This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings


#NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month

Okay, BlogHer, I’m in!

What a great month for National Blog Posting Month! November is a little crazy, but not crazy like December. There’s so much to talk about in November, well, for me anyway. I love this little semi-pause between chaos of back to school through Halloween, and the holidays. The weather is firmly NOT summer, and I feel like I’m fully into the most productive season of my year.

Can I do it? Can I actually blog every day for a month? That’s the challenge I’m setting for myself. I always feel like I have so much to say but I shouldn’t bother until it’s all put together in some totally rational (well, okay, semi-rational) form. Maybe I’ll get better at that if I do it every day for a month. Maybe I’ll just ramble and run off all my followers, few as they are. I guess we’ll see, won’t we.

So, it being November 1, All Saints’ Day, I’d like to start by telling you about the wonderful, healthy, nutritious breakfast my children ate this morning. I’d like to, but I cannot. Not one person under age of 11 has eaten anything but candy so far today, and it’s almost noon. AND, they’re all glued to the screens in the basement. PlayStation, Kindle, and PC are all going strong. But, after a few weeks of video game ban, and my refusal to buy Halloween candy in advance because it gets eaten, I suppose they deserve their little party. Daddy will be enforcing a basement clean up party in the afternoon, anyway.

Halloween was a success, and even this Grinch had a good time. Girlie and her friends had a ball. Pending approval of the other parents, I’ll share a picture at some point. Middle Bird had a lot of fun trick-or-treating, especially after they ditched the little guy and Daddy showed him how to really cover ground. I think the total candy haul in this house is a little ridiculous. The Baby Bird headed out as Buzz Lightyear, but ditched the wings this time. There was just no talking him into it. He still did quite well with his candy haul. I’m not doing a lot of candy monitoring around here. Frankly, I’m hoping they will either burn out, or get rid of it quickly! Myself, I’ve had my fill. I was a bit gluttonous last night and this morning’s sprouted wheat toast with hard boiled egg and sliced tomato was just what my body was screaming for!

wpid-20141101_115000.jpgGiven that the house is bursting with candy, it’s naturally time for me to get back to eating a little better, right? Yeah. The Paleo Experiment of last winter was very successful, and though I don’t think I need to be quite so strict about it, I think I’ll be leaning that way for a while. I felt really good, and I want some more of that! I finally got around to replacing the food processor attachment to the Cuisinart, and I invested in a mandolin slicer and a spiral slicer. The plan is to cut out almost all grain, sprouted wheat being one exception, a lot of dairy, most sugar, and generally avoid all processed foods. It’s not a diet, just a style shift in what I eat. I’m not going to beat myself up if I decide that I just HAVE to have one of the fabulous apple cookies my mother only makes at this time of year. For now, I’m off to the store for more jars. I’m going to roast a chicken to day and get the broth going, plus I want to give a shot to making fig apple butter in the crock pot. Surely I’ll be blogging about that tomorrow, right?


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Laundry, dishes, and dust

Thought I was gone for good, didn’t you?  Ahh, never underestimate my ability to drop and then restart any form of journaling!  Yes, I had grand plans for the things I would write about during this long break between school terms, but it somehow just didn’t happen.  I’d look at the computer and think about sitting down to the keyboard and it just seemed like the last thing in the world I wanted to do.  I’d wonder what I could tell you, and nothing came to mind.  So a day would pass and pretty soon a week, and now almost two months.  And it’s not like I feel I have so much to tell you today, but somehow it feels right to be sitting here typing.  At least I can babble a while.  I won’t be offended if you’ve already closed the page.

photo (1)photoI could write for two hours about what we’ve been up to since I last posted, but most of it is pretty boring, and pretty standard.  School ended for the kids.  Girlie finished the year with strong grades, Middle Bird’s were better than last term.  I’ve lost a tiny bit more weight and I’m still working on it.  Daddy Bird and I went to Florida to visit one of my best friends for her Fortieth Birthday and found out we like visiting South Florida, but love living in Ohio.   Baby Bird has peed in the potty a bunch of times but with no regularity and has still never pooped there.  The weather is warmer and both kids are playing ball.  It’s Girlie’s second year at softball and she’s not the star of the team by any stretch, but she’s getting better and she seems to love it.  Middle Bird has never played before so he’s getting a tough dose of reality since most of the boys have a year or more experience.  I think he thought he would just decide to be great and it would come naturally.  Not so much.  But he’s still enthusiastic and I’m really proud of him for keeping that up.  He’ll get better.

/net/brutus/hsm/dept/mktg/nemo/PersonalityPoses/Dory/ncr_dory.per8.34.tifLife goes on, you know?  I do the laundry and it piles up again.  I empty the dishwasher (or Daddy Bird does, he’s good at that chore!) and it just fills up again.  I vacuum and watch the dust settle again.  It all feels like swimming against the current a little bit.  But we have to keep swimming.  Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!  Just keep swimming.  Thanks, Dory.  Heading into the summer of chaos and freestyle stroking at full speed into the fray, I’ll just keep swimming.

Got an email from one of my two professors for next term yesterday.  I love that she’s in communication a full WEEK before the start of classes.  She included the textbook information and I was able to put it on reserve at the Worthington Library.  I’m the only requester so far, so maybe I won’t have to buy it at all!  She also included a big explanation of the 8 week course with the same curriculum as the 15 week course and how we should plan carefully to get it all done.  Phew, good thing it’s the only thing I have to worry about for the next eight weeks, right?  Oh, wait!  There’s that other class, and these three kids and the damn laundry, dishes, and dust.  Whatever.  It will get done.  Or it won’t.  Priorities will be set and corners will be cut.  This is just the way it is.  As long as everyone is fed and safe, it’s all good.

Did I tell you I got the A last term?  Yeah, that’s right.  It’s just one class, but so far I’ve got the 4.0.  Somehow I just can’t let that go.  I will be crushed if I don’t keep that.  Wish me luck.  Sure, it’s going to take me busting my ass, but it’s going to take a bit of luck, too.

I have some theological things floating around in my head that I want to write about.  I don’t know how to phrase the questions I’m trying to answer, yet, so I guess I can’t write about them just yet.  It’s coming, though.  Might help if someone asks about them later.

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Rambling Bird

Here we are on Thursday again.  I really have not given my homework an appropriate amount of attention this week, either.  The Baby Bird stayed at Grandma’s last night, so I’m enjoying some bonus alone time this morning.  As soon as I get the laundry caught up and the kitchen wiped down, I’ll probably get on the homework thing.  Oops, there goes the dryer.  Be right back.

So, what shall I tell you about today?  I’m not feeling terribly inspired, but I feel like I should push through and come up with something.  I’m already losing you, aren’t I?

Ahh, the Ten o'Clock bird!

Ahh, the Ten o’Clock bird!

Okay, here’s something.  We have  New Pope!  Well, I don’t, not being Catholic and all, but the world does.  He seems like a really nice guy.  An excellent choice, by all accounts.  Now, I did see a few tweets and Facebook postings yesterday about how he is against gay marriage and not pro-choice with regards to abortion or even contraception, but I’m not sure what those folks were expecting.  Those 115 cardinals weren’t going to lock themselves into the Sistine Chapel and elect themselves a liberal Democrat as pope.  I mean, they had to pick one of their own and it turns out that they are all Catholic Cardinals.  All that said, Pope Francis has a wonderful warm smile, and seems to have a very gentle and humble way about him.  I look forward to seeing where he will steer the church.

Hey, it’s almost 10:00.  I do love the Ten o’Clock bird.  Long ago we let the battery die on the sounds, mostly because it freaks people out, but I still remember how sweet the white-throated sparrow sounded.

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Ahh, The Weekend

Of course, I don’t get the weekend I used to.  It’s not down time, anyway.  They’re all here all day, wanting three meals, or at least two, and snacks, and changing clothes, and tracking in mud, and fighting, and laughing so loudly, and just filling the house with chaos.  I’m starting to sound like I have a low tolerance for chaos, aren’t I?  Not really.  I just have VERY chaotic children.  And my poor husband, well, he does have a low tolerance for chaos and he’s here all day on Saturday, too.

But the main reason I don’t get a weekend is that my weekly school work is due on Sunday at midnight.  And though the house is hoppin’ all day on Saturday, the co-parent is also around, and he can at least run some level of interference.  I always try to get some work done during the week, but the bulk of it is usually not complete by Saturday morning.  So I sit at the kitchen table and try to work.  Or on the bed, or in the dining room, or sometimes on the living room sofa.  There’s no good place, but whatever.  It gets done.  This week I got enough done during the week to take the pressure off.  Well, mostly because of last night’s lack of excitement, I guess.  Today there was time for cooking dinner, and a few loads of laundry.  And I took down the end of the Christmas stuff.  It was just a couple snowman things that were more “winter” than “merry.”  It’s time to put up the spring stuff.  I drug some bunnies up from the basement, and they make me smile.

Just a little spring to replace the snowmen.

Just a little spring to replace the snowmen.

But it will be Monday morning when they all trot off in their various directions that I will get my break.  The bigs at school, and Daddy Bird on the way with the little guy to preschool and on to work, I will have the house to myself by 8:30.  It won’t last long.  I’ll have to leave here by 10:45 to pick up Baby Bird.  If I don’t have any errands to run, and I’m not due for a shower, I might get just over two hours to do nothing.  Of course, I don’t do nothing.  Who can do nothing?  I’m not saying I always use that time wisely, or that I am remotely productive, but I just know it always seems to be over before I really get done what I wanted to do. More often than not, I spend half the time on the phone with my mother.  By Wednesday when Baby Bird heads back to preschool, I’ll feel like I should get some school work done, so I’ll spend the time on the computer, probably writing a blog entry or facebooking.  And by Friday, I’ll likely spend at least some of the time on actual school work.  But Monday?  I don’t know what happens to Monday.  And I don’t have to know.  It’s the only time I am allowed to be completely unaccountable   It’s like my whole weekend rolled into two hours and fifteen minutes each week.  Ironically, it’s the same time block that the rest of the world spends complaining about the end of their weekend.

Better supervise a bit of this bedtime thing.  It’s the beginning of Daylight Savings Time tonight.  Turn your clocks back and tune in tomorrow for my lengthy rant on THAT!


The Back Half of the Week

Here are some of my blessings.  My family, together to celebrate my husband's birthday in February.

Here are some of my blessings. My family, together to celebrate my husband’s birthday in February.

I mentioned Chaos Thursday yesterday.  Nobody asked, but I thought it deserved a little more explanation.  Thursday night is choir and handbell practice.  I like to participate in both.  I grew up singing in the church and school choirs, and during those times in my life when I was unable to fit it in, I have really missed it.  I’m no star, and both groups would likely go on just fine if I couldn’t make it, but I get a lot out of it.  I would hate to give it up.  But kids really make it difficult.  Back when the big birdie kids were very small, I just couldn’t work it out.  Daddy Bird has commitments on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and just can’t get home in time for the switch off.  One year we tried taking them to the church for rehearsal and having Daddy pick them up there.  There was only about 20 minutes they were relatively unsupervised, but my kids are, well, high energy kids.  There wasn’t a whole lot of actual handbell rehearsing getting done until the kids were out of there.

So I didn’t get to make my joyful noises for the delight of the congregation for several years.  That was a shame for the unintended consequence of our more infrequent attendance, as well.  Then my parents realized we weren’t going to leave our comfortable church home and join the church they’d chosen when they moved back to the area, despite the fact that it is almost literally across the street from us in our new home.  So, three years ago Mom and Dad joined our church just as we were building a wonderful new sanctuary, hiring a very talented organist, and installing a fancy expensive organ.  And guess what?  Dad needs to be part of a choir, too.  It’s part of who he is, so Holy Trinity gained a new baritone (or bass, or tenor, whatever we need).  My brother sings tenor, so he joined us as well.  BAM!  A choir of 20 or so grows by three!

But that doesn’t solve the Thursday night problem.  How do I get to practice while the kiddies (now three of them) get supervised, fed, bathed, and bedded?  Enter Grandma!  So, Chaos Thursday was born.  On Thursdays my parents come to my house around 2:30 PM.  We make dinner together, Grandpa picks up the big kids from school.  We spend the afternoon together.  There are after school snacks to be served, homework to be done, piano lessons to be practiced.  The Baby Bird is thrilled with all these playmates, and insists that both grandparents play at least four rounds of hide-n-seek.  Each.  Grandma almost always brings brownies, or cupcakes, or cookies, or some other nonsense.  At 5:00, my brother shows up for his free meal, and we eat.  We miss the Daddy Bird, but we eat together as one big family.  It’s wonderful and stressful and a little frightening.

Then at 6:00, my dad and I take off for handbells.  My brother helps entertain the big kids while my mom cleans the kitchen and gets the little fellow bathed and ready for bed.  Brother joins us in time for choir.  Daddy Bird makes it home around 7:30 to take over homework checking and putting the bigs to bed.  My dad drops me at home around 9:00 and the house is picked up, the kids are in bed, or close to it, and all is well.

I think the chaos of the afternoon and dinner are part of the fun, but I’m always glad to leave.  My mother swears the children all turn into peaceful sweet angels the minute I walk out the door, but she’s Grandma and her reports are suspect.  Handbell and choir practices, with all grown-ups, seem like a mini-vacation every week.  And I’m committed to show up most Sundays, family in tow.  Grandma helps out again by sitting with them during the service.

Now it’s Friday.  The little guy is at preschool, which he attends on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.  I have my usual homework due on Sunday night at midnight, but I’ve only barely begun it, as usual.  So after school today I will hustle the kids home from school and separate them.  No homework for them means one can play video games (please, please hold it together at school today, Middle Bird, so I don’t have to take them away for the afternoon!), one can read to her heart’s content, and the Baby Bird will be bribed with marginally appropriate television, juice, and Girl Scout cookies.

Chaos Thursday, with any luck, is followed by Semi-Peaceful Friday.  With LUCK!  Wish me luck.