Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Mug

Do you know what living in Misery, ooops, I mean Missouri did to me?
It made me fat.

and then eight months later......

it made me stupid.
Like deer stuck in the headlights stupid.

Actually, the first photo was my Non-Driver ID because I refused to get a Missouri driver's license until my Kansas license expired.  I had just had a gigantic elephant baby cut out of my belly four weeks before I posed for the 'wear all the make-up I own to mask the fact I was fatilicious' picture, or should I call it the 'frosty beige' photo.

The second one where I look um, look, um, what do I look like?  Who makes that face?  And where is my hair?  I'm sporting a lock, just a lock, on the side of my face, my big bug-eyed face.   

I had just watched an episode of Oprah where photographers were giving tips on how to pose for a great photo.  So, I thought, GREAT, I'm going to use some of those tips when I get my license photo done.  I opened my eyes, pushed my face a bit forward and upward and wah-dee-la....deer in headlights.

Thanks for that Oprah.  Anytime Clay needs a good laugh he looks at my license.

I got pulled over for speeding a couple weeks ago and I had to hand the officer my stupid picture.  He must have felt sorry for me, because he lowered the fine.  

I'll be saying goodbye and good riddance to that license soon.  I'm not going to use any photo tips this time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'm Super

Today, I taught yoga to all the homeschool kids at my little co-op.  Usually, there are several kids that can't listen or stop moving, but something happened when we were doing the simple yoga moves.  They were quiet, followed along and were so well behaved.  It was strange.  Like I'd drugged them.  Afterwards, two of the children came up to me and said, "Thank you for teaching PE today."  Uh, okay.  Weird.

Tonight, Preacher was playing on the floor like he always does.  I didn't know what he had, but I knew it was plastic.  I was thinking, maybe I should take that away from him.  He rolled on his back and the next thing I knew he was choking on that plastic thing.  "He's choking!"  I yelled at Clay.  Preacher started to panic, but I grabbed him and shoved my hand in his mouth ramming the plastic thing farther down his throat, but I got it out.  It was half a ping-pong ball...I think.  Preacher immediately curled up in my lap and licked my chin, it was so sweet, I could tell he was saying, "Oh, thank you, thank you!"  Geesh.  

Tomorrow, I'm going to start sewing up my Super Yoga-Save the Dog Hero suit.  And I'm going to make a matching one for Preacher.  My friend, Lori Shaffer, is going to beg to borrow both of them, because she loves dogs sooooo much.

The American Homeplace

I'm finishing up Donald McCaigs book The American Homeplace. McCaig and his wife moved from New York City to the hills of Virginia in the early 70's. He knew nothing about sheep or living in the country, but was tired of the city and his corporate job. So they took their savings and drove around until they found a spot with good water and pasture.

It's been an interesting read. It's could easily be three different books. The first part of the book explains the history of his farm and surrounding area in Virginia. He talks about the homesteaders and their families and what happened to them.

The middle of the book is short essays about his time on the farm. I learned about his flock of sheep, especially his sheep dogs. I appreciate the thoughtful and tender way he speaks of the animals he's responsible for. His wife, Anne, and he sacrificed many a winter's night sleep to work during the lambing season. He talks about his community and how they rely heavily on each other to survive. And sadly, he writes about the decline in population, the youth of the area moving away to find work.

He's a model citizen. Volunteering for the fire department and working as an election official. He helped an elderly neighbor put up hay to relieve the worry of the old man's wife.

The last part of the book are interviews of fellow homesteaders and alternative farmers. I'd never heard of the political radical Scott Nearing or his wife, Helen and their influential book, Living the Good Life. Their hand built stone house is still being used at the Good Life Center at Forest Farm. Ah, if I were young, had children named Rainbow Trout, Black Earth and Butternut Squash, I would send in my application to be a resident steward.

McCaig also interviewed Wendell Berry and Maury Telleen, here is Telleens slate of ten considerations on modern agrarianism. One of my favorite interviews conducted by McCaig was with fellow Kansan, Wes Jackson of Salina, Kansas founder of The Land Institute. This is a conversation McCaig has recorded in his book:

On the way back to my motel, Jackson pointed at a brand new shopping center under construction, just slightly nearer to the highway than the old one, which would be torn down. Tax advantages, easier shopping, more fertile land gone.
I said, "Wendell Berry once wrote that soil is an ultimate value. Can you think of any other ultimate values?"
He was silent for a moment. "Well, there's water....."
"Oh, sure, Wes, and air, and-"
"The Kingdom of God," Wes Jackson said.

The Kingdom of God is an ultimate value. This book made me think, a lot about big agriculture and when it started to go wrong, when farmers began to feel the pressure to, "Feed The World" instead of their family. And I've thought about how hard it would be to live off the grid. I have a deep inner need to live more sustainably on this land, harness it's power and produce, bring forth the goodness only sweetened earth can provide. How successful will I be? I think ultimately, I will only be as successful as the work I put forth. God willing, my family will become more thankful of this earth, it's beauty, the miracle of life cycles. My children, my legacy, will look at their food and know where it came from and how much work was put into providing it and how deliciously deformed a tomato should be.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Downtown Barber

I can't get my act together enough to put these photos in order, so I think my entire post is going to be about something other than a trip to the downtown barber, maybe. This will be like one of those puzzles in which you have to order the pictures in the sequence in which they occurred and reading my ramblings about other stuff. Okay? Have fun. Or not.
I let one of my kids borrow my chap stick the other day and it came back tasting like salt. Instead of wiping it off I put it back in my purse, forgot that it tasted like a salt lick and used it again the next day. I think if I were a dog with one of those shock collars it would take more than a few zaps for me to understand my boundaries.
We spent the weekend in Wichita watching basketball games. Wichita, you are a weird city. I don't need to visit you again for a long time. However, I did enjoy all the highway retaining wall art, that's kinda cool, but just how much did that cost your city? Huh? Here is where the artist in me celebrates and the conservative whinces in pain. Oh, the inner conflict.
There are two people in my pottery class with dreadlocks. I never understood dreadlocks. One of my roommates in college tried to get dreads for awhile. I desperately wanted to give her head a good scrub and brush. She finally got sick of it and went back to having normal, clean, brushed hair.
My husband is a gigantic goof ball. He's also very cute. He took me to an awesome place for dinner on Valentine's Day. The menu offered locally grown produce and meat. I ate pork chops, which is a weird thing for me to order, but I was so happy when I was cramming it in my pie hole. I also enjoyed the copper light sconces in the restaurant that were made by my former jewelry professor.
Daddy long legs. Long tall Texan. Long, lean, walkin' machine.
There is nothing like having your hair cut by a tattooed barber from Brooklyn. He may sound rough and tough. His tattoos may alarm you, but he's pretty dang nice.

Especially, when he gives you a sucker for being, "a good kiddo". Whoops, I forgot I was supposed to be talking about other things. Like, Preacher, he's getting his nuts cut out today. Poor thing. It must be bothering me, because last night I had a dream that we owned three dogs and they all had some serious psychological issues.

I'm sorry, but I have the cutest three year old in the world. I know some of you think you have the cutest three year old, but you don't, he lives with me. Now, I didn't say he was the best behaved....just the cutest, which is why I let him continue to live with me, I like putting cute things in my house.

Evolution of the Jayhawk. Very important to know in case you ever get in a debate about creation vs evolution.
He once looked like a real bird without shoes. But eventually, he needed large yellow-taloned shoes.

The End. Thank God.

Friday, February 08, 2008


Let's rewind back to Friday, which seems like a decade ago.  
Carmen, my best childhood friend,  came for a visit.  I'd planned on going to eat somewhere girly, especially after I heard her order her lunch while talking to her via the phone, "Hold on April, I need to order my taco....uh, yeah, I'll take a Nacho Bell Grande..."  So her appetite for junk food has not changed.  Needless to say, I was still a little surprised when she suggested Mexican again for dinner.

She was the teenager that would raid our pantry and drink all the old orange soda and eat all the stale bags of chips.  I don't think I ever saw her turn down food.  I don't think I ever saw her gain weight.  She is still skinny and eats like a fat man.

It was bitterly cold and windy when we stepped out for the night, so we went to the first warm spot we found downtown.  It was a barbie Q joint.  We drank beer and ate bbq, we are such ladies. 

She wasn't too excited that I kept snapping photos of her.  I insisted it was for the blogger good, but ever since she's been denied access to my blog, well, she doesn't really understand my need to tell the world all the stupid details of my life.
After we ate we went to the local Christian bookstore/coffeehouse/art gallery.  It's a hoppin' spot.
Hey, St. Louisans!  That's Ryan Mayo (son of N. Mayo from CPC) on the guitar...he goes to my church.  The gal sitting on the stool is Jill Koch.

Carmen and art from Kansas.  
This painting of a burning field takes my breath away.  It's hot.
Who doesn't love some Indian stabbing bison sculpture?  Huh?  It's incredible.

Okay, that's all I've got.  I'm trying very hard to pretend I'm not coming down with the flu because Clay has reservations for us to go out tonight and I really want to go out to eat with my sweetheart.....almost as much as I want to crawl into my bed and not move for a few days.  Anyway, I've been trying to finish this post for days and this is the best I can do, so take it or stick it, either way.

Now, go say you love your honey's  and give them lots of hugs and kisses.

Reader Love

Faithful Readers and Anonymous Commenters and Accidental Clickers,

It's time again to give you an opportunity to speak up. See my linkage over to the right? Do you feel the need to be on that list? Do you?

I'm terrible at updating this little spot of my life. This blogaroom is untidy and outmoded. I don't see myself doing much to it, besides adding some new links, so please, tell me if you feel the need to be here. I'll gladly add you, unless you are a slimy weirdo.

Also, MuddyMama (she is so dang cute) and Carol @ I throw like a girl (love that tag, by the way) and one other person, that I can't remember (please remind me if you can) tagged me. I'm openly admitting that I love to be tagged, but I'm never going to get them done, nope, not gonna. I know one tag was the '6 quirky things about me' and I've done a couple of those, but as you probably are aware, there are enough quirky-whack a mole things about me to choke out the human race. I will let those things unfold slowly with time so as not to shock you.

*****EDITED TO ADD*****  Sweet DAHLING CYNTHIA was the other wonderful blogger that tagged me.  Please forgive me Cynthia, it's me, not you, I have the problem, it's called no memory.  

In other news.... Guess who's coming to town tonight? My bestest childhood friend, CARMEN!!!! I haven't seen her since we moved back, I'm so excited! She told me she hasn't been able to read my blog because the server at her office blocked it. Apparently, she would read Rechelle's blog and mine over lunch, but the server thought she was doing something inappropriate and locked her out. Poor girl, her lunch hour must be so lonely now. I'll take some crappy photos to post of our evening together.

That's it. That's all I have. Oh wait, one more thing.

Old griddle

New griddle!!!!  Wow!  It looks great!  And it cooks so much better!  

Thank you Kathy!

Kathy, because of your sweetness, my friend 'Miss Notesy' wants to make you a set of her adorable hand made cards.  Please go over and pick out a set.  She's expecting you!

Just Being Notesy

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


This is a post about an empty bottle of vanilla. I know, I'm grasping. My parents brought it back from Mexico. That would make it Mexican vanilla or VAIN-ILLA, which makes me thinks it was harvested from a vein out of Godzilla. Guess how long I've had it? Did you guess 14 years?

It was as old as my daughter. Is it creepy that I was using 14 year old VAINILLA in my recipes? Is it creepier that it took me 14 years to consume it? Does VAINILLA ever go bad? I'm thinking, no it's soaked in some sort of alcohol, so it should last for eternity....right? Is it strange to have such an ENORMOUS bottle of VAINILLA in the first place? What were the people producing this VAINILLA thinking? Are they recycling old water bottles? Is it, or rather, was it even vanilla to begin with?

The bottle was so big I couldn't fit it in the drawer or cupboard with my other spices and flavorings. This bottle had it's very own special spot. For fourteen years it has been put away by the flour and sugar bins. My kids won't know where to find the normal bottle of vanilla and will wonder why the heck it's stored amonst the cinnamon and cloves.
VAINILLA is very potent, so if a recipe called for one teaspoon of vanilla I learned very quickly to use four or five droplets of VAINILLA. If I used too much, then whatever I was baking would taste like something tropical, sort of coconutty. Again I ask, was it really vanilla?

I'm sad that my VAINILLA is gone. Now I'll have to go buy normal vanilla and follow the alloted amounts in the recipe. What fun is that? I used to feel like a chemist putting teensy weensy drips of VAINILLA in my batter. I'm beginning to think no, this was not vanilla.

My family won't recognize the taste of my baking. I mean, all they've known is VAINILLA!

Goodbye VAINILLA. I will miss you.

Maybe my next bottle of vanilla will actually fit in my spice cupboard and actually be, without a doubt, vanilla.

Okay, sorry for posting about an empty bottle of vanilla. What can I say? Nothing is happening around here. Clay said, "This post is boring". Hey, Clay go write your own blog!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Elephant Droppings

Because the small details of my life are important to you. Yes they are. Yes they are. Are too. Are too, infinity!

One or both of our toilettes are clogged nearly every single day. I'm serious. This is not one of my exaggerations to make a better story......uh, I mean, I'm telling the truth here, no lie!

C- Which one of our boys put the huge turd in the toilet and clogged it up?
A- Levi
C- It looks like an elephant dropping!
A- I know. He was complaining that his back hurt while he pushed it out, but he's fine now.
C- Good, lord.

I have boys that clog the toilet with their huge elephant turds. Every. Ding. Dang. DAY!
How do I cope with this awful daily event? I ignore it. I don't acknowledge the incident, until Clay asks me if I'm aware that all the toilets are clogged. Yes, I know. Then he looks at me, furrows his brow, squints his eyes, bites his bottom lip and heads out to the barn to get the plunger.......until I suggested he might want to keep it in the basement, since, you know, he needs to use it so often.

Since I'm of no assistance in the de-clogging effort, Clay has decided to teach the parties responsible for the nuisance how to unclog the toilet. The first lesson sounded a bit like this;

"No, no you put this end of the plunger in the toilet. DON'T SWING IT AROUND! Wait, wait, don't touch anything with it!"

That's about all I could stand to hear, so I tuned out any other useful tips that I may have gained in the art of elephant turd extraction.

Today, after the latest offense Clay called to me from the kitchen.

C- April, come here.
A- No.
C- April, come here.
A- I said, NO.
C- April, come here.
A- If your making me come look at that giant turd, I'm not coming!
C- April, come here.
A- I don't want to learn how to use a plunger.
C- April, come here.
A- If this has anything to do with that toilet....I'm not doing it.
C-April, come here.
A- I'm not participating in anything that's has to do with poop!
C-April........come here.
A- sigh (realizing he's not going to give up) FINE! WHAT?

C-We're making cookies.


C- What can I use instead of brown sugar?

A- Are you going to make me unclog the toilet?

C- No.

So, I gave him the sugar he could use and he made cookies with his kids. Then he unclogged the toilet....until tomorrow. And I didn't have to do a darn thing. Life is good.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Self Awareness

Shortly after we moved here I found myself eagerly volunteering for my children's school. My first opportunity to serve came during the school's auction. I was helping set up all the merchandise that had been donated.

At one point, I came across a golf ball that had been gingerly set underneath a goblet. I didn't know what to make of it.  Was the goblet part of the auction or was it protecting the golf ball? So I picked up the goblet to take a better look at the golf ball. There was a name scribbled on the ball. Okay, so it must be a famous golfer or someone of the like. And that's where I should have just put the ball back under the glass and walked away. But instead, I found myself turning to the other people in the room with the ball held aloft and in a very innocent voice I asked...

"Who's Bill Self?"

A deathly silence met my question. The president of the board started to shake his head while looking at me, "No, no, no, you did not just ask that question did you?"

"Oh, sorry, should I know him? Is he a famous golfer? I don't know many golfers."

Then the silence turned to muffled chuckles, "How long have you been gone from Kansas?"

"Nine (long, lonely, yearning, miserable) years."

As it turns out, Bill Self is the head basketball coach for our beloved Kansas Jayhawks. I hadn't a clue. For me to admit that in a public place, was, well, not good. I'm surprised I'm not living in exile right now.

It reminded me of when we moved to St. Louis and people insisted on having conversations about baseball with me assuming I cared deeply about the St. Louis Cardinals. Women especially, they would start talking about the game, the players, and the errors. I thought they were joking. Surely, all these women were not this passionate about baseball. Didn't they want to talk about gardening, decorating, shopping, cooking, books, movies, sewing, religion....anything besides baseball? No. They didn't.

I found myself in conversations about spring training, exhibition games, trades, quality starts, earned run average, slugging percentages. I learned to nod my head in agreement and throw out the name LaRussa to appear that I cared.

I was coaxed to games by well meaning people. I usually took a good book, magazine and insisted that I have a hotdog and soda before the first inning was over. If my husband dragged me to the game I would beg to leave by the end of the fifth inning, "Please, can we go now? I'm hot. I'm full. I'm done reading. I'M BORED! Please, can we go? I'm going to die if I have to stay here one more second! PLEASE, TAKE ME HOME!"

I endured the long seasons. I learned to avoid the die hard fans in fear they would hand me tickets or ask me what I thought of the pitching line up. I escaped baseball conversations by mentally escaping to a land full of flowers and trees and bunnies and cows, I'd begin my safe mantra, "Uh-huh, Uh-huh, LaRussa needs a haircut, Uh-huh, Oh, I know, yes, LaRussa is a genius, yes, Cardinals, LaRussa.....".

Just when I had learned several key player's names and positions, we moved back to Kansas.

Now, I have to endure unending conversations about college ball. It's all about Mangino and football, Bill Self and basketball. Jayhawks, Jayhawks Jayhawks!

There is no escaping sports!

Oh, well. It could be worse. You know what? At the school auction there was a baseball on the silent bidding table. I picked it up and it was signed by Ozzie Smith. I didn't have to ask who he was, I even bid on the ball for my husband, but sold for $40.00, I don't think many people knew who he was. But the Bill Self ball, that sold for hundreds of dollars and everybody in the room knew who he was......even me. I hope they don't change coaches for awhile.