A Little Ray of Sunshine

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bye-bye (at least for a while)

Wednesday, my hubby got a job offer. They wanted him to start right away, but ended up giving him two weeks (so he could give notice at his current job).
We have to move. Baby is due in four weeks.
It is a wonderful job. Great job. Too good to pass up. But I have a little boy turning four next week, and a two-and-a-half, and I'm about as agile as a rock. And two weeks. Actually, twelve days, as of today.
Res, thanks for the tip to look in Wyoming. This is at least partly to your credit.
We've found a place to live temporarily, a furnished cabin. We'll find a better (bigger) place before long, I'm sure. We actually have connections to the town, of a weird sort: my uncle was stationed there (Air Force) in the late sixties and my aunt worked for the same employer my husband will be working for. They have friends there. Nice folks, own some rental properties, we might end up renting from them for a time. We'll see. Everyone in the town has been incredibly friendly and helpful, from the Catholic Great-Grandmas' Breakfast Club to the Post Office Clerk to the Real Estate Agents to the people my husband will be working for. And the medical clinic, too.
But . . . I don't know when I'll be back to my blog. Certainly not the first month we're there, since we won't have computers! Maybe for Christmas? Who knows? There's a library there, but with two toddlers and a new baby . . . well, I suspect I'll be doing pretty well if I can keep up with family emails. (My grandmother is not expected to live much longer between the Alzheimers and the broken bones.)
Arielle, I hope everything goes well with your baby.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The last of the garden

It is that time of year when the garden has to be covered some nights. There is snow on the hills around town. The heirloom tomato varieties are the best tasting tomatos I've ever had.
To make salsa:
some finely chopped cayenne pepper--less than one.
some finely chopped garlic
some coarsely chopped onion
some chopped tomatos
some chopped tomatillas
some cillantro
some lime juice

Mix well and enjoy! Watch out for those peppers, though, it took three hand-washings to get the oil from them off my fingers. The cayennes are still green, some with yellow tinges. The tomatillas and tomatos are ripening at their own slow pace, probably because the weather has cooled.
There are Armenian cucumbers growing, we thought we had lost all the plants to the bugs but one, at least, survived. I had forgotten the variety I got was a striped cucumber until my husband called me out to the garden to show me them yesterday. There are four pumpkins, two orange, one green with an orange spot, and one green with small yellow spots, all on the one plant. Good big pumpkins, too, plenty for pie and eating. Two kabocha squash on the one surviving plant, one looks about ripe, the other is still small. The pumpkins and squash will stay out until the vines have frosted, then we'll haul them to my parents' basement, which is the right temperature for storage. Well, the pumpkins, anyway. I have a feeling the kabocha will not last one dinner past harvesting, since there are only two, and one may not make it to ripen.
The tomatilla is still blooming. The tomatos have better sense, and are throwing their energy into ripening their green fruits. The zucchini are sulking, I guess. I won't put them in pots again, they just haven't produced much.
If we are still here next year (since my husband has not found many jobs to apply for in this area it is looking less and less likely) we plan to double our garden space. If we are not here, well, we'll just have to see where we are and what we can do with it! I've got a pot of spinach started in a southern window, by my computer. The seeds are just coming up, so it'll be a bit before we have fresh spinach, but maybe we can have spinach salad for Thanksgiving. I've got some other plants I'd like to try inside, some Napa cabbage and some brocoli (it gets aphid infestations outside here, or so I'm told).
Now, if those lettuce seeds would just ripen, so I could save some for next year . . .
My parents are at higher elevation, and picked all their green tomatos already. Their garden is gone. Their Winesaps are ready, so my husband will (hopefully remember to) pick up some suet on his way home so I can make green tomato mincemeat. A new experiment.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Getting there

Six weeks to go--if he comes on time. Beau was nine days late, Hemi three days early--but physically post-mature, probably a bad EDD in his case. The down-side of having ten pound plus babies is that, at this stage, they're already as big as other folks' newborns. The upside is you really don't worry about having them early--even if this one were early, he'd be a good size.
I'm not holding my breath that he'll come on time, if I expect him late then it's easier mentally. On the other hand, early would be kind of nice.
Hemi is 35 lbs. He tipped the changing table over on himself trying to climb onto it for a diaper change the other day, and even with me holding it, he won't climb it now. So I am changing diapers on the floor. I can't lift him anymore. He cried last night because there wasn't enough room on my lap for him to climb up and snuggle the way he likes to. And Baby kicked him when he tried. (Actually, I think it was an elbow.)
Beau has been helping a lot. He's not the most coordinated assistant, at nearly four, but he's 42" tall so he can reach a lot. I'm wondering if the two of them together could move laundry from the washer to the dryer--Beau would need to get up on a chair to reach down into the washer, since it's a top-loader. We might have to give that a try. Yesterday Beau decided that the front of the fridge needed to be washed. So he did. This is a decided advantage to having big boys: they can do more. My fridge looks really great, too. He 'makes' their bed, too. If you're not picky about the wrinkles and rumples, it's great. It's either he does it or it doesn't get done at this point, I can't get that far into their room, the toys are a disaster and I don't know what to do about them. Nana needs to stop giving them big toys. It's not the blocks or cars that are the issue, it's the slide, the horse, the stuffed animals as big as the boys, the kitchen set, the giant dump truck and bulldozer . . . all wonderful things to play with, but they aren't pregnant-mommy friendly, or toddler-run pickup-time friendly. The blocks can easily be dropped in the block box (unsorted by kind: wood or duplo, but the boys don't care) and the rest of the little things go in the plastic drawers. The big stuff is awkward and catches on other big stuff.
The hallway is not easy, either. The strollers are 'stored' in the hallway by our room. I can barely squeeze past. The vaccuum is there, too. The living room needs vaccuuming badly, but I can't get the vaccuum out (lifting) to do it. We don't have enough storage space.
My hips ache, and I don't remember this from Beau and Henry. I can't find a comfortable position at night to sleep in, even using extra pillows to try to relieve the pressure. Then, of course, there are the back problems, but I'm pretty used to working around those. The boys have nearly knocked me down a couple times by accident--I don't really blame them, they can't tell that I can't feel my left leg from hip to knee, and it's hard to keep my balance when they run into me there. I wish I couldn't feel the hip, either, these days.
Baby has his fist in the hip, and some toes tucked in between my ribs. My mother-in-law called, she is worried that the baby is too big. She had just as big of babies, but she is shorter than I and didn't have the height to carry them as easily as I do. I have a very long torso, so even with all the aches and pains, I can still breathe without trouble. I spent some time reassuring her.
I got out all the boxes of outgrown clothes, or so I thought. There are exactly 3 9 month size onesies. Somewhere, there is another box. We've got about six months to find it. (They are plastic boxes, so ought to be easy to spot, but nope!)
I have only a few things in newborn size--Beau used them for a week, Hemi for a couple days. 3-6 month lasts us until about 2 months old. By 3 months, the boys had both outgrown the rear-facing carrier-style car seat, and had to transition to the convertable-in-rear-position. Both hit the weight limit on the convertable-in-rear-position before they reached the legal age to turn it around. Hemi, at two-and-a-half, has only five pounds to go to reach the forward-facing seat limit (actually, probably less, it's been a couple months since I last weighed him, and he's changed clothing sizes since). We always buy the tallest car seats.
Our boys wear mostly hand-me-downs, which leads to an excess of certain clothing items. For whatever reason, the boys that they got the 2-4 t's from owned an awful lot of t-shirts. More than two weeks worth. (Far more than pants and so on, I could understand if the mom was only washing once every two weeks.)
Now that Beau is in 5s, we ran out of hand-me-downs for the most part. The boys who gave us the other stuff (before we moved here) were in fives and sixes at the time. He has a few t's and church slacks from a garage sale, and a couple pairs of jeans from one of the boys. Nana always likes to have an up-to-date list of what the boys 'need' and in what sizes. So she got one, and then took Great-Grandmother shopping. (Her mother.) They picked out some very nice casual slacks and button-shirts for Beau. I guess Grandmother enjoyed it. I hope she did. Grandmother is in very poor shape--her Alzheimers medicine has stopped working and she had a nasty fall, several bad breaks none of which can be set.
So Beau has, really, a bare minimum of clothes. We still need to get him winter things--a new coat, mittens, and boots. But it is much easier to keep his clothing organized when there is so much less of it. It's really hard for me to get rid of perfectly good children's clothes, but I'm trying to get Hemi's supply down a bit. Unfortunately, the boys decided yesterday to dump all Hemi's clothes off the shelf, and there's no way I'm getting in there to pick them back up.
Some really great news: one of the places my husband has applied to contacted him for an interview! For some unknown reason, even though they insisted that the application had to be mailed, they decided to email in response. Naturally it went to the junk folder, so it's a good thing he checked his junk mail before he hit delete. And it's even a local place; there are not many places hiring here. It'd be nice to not have to move in the middle of winter with a 4yo, a 2yo, and a 2mo. The job interview is Friday afternoon. I've got to go over my husband's clothes and make sure there is something appropriate that fits (he's lost weight--2 waist sizes smaller than when he last bought slacks, before he started back to school) and is pressed (easier said than done, he'll have to pull the ironing board out for me). We don't know how much they're offering for the job, but it is local, so he could accept a little less than some of the out-of-town places he's applied (since I'd be able to keep my studio). I'm not sure about this cutting waists down on slacks thing, but I guess I'll get to see how it goes. He's going to need them soon enough.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Talent and Skill

As a musician, I frequently hear people bemoaning their lack of talent or praising other's talent. I would happily trade several very talented students of mine for students with no talent who were willing to work. (I've got one of these, and while frequently we both get frusterated because it is so hard, he's playing better than others who are talented and who have played just as long but won't work.) Talent, by itself, gets you nowhere.
Frequently the talent of others is used as an excuse for laziness: "She's more talented than I am, that's why she won." (The only more common excuse is favoritism.)
Skill, by itself, may never allow you to be Yo-yo Ma, Jaqueline DuPre, or Janos Starker, but it can get you a decent job in the field. Talent, by itself, will get you nothing but fired from McDonalds because you couldn't bother to show up for work.

There are plenty of jobs that skill will get you by on, talent or no. I've never heard of anything that talent without skill can accomplish.
Talent is great if you have it, and you're willing to work. Skill plus talent will take a person a long ways.
I've been composing since I was two. That's talent. A talent I've never spent much effort on developing. I'm not particularly good at it, because I haven't bothered, but I know that if I put the time and effort into it, I could be. I've been playing (on various instruments) since I was two. I've got quite a lot of talent, and I've put hours and hours into developing it. I make money off of this. I took 3 1/2 years of art classes. I have no talent but a fair amount of skill. If I draw a person you know, you will be able to recognize the person easily, but the drawing just doesn't have that spark.

Some folks will try to tell you it's wrong, maybe even a sin, not to develop every talent you have. Well, there aren't enough hours in the day to put enough into everything. Maybe some folks only have one or two talents. If you've got more, you don't have the time to build the skill to go with them. Then you have wasted them all. I think you're better off to pick the one or two you have the most passion for and develop those. Play with the others if you enjoy them. Actually, I think you're better off to develop skills for whatever you are passionate about, and forget talent. I think you'll be happier.

Talents seem to come in groups--a talent for an area of skill sets, if you will, rather than talent for one specific skill set only. I know an awful lot of people who are talented musically who are also talented in writing or art. I've noticed a connection between engineers and luthiers. So if you've got a child you know is talented in one area, and isn't passionate about that area, you might try to guess at what would be related areas. You might find both talent and passion somewhere else, which will make everyone involved much, much happier.