I am walking with my family, free from slavery but not free from life's harms.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Onions

Solomon came rushing into the house to tell me he had found large onions growing wild in the yard. He dug up four and cleaned them with great care before I looked closely and saw they were flower bulbs. He was so happy to have provided onions and to have discovered something. I was sad to tell him what they were. I'm thankful to be his mom.

We are finishing up two weeks of no scheduled activities. It was wonderful.
Back to "work". Which is also a joy.



Saturday, May 20, 2017

Falling out of love

I use to think falling out of love was actually real. Before the understanding of what love actually is and that I can only choose to stop being in love; choose to stop acting in love if someone stops acting lovable. Which I think everyone stops acting lovable, at least every once in awhile, at least temporarily.

I am more capable of love now than before I was married or when I was first married. 10 years together with Bob and I am only now in the last couple years beginning to feel the ACTUAL meaning of love. As I realize that love isn't something that just happens but is something you choose, it actually feels even more unbreakable, more unflappable as a choice than it did as something inevitable or inescapable.

When love was happening to me it felt like something intangible and impossible to hold on to. But now I choose to love Bob and I know that it is my decisions and my reactions that determine my love for him. Not his decisions or actions and not predestination.

I'm thankful for Jesus' example, for the gift of faith and how it has taught me better to love Bob. I am thankful to my parents for their example. Love in an imperfect world with two imperfect people as an echo of the perfect love from a perfect God.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

What else did they do?

I am building resources for a workbook I am putting together. A collection of information on art moments and individual artists and the like. I have about 80 artists I am collecting information on. Many of them are well known such as da Vinci or Titian; some lesser known Basawan and Carrie Mae Weems. I have made many rather dismal discoveries during my efforts. The latest of which is this: I have been doing quick google work searching for the birth-date of each artist and looking up or fact checking which art moments that artist is primarily known to be a part of. Of course many of the artists belong to multiple movements, or do not fit the movements of their time. The information is always easy to come by though. The first or second google result, possibly the third. Da Vinci, Tintoretto, Gauguin, Picasso, Pissarro, Manet... It's as easy to find their related art movement as it is to find their birth-date. But when I got to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera respectively I ran into the same problem for both. They were not titled post-impressionist painters or cubist painters. They were Mexican painters. Same issue for both on multiple websites.

Though their bodies of work would indicate that they were both post-impressionists (or cubist) painters they are Mexican painters. Is this a huge outrage? No. They ARE Mexican painters and both bodies of work were very important to their time and their country. It is a tiny symptom of the larger problem of unequal treatment. Equal treatment is of course, impossible, however, should be treated carefully, especially if you have one of the top three google search results.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Two gecko posts in a row.

Last night I went to see a local Price is Right show at Jack's casino,  it was hosted by Jerry Springer by the way.  Bob didn't get called because they couldn't afford his winning streaks.
...
While the kids were away at the Duebs, Vegas the Crested Gecko decided it was time to lay her first clutch.  The kids and I were in the "sleeping room"  this morning when I spotted the eggs sticking out of the substrate in the nesting box. So pleased! Perfect white ovals.  In 80-130 days we will see how it goes.  ;)
...
We are working on a multiple step project at the Winslow Manse. Moving Marley and Solo into the third floor bedrooms.  I'm not ready emotionally.  I know I'm lame, I'm still letting them. Is it weird that I'm feeling extra crazy about window safety?  Shouldn't I be crazy about the second floor windows too?
...

Keeds

Solo (laughingly): One time Asher locked himself in the bathroom and he couldn't get out and I had to tell him to turn the lock left... Wait that was me. I locked myself in the bathroom.

...
Sage (thoughtfully): red means stop and green means go!
Me: that's right Sage. Good.
Sage (yelling): So no cows running in the street!
Marley: Um Sage I think you're tired.
Sage: MOOOOOOO!


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bible tells me so.

Solomon: Sometimes I don't know if I am obeying God.
Meg: Let's talk about that.
Solomon: Like at night when I wake up and I need to go to the bathroom and I come downstairs and everyone else is asleep and I go to the bathroom and I don't know if I should flush or not because it might wake people up.
Me: ... neither of those are sin. In fact it probably pleases God that you are thinking about other people's needs.
Solomon: *look of deep relief*
Me: This is why we read our bible... Erm... one reason.


Oh sage orange.

Midnight.
Sage comes around the corner from her room into mine and starts crawling into my bed.
Me: What are you doing?
Sage: Coming to cuddle you.

She hunkers down between Bob and I and a few minutes pass. She lifts up her head suddenly and says,  "Let's go to my room.  Daddy is too loud."

...
I'm not sure why his snoring doesn't bother me but I'm thankful it doesn't! Sleeping with Sage is dangerous due to all the elbows and headbutting.

Sage wants to be Catboy from PJ Masks but her favorite super hero move is "Owl wind".

She wants to play trumpet like "my bwudduh Sodo.".

She  loves to tell people about her day even if it's her day from last week.

She likes to have control and order and to understand the order.

She will taste anything once and maybe twice if we tell her not to.

Her birthday was a week and a half ago and she kept telling everyone it was birthday.  We kept correcting her and now she's telling people,  "My birthday is over.  I'm having another one in an hour." Except she means in a year.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mean people suck.

I feel sad. I don't want to talk about with anyone because my happiness far outweighs my sadness and I know I'm being silly. I don't take rejection or meanness well. I really don't. Maybe because I don't get it pointed at me very much, maybe because I'm sensitive at times or to certain types of people. Meanness makes me want to quit. Even though I know the meanness is wrong. Other people have feelings and they hear you, even if you're not using words.

You don't have to be fake nice and insincere, just try not to be mean. Jeez.

+update +
Yes, yes, yes. The meager suffering of my heart today is not for nothing. It teaches. The humility it gives, the lessons it drives home. It isn't for nothing. Even petty meanness can be used by God for the enrichment of His people. So that they can be enriching to their surroundings. Not static, not bitter. God makes us better, suffering is not for nothing.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Building a vivarium for your crested geckos



This is how I made a crested gecko enclosure out of a craigslist score piece of furniture. I looked intensely for a few weeks for something that would suit my needs. Solid, easy to open door, possibility of ventilation, lots of visibility, looked cool per my eccentric tastes, and fit on the tiny amount of wall space I have that isn't art covered. Ok- it is art covered, but I can make room for my geckos.

Mostly I looked at curio cabinets, glass shelves, hutches and the like. Then I happened on a gun cabinet that was close to fitting my needs but for way less money. So I searched my area craigslist for other gun cabinets and voila! Practically a curio cabinet but for less money. Why do people think they can ask for $600 for a broken piece of furniture they found in grandma's storage locker!? Whoever is paying $600 for such things- quit it. You're ruining everything. But I digress...

So I found this gun cabinet and brought it home. I fixed a few things cosmetically and considered what I needed for my geckos. The key to enjoying your nocturnal pets is keeping them happy so they don't hide ALL the time and creating easy visibility for yourself (and of course ease of care is a must)!

Ventilation. Resistance to water. Lots of visibility. Hides. Lighting. Comfort for them, visibility for me.

I needed to bring the substrate high enough so that it would be more in line with the view-able area (as in the glass areas). That way if the geckos were on the floor of the enclosure, they would be visible if I were sitting nearby. I needed lighting and I needed to decorate it in a way that provided multiple horizontal and vertical perches. Multiple geckos means you need to provide multiple places of safety or they might compete or fail to thrive in general.

STEP ONE: I made sure to remove anything dangerous e.g. exposed nails, staples, sharp wood pegs that did something useful in their previous gun cabinet life. I couldn't remove one of those pegs fully so I improvised. I sanded it down so be as small as possible and as rounded as possible.


STEP TWO: I wiped it all down with rubbing alcohol to remove any oils or unknown chemicals.

STEP THREE: Background. I couldn't decide what to use as the background. The background and the substrate are as important to the overall look of the enclosure as the decorations. Because HEY- they're visible.
I considered painting a mural and decided not to because it would be a pain to seal it enough to resist the daily water misting my pets require. I considered a few other options: fabric, tapestry, yarn streamers (they look very cool if you use thick yarn in a natural bamboo-like color). Then I went to the bathroom and BEHOLD! My shower curtain. My tacky-but-who-cares shower curtain depicting a photograph of a jungle scene. Perfect. Waterproof, easy, jungle-tastic. Like a scene straight from New Caledonia. Of course I had to replace my shower curtain in case I decided to shower sometime. 

I measured the area I needed to cover and then cut the shower curtain to fit. Added bonus, the fabric doesn't fray so I didn't have to hem anything. I assure you, I was feeling very pleased with myself and this is probably the pride that caused my later fall, which I will tell you about at the end.

I staple gunned my shower curtain to the back of the gun cabinet, using very small shallow staples. Easier to remove if necessary and less protruding pokey things out the back. In a few areas I used hot glue to insure there would be NO WAY for the geckos to get behind the curtain. People say mice can fit into anything, geckos are even better at tight squeezes. When in doubt, lash/glue/staple/stuff it so that the gecko won't hide there. They probably won't get stuck, but you certainly won't be able to see them.

STEP FOUR: Substrate. Substrate choice is very important for geckos. You don't want them to eat it on purpose or on accident. So to my thinking that rules out sand or small rocks or fine dirt. My solution is to use spray foam to build the height and interest of the ground. GREAT STUFF spray foam is aptly named (though I feel like an idiot when I ask for it at the hardware store, "I'm looking for great stuff!")

When using great stuff as a substrate you can use it to anchor your structural elements (like limbs) if they are not too heavy.













What I used:three large cans of Great Stuff, a serrated steak knife that I use for crafts, a thick plastic drinking cup.
I also stuck three dried limbs into the foam to serve as trees. (Only two pictured). I jammed the third one in after the foam had dried.

If you've never used spray foam before I suggest you do your research. It is very, very sticky. And it can dry very, very quickly or in my case with many layers, pretty slowly. It's paintable but do not bother sculpting, priming or painting before it is dry on the outside AND the inside. Not sure? Poke a pencil or something you can throw away into the foam forcibly. Does it come out clean or does it come out sticky? Or did any wet foam protrude from the hole? If in doubt, wait. If the outside is dry but the inside is wet and you prime or paint, it will expand and crack your work and leave ugly veining. Protect everything from the foam, especially the glass, the wood, the background. If it does get on something, try acetone (nail polish remover). I used wax paper to protect my background and the glass.

Ok- once it's definitely dry, you can sculpt. This part is a little (or a lot of) artistry and planning. Purely. For some this will be an intuitive and easy and happy process and for others, nope. Having a plan will help, being flexible will also help. Know what you need, what you want and what you're capable of.

Keep in mind during planning: 1. Geckos hide, you can design hiding places to work for YOU AND them. Avoid any unintentional hiding places. I caulked the edges of the spray foam area and the walls and glass. 2. Think about where you want the water dishes/food dishes/mealworms/crickets etc. to go.
I wanted a in-ground hiding hole they'd use that didn't prevent my viewing but satisfied their desire for safety.
I wanted to add natural elements like rocks and a built in area for a water dish. I also wanted an area to put a dish of natural substrate for any of my geckos that are gravid. So they have a comfortable place to lay eggs. (I used an old plastic planter dish and foamed around  the side. In the photo it appears in the middle of the substrate as a black square.

To make the hide I used a stiff edged plastic cup and cut a hole in the top and taped it in place then foamed around it, let that stiffen up pretty well then added more foam around and over it. I kept the open end near the glass so I could see inside. I cut a hole through the foam to the hole in the cup for access. (Note: I also left an area towards the front of the viewing area that would allow an additional way to escape just to prevent one gecko trapping another in there).
I didn't limit my foaming to the ground. I used it to add texture to the base of the limbs and to add a platform area like a nest and to mount two sticks together to create the 'Y' shape I wanted. (See more photos below).

So to recap this part. Have a plan, be flexible (because the foam isn't), protect everything from the foam, sculpt the foam to suit your needs. 

STEP FIVE: Prime, paint, seal.
I used black acrylic paint to primer because it is low odor and dries quickly. I water it down about 50% with water so that it more easily covers the foam. On foam that isn't sculpted and on the caulking you shouldn't water down the paint because it doesn't adhere well to the smooth surfaces. I did two coats for better coverage.White doesn't much occur in nature except wave-caps and snow so I tried to get rid of as much of the white as possible.
After the primer is dry, you go to town with color. This is NOT DIFFICULT. You do not have to be an artist. The rough edges of the foam lend themselves to creating a naturalistic look. After the primer I chose two browns (one dark and one light) and three greens (keep your background in mind) and dabbed them on. Don't let lack of painting skills stop you, it practically takes care of itself as long as you can bring the paint and the brush. I use the green to incorporate my "trees" into the ground, to make it look more cohesive. I blot it on to look like some sort of moss or lichen on the ground that is creeping up the tree.


Sealing is tricky. I'm terrified of fumes hurting my geckos. So that narrows my selection a lot. It was either shellac or elmer's glue. I chose Elmer's glue for two reasons. It stinks less for less time than shellac and I had it at my house at the time. I water it down about 50% with water and did about three coats. Letting each dry entirely. Picture is of my gluey brush. and the white all over the substrate there is the wet glue/water mixture.



FINISHED PRODUCT
Pictures of the cabinet with the doors opened and closed. 


The added fake plants were carefully chosen. The colors had to look nice together and the background. They couldn't be easily pulled apart or swallowed and they couldn't have little metal wires protruding. The vines are braided loosely together and were purchased for $3 at Hobby Lobby. I couldn't make them for cheaper so I didn't.


A close-up of the hidey hole made out of a plastic cup and the spray foam. It sits flush to the display glass except at the top left where a gecko could make an escape from the hole if necessary. Second photo shows top hidey hole enterance as well.



The platform I made out of foam and tree limbs. I spooned out a place to set one of the food bowls. Roughly inspired by a hummingbird's nest. 


And THIS. This is what happens when you get all proud about your own construction triumphs. You get distracted during foaming and stick your fringe into the hummingbird knock-off that hasn't finished drying. A few weeks later, it still isn't all the way gone. 
Good thing I'm too cool/lame to care.




Sunday, January 8, 2017

Kid games

Some times kids are really good at playing together in make believe games and sometimes they're not. Some times they stop pretending themselves and just tell the other people to do all the pretending for them.

During those make believe games, playing becomes more like lazy, displaced, thinly veiled bragging. Most of those such games I witness or listen to contain one or more of the following themes (even if the exact wording is a little different):

A. "Pretend that I was the most awesome at what we are about to pretend to do and that you didn't know and that when we do do what we're going to do you are visibly surprised and delighted with how awesome I am."

B.  "Pretend you think that I died and that you're VERY sorry that I'm dead. But I'm not dead."

C. "Pretend there were werewolves/volcanoes/snakes/pirates/parents/wizards and that I saved you and you're grateful."

D. "Pretend that you underestimated me and then I greatly exceeded your expectations and everyone else's too... by a lot."

E. "Pretend that I hadn't eaten in several weeks and I was very hungry and bearing it with great stoicism despite my obvious discomfort. And you had loads of food the whole time and upon realizing the tragic unfairness you attempt to feed me some of your food." (Usually followed by theme B.)

F. "Pretend I killed you."

G. "Pretend my muscles bulge a great deal when I move even slightly."

H. Pretend that everyone can't stop thinking about how preternaturally gifted/strong/accurate/pretty I am.

There are more. So many more. But that's all I have for now.