28 February 2011

Update 28 February 2011

The delay in serious blogging may well last another week, but I am hoping that will be the end of it for the time being. The audits will be over on Friday and it looks like our weekend adventures are slowing down from here. (They have to starting at Ostara -- we have big plans for gardening and preserving this year!)

My 365 project is ongoing, though it took a while to find time to upload shots over the course of the week. As you can see, not every shot is a real success, but I am getting closer and closer to what I want when I take the photo. As an example, on day 50, I finally got a good shot of the texture of the bark. On day 45, I was very, very pleased by the texture of the snow. Then again, the photos for days 47, 51, and 52 are not anything I would ordinarily share...except they were the best I got that day. But the taking photos every day, even (especially?) when there's nothing I want to commemorate is doing great things for my skill. It encourages me to take risks because if I don't get good ones, I can keep trying. That's not as easy when it really matter that I get some good photos - I tend to shoot safe then.

Jack had his annual "I Love My Friends" not-a-birthday party yesterday. We all had a lovely time! I think for a winter party, four friends was just about the perfect size. It meant that the wild party games the kids made up with party "blow-outs" and poppers didn't get out of hand and there was room for everyone at the table without too much crowding. I am hoping that eventually Miss Sari will share some photos--I thought about photos, but I had to host and the temptation to hide behind the camera would have been too intense. :p

I am beginning to wonder about me, actually. For the last couple of months, I have started to tremble and go blank when I am around too many people. It looks and feels like low blood sugar, but it happens even if I just ate. Time to try an increase in my thyroid tablets, I think.

Jack has lost six teeth at this point...with three of them currently missing. He's starting to have that eight-year-old jack-o-lantern smile. It's adorable, and thankfully, he doesn't seem worried about it. (I was always so self-conscious about the ragged grin that I developed a closed mouth smile that lasted for many years -- Jack seems interested, but not concerned about the teeth-fall. I'm happy about that.

We are pondering getting some chickens this year. With frozen chicken of the quality we want going for $20 a bird, $1 per chick and some processing fees and a bit of supplemental food for 10 weeks is looking like a very rational decision. There are a few tricky things to work out, like how to get the chickens to abattoir, but if we can do that, we'll be getting started in a few weeks.

Misti's 365 Project: Day 53

Misti's 365 Project: Day 52

Misti's 365 Project: Day 51

Misti's 365 Project: Day 50

27 February 2011

Meet the lovely Sarana

My youngest granddaughter, Sara Anna Misti Andersson.
Born 26 February 2011, 3:46am, Stockholm. 3080 grams or 6.79 pounds.

Congratulations, Corey and Marika! She's so very sweet!

25 February 2011

Welcome Sarana!

Sara Anna Misti Anderson made her debut at 3:46 am Stockhom time on February 26, 2011.

Corey told me her weight in grams on the phone last night but I'm afraid I couldn't wrap my mind around a weight in thousands of grams so I don't really know what he said.

Once Mamma or Pappa or Mormor calms down enough to send me the details in writing and a photo, I'll add them here.

Sarana (Grandma's nickname for her) is healthy and serene.

Mamma Marika sounds elated and very happy.

Pappa Corey sounds exhausted and stunned. He evidently got there on time (and clearly Sara wanted her Pappa there, because she waited until he could leave work to be there before she came.)

They were able to call me within an hour after the baby arrived and I got to talk to Marika and Corey for a few minutes.

24 February 2011

It's amazing.

I could have sworn I had posted this picture with a post yesterday morning, but it's nowhere to be seen.

Utterly peculiar.

Anyway, life has been very, very busy over the last couple of weeks. I keep wanting to post, but lately the guys have been getting up with me in the morning and going to bed with me at night, and time to sit and write has been tough to come by.

As you might expect, with life being very busy, there is a lot to say so I hope to get that written down soon -- but the insane pace continues through the weekend and next week. However next weekend looks (for the moment) like it may have slowed down.

I hope you're having fun, too!

22 February 2011

18 February 2011

Misti's 365 Project: Day 44

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Misti's 365 Project: Day 43

Another tie
Rod likes the first one

Jack likes the second one
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Misti's 365 Project: Day 42

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16 February 2011

Non-toxic Personal Care Workshop this weekend

How you can opt out of toxic chemicals for personal care?

We've all been sold on the "need" for a multitude of products to be well groomed. But do you know what you're putting on your skin? Commercial personal care items contains toxic petroleum based chemicals and toxins known to be associated with cancer and other devastating illnesses. Learn how you can stay clean and healthy without poisoning yourself and your family— and save some money, too!

The workshop is free and open to anyone who wants to learn. Come learn with us on Saturday, February 19th, 3pm at Café Ambrosia (326 Maynard).

Time: 19 February · 3:00pm - 6:00
Location: Cafe Ambrosia 326 Maynard Ann Arbor, MI

Ann Arbor Free Skool
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14 February 2011

Happy Lupercalia, everyone!

My darling boys made a *wonderful* surprise for me today. They got me in to work early, and so they picked me up early -- with armsful of flowers! They each got me my favorites...Rod gave me a single, glorious red rose and Jack gave me a bouquet of astrolomeria.

Then, on the spur opf the moment, Rod invited me out to dinner at MediteranO. We'd never been there and other than it having a great reputation in the food sensitivity crowd, we didn't know much about it.

It. Is. Amazing!

It's extremely rare for me to be served a meal in a restaurant that I can't make for myself. Usually better than the restaurant did. Of course, a large part of that is because we don't have a large dining budget, but that was absolutely not the case tonight.

The food is fantasic and the preparation is stellar -- and they have no confusion on the question of gluten. Since everything is made from scratch to order, they know what's in the food and they can adapt the menu to suit. Corn was a bigger problem, but the only really when they put powdered sugar on my creme brulee. Next time, I know to ask for it without. Since I am already have a lot of bone pain from the accident poisoning by vitamin capsule, I didn't bother to send it back this time.

I had salmon, Rod had Sea Bass, and Jack had paella. We were all delighted -- and then we had dessert, and shared tastes. My creme brulee was amazing, Rod's chocolate truffle cake was equally delicious, and Jack's berry sorbet was piquant and very satisfying. Yeah - -three different grain free desserts! Can you believe it? That's why we didn't resist.

We left the restaurant creaking at the seams and Jack has enough food left to last him for three more days! The bill was as high as you'd expect at a place this good -- definitely a special occasion restaurant, but it's so nice to have a special occasion restaurant so close to home!

I'm still not quite getting the effect I am looking for, but I suspect that's a problem with lighting. I've made great strides in getting usable photos in our dimply lit house, so I'm not too unhappy yet -- but I see other people's highly detailed photos and feel a bit dissatisfied with mine. Oh well -- it'll come.

Misti's 365 Project: Day 41

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13 February 2011

Misti's 365 Project: Day 40

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Signs that spring is coming...

Imbolg has passed and the signs of spring are, indeed, picking up speed.

What first brought that home to me was when Jack told Rod that "It's can't be time to get Mamma from work. It's still light!"

But after Rod told me about that, I started noticing other signs:

* box elder beetles are waking up and wandering through the house. Ick. But it's not to the Hitcockian levels of our first year here. We have three more years until that happens again. (Box elder beetles have a nine year cycle and we were just inn time for the high spot.)

* The trees in the distance are slowly, slowly taking on colour s they wake up. No leaves yet, but as the sap starts to run in the waxing light, they are glowing gold and pink in the grey brown distance.

*the frigid winter temperatures are giving way to balmy breezes (from -24C it has gone up, up, up to -1C) and the predictions for this week are warmer still.

My energy is rising and a good purge to get rid of the clothes that no longer fit, the toys that have ceased to be interesting, the papers that seems to leak into our home with the oxygen and everything else that doesn't make day to day life better.

It's not quite mid-February, and we'll see a lot of cold weather yet this winter,. but the signs of spring are unmistakable...and the seed catalogs have become compelling again.

How is it in your corner of the planet?

12 February 2011

Misti's 365 Project: Day 39

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Misti's 365 Project: Day 38

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Blogging this glamourous life of mine...

Mystery solved.

We had been very, very careful for the last couple of weeks. We had eaten in and only from safe, whole foods. I couldn't imagine why I was feeling more and more achy and sore, weaker, and less and less focused and sharp. I was beginning to be afraid that I had an allergy to some else, too. Ick!

Then, a few days ago, I complained to Rod as I got ready for work, and expressed my fear that there might be something else I had to avoid. A few hours later, he called me at work and told me that a second examination of the ingredients had revealed that the new vitamin D we bought a couple of weeks ago has not one but two potentially corny ingredients. Not the usual suspects, but still...that could be the problem. He bought a bottle of our usual vitamins yesterday and now hopefully I can start to feel more human (and blogging regularly) again.

Now, on to the post I have been struggling to write for a week...

A couple of friends of mine (who don't know each other), both of whom I thought knew better, remarked within a few days of each other about our "glamorous" life.

I am puzzled.

Maybe it comes down to the fact that I blog? Maybe they assume that blogging means you have an exciting life to blog about?

I agree that we have a photogenic house. And we do have a pretty good life, but I don't think it's any more glamorous than anyone else's.

Blogging is storytelling. It's based on life, but it isn't a rote listing of facts like a ships log. It is detail embroidered with meaning and placed in an interesting context. Blogging is less about what is happening and more about how you tell the story. I do post bald facts sometimes. Most bloggers do. Usually it means that we're tired, busy, and feeling uninspired. But the bloggers who develop a large following don't usually have a life so exciting that you'd notice the difference from the outside. What really good bloggers have is an exciting internal life. They see patterns in what happens, they infuse the everyday with meaning. They paint a word picture that, if only for a moment, changes our way of looking at the world. Other excellent bloggers share their journey in the form of information they have collected. They make the new idea seem accessible. I am not a great blogger with a huge following, but I do try to learn from the great bloggers I follow.

When I post here at Chez Smiffy, I am posting my word pictures, my own impression based on our real life. But this blog isn't all of our life. I rarely post about the humdrum, and then only if I have something interesting to say about it. Notice how you rarely hear about the unwashed dishes, the perpetually in need of a wash floors, the chaos that regularly descends in the parlour, or my job? I like my job and I enjoy the people there, but the nature of my job is such that it is interesting only within its own context. There just isn't that much insight to be had in endless rounds of audits, ITAILS, and process documentation that would be interesting to anyone who isn't living it. The perpetually in need of a good cleaning aspects of our home are well known to our closest friends, but they're neither terribly unusual nor very interesting.

But canning, gardening, photography, homeschooling and other things that are interesting to us are much better fodder for interesting insights. They won't interest everyone, of course. Our regular 15 readers are our friends from other other aspects of life, a couple of bloggers with similar interest, and a few visitors looking for information about Disney movies based (or not based) on books, information about writing a homeschool curriculum, or information about tuning and maintaining a Hardman Peck mini-piano. I doubt that I will ever develop a big following and that's perfectly fine. Blogging is fun. Fame comes with way too many hassles. :p

Now then, excuse me while I go try and find a photo for my 365 project. We were out late last night and I discovered that my camera batteries were dead when I tried to take some street scenes. I'll catch up today.

11 February 2011

Misti's 365 Project: Day 37

OK, 10% through and now really beginning to see the value. If "I have to taks a photo" every day, I am pushed to try something new. I have at this point taken all the "easy" photos. :p
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09 February 2011

Misti's 365 Project: Day 36

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I do believe spring must be approaching.

I feel another house purge coming on ...
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Valentine's project

Jack has been participating in a Valentine card exchange this year.

Since the exchange is amongst kids whose parents are on a homeschooling chat group, the kids are all over the country (maybe the world, but our group didn't have anyone from outside the US).

The deal was that we would send cards, but also a brief description of where we are from. Jack and I made twenty cards together (I made the card forms and he decorated them) and then we got a large stacks of books about Michigan from the library and Jack poured through them and wrote down all the most interesting facts he found about our state. Then he and Rod made a poster about Michigan, with a map in the background. Just to top it off, Jack had me make some return address labels with a Michigan flag.

That was fun -- but even more interetsing to me is that as each of the cards arrives, Jack is admiring the card briefly, and then pouring over the details about the place the card came from. Having out so much work into his own poster, he seems particularly interested in what other people have to say.

Even better, another Mom on the list has mentioned that her kids have a map of the US and Canada and they're marking the map as each card arrives. I wonder whether Jack would like to do that...
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08 February 2011

One of those days...or weeks?

It's been one of those days for several days in a row.

I have at least three blog posts started and a good idea what I want to say -- but every time I get close to the computer, something more important comes up.

I'm here, I'm thinking about you ... and I'll get busy soon.

In tonight's good news, Jack had only one cavity at his checkup today. None would be ideal, of course, but it beats the four he had six months ago. Evidently he has inherited his Mamma's teeth of chalk.

Good night. I hope to catch up with you very soon.
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Misti's 365 Project: Day 35

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