Thursday, July 31, 2008


Do you have a lot of pictures of yourself at younger ages? I'm fortunate in that respect. As a matter of fact, I have pictures of a lot of people in my possession because I convinced my mother that I could take better care of them than she could because I was a SCRAPBOOKER and she was not. I haven't worked on a scrapbook in three years and the pictures are currently residing in non-acid-free boxes in a closet, exactly like they were in my mom's house. Aren't you all proud?

In any case, it is quite painful fun to go back and look at some of those pictures from the last 40 years. I started out this life as a pretty cute kid, then 1980 showed up and well...some of you were there. You KNOW. I may have to pull some of those pictures out just for kicks, but let's just concentrate on the 1970s for now. MUCH better decade for me. I was blonde without having to pay for it. And my only make up needs were a shmear or two of peanut butter and jelly.

I had my own personal seamstress who kept me clothed in the most delightful dresses. Did I mention that I didn't have to pay for that blonde hair? I'm pretty sure that besides the bangs, it was uncut, too. Strangely enough - I think that's the same haircut I had last fall.

My mom made me this awesome birthday cake for my 8th birthday. I was the envy of the neighborhood girls. Of course, they were all especially envious of my blonde hair. That I got for FREE. (Can you tell I went to the salon over the weekend?)

Of course, even the 1970s had their ups and downs. My school evidently had a "Dress as the Biggest Dork" day. I think I won.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The More Things Change...

My dad sent me a message the other day via Facebook. He had been reading my profile and had to comment on my "Political Views", which I have listed as "Leave me alone and I'll leave you alone."

Here's what he had to say..."Your political views are very nebulous...I happen to know that you are a converted liberal, leaning toward a Goldwater conservative! Especially where your kids are concerned! HA!"

I can understand where he would get this idea, but it isn't really accurate. I am conservative with my kids, but that's not a political conservation. I just don't let them watch certain things on TV and restrict their video game playing and I don't let them say "dang" even though I do. And I'm too young to know what kind of conservative Goldwater was. Dang.

I just can't figure out if I'm a liberal conservative or a conservative liberal. I love voting, but I hate politcal parties. I've voted in every presidential election since I was old enough to vote, and I've gone back and forth between parties. I've never voted a straight party ticket for anything. How can I? I've got Dissociative Identity Disorder when it comes to politics.

I'm a Republicratic Liberalvative.

I believe that everyone should have an opportunity, but that hand-outs are the quickest way to failure. I believe that immigrants should be given a chance in this melting-pot, but they should have to follow the rules and if they don't then they don't get to stay and they don't receive any federal aid.

I believe in the right to bear arms.

I think parents should be responsible for their children and that schools are no place to learn life's lessons. I believe everyone has a right to an education, but that not everyone has a right to pass, just to fulfill a quota. I believe that the "No Child Left Behind" movement has and will continue to make U.S. Education a joke.

I believe we should conserve energy, recycle, plant trees, compost, search out efficient, renewable energy sources (especially solar energy - that helps out Dr. SmartyPants AND the environment!) and that we should open areas to more oil exploration and get our refineries up to snuff.

I believe in God and that the path to Him is through Jesus. I respect your right to disagree. I believe that being a Christian shouldn't make you intolerant of other faiths and shouldn't ever cause anyone to worry what you might think of them. I worry that "Christians" are ruining Christianity. I believe that everyone, regardless of race, creed, religion or sexual orientation, is entitled to respect and love and care. I believe that marriage, by definition, is between a man and a woman.

I believe in pledging allegiance to the flag, apple pie and Chevrolet. I don't currently have a flag (although I'd like one), I don't like eating apple pie, and I drive a Ford. SUV. That gets 16 miles to the gallon. Did I mention I recycle?

I love vegetables. I love meat.

The older I get, the worse all this gets. In high school, I wanted to be a lawyer and I took a trip to Washington DC to see how all the political business was handled so I could strap on my conservative, black-and-white-no-shades-of-gray blinders and get busy helping Reagan turn this country around. When I was in college, I was a liberal, peace-sign wearing, Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund supporting, hippie who just couldn't understand why we can't all just love each other and embrace the great cosmos that is out there, man. It's funny, because that phase also had its black-and-white-no-shades-of-gray blinders, but I just felt a little more self-righteous. Now - well, now everything has gone a few shades of gray (and I don't just mean my hair.)

So, who is the candidate for me? Honestly - I just don't know. There's one that's only 7 years older than me and that just freaks me out because I'm not old enough to run a country. The other one is a decade older than my parents and maybe that's just a little too old? I don't know - somewhere in the middle might be nice. One has too little experience and comes across (to me) as if he believes himself anointed to the kingship. The other is a bit pandering, don't you think? My candidate of choice has been out of the running for a while, now and I'm struggling.

November 4 will be not only election day, but will also mark the 20th year since I cast my first presidential ballot. It will also mark the first time that I was unsure of which candidate would receive my vote. If I could just find a box labeled Demopublic Conserveral, I'd check it and be on my way.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

T minus 30 days and Counting

I awoke this morning with the urge to check my calendar and see exactly how many days were left before I turn 40. I was stunned to see that it is exactly 30. 30 days left of my 30s. 30 days until my 40s. Wow. So - being the compulsive and obsessive industrious person that I am, I have decided to obsess selflessly document the process. 

That does, of course, require a logo.

I don't exactly have a handle on where this particular journey is going to take me, only that it will end up on my birthday with a giant celebration of the 40 years I've been given on this fabulous planet. See - here's the thing...I thought this whole concept would kill me. Turning 40? Good golly - I remember when the characters on thirtysomething seemed ancient. How can I possibly turn 40? But I'm finding this strange sweetness in the years - a marveling of the changes I've seen in the world around me and the ones inside me.

I was talking with Melinda last night and we were joking, as we often do, about our neurotic selves and how everyone else seems to get along just fine without dissecting every last emotion and action and moment and dust mite, while we have to blablablablabla about our angst and foibles and all. It hit me, suddenly, that perhaps we aren't so much neurotic as we are overly truthful. Come on - it can't just be us that are so messed up and confused about how to raise our children, to manage our households and love our husbands even when they pass by that same pair of shoes on the floor 900 times, right? We just have no problem sharing it endlessly on occasion.  

So - what does this have to do with my upcoming 4th decade of life? Absolutely nothing. Just sharing too much information, as we neurotic people are wont to do.  

I hope you'll join me in this last gasp of thirtyness. I'll try to make it interesting so you'll send me lots of presents want to continue reading, but I can't promise anything. I'm no spring chicken, after all.

Baby D

Monday, July 28, 2008

Jelvis Has Left the Building

J in Cade's Cove, originally uploaded by diahn.

In the car today, voices from the backseat (as the stuffed animals they were playing with)

D: (High pitched) Oh, I totally forgot that Elvis was your dad.

J: Thank ya...thank ya very much.

D: So. Why do you have to dress like your dad all the time?

J: (deep, drawling voice) 'Cause that's how you get the women.

Me: (bursting out laughing) What do you do with the women once you get them?

D: (Completely like duh) You marry them.

Oh. Lord. Help me.

People - Lock.  Up.  Your.  Daughters.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thou Shalt Not Mow

It seems so simple.  A machine does all the work.  All I have to do is walk behind it and make sure I'm not destroying any Lego contraptions or super cool Hot Wheels cars.  I can do that.  I usually leave this to Dr. SmartyPants, but sometimes his schedule just doesn't jibe with the grass growth rates and I take it upon myself to intervene.  Like today.

Beautiful day.  Nice to be outside.  Low humidity.  A perfect day for a little mowing, right?

You'd think.

But then, suddenly, the indefatigable Toro just quit.  We bought this mower soon after we bought our first house, 8 1/2 years ago.  It has started on the first or second pull every single time, even given that the spark plug has only been changed twice.  When I started it today, it was purring like a kitten.  Golden man...golden.  Until the long stretch of grass by the back deck.  When it just quit.  On me.  It has gas, I added some.  That is the limit to my working knowledge of the internal combustion engine.  Gas?  Check.  Uhhhh...

So, it sits.  Yard 3/4 mowed.  Waiting for the doc to come home and fix it.  I hope.

I think I'll fold some laundry.

update:  The doc came home, wiggled his magical engineering fingers over the top of it and it started right up.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Upside Down

Upside Down, originally uploaded by diahn.

This is an example of how summer has been in this house. It will surprise many of you to know that during the school year our days are structured and scheduled. We get up at the same time every day, we do the same things at the same time every day, my google calendar beeps little reminders of what is coming next.

This is NOT because I am an innately organized and structured person - no...quite the opposite. If I didn't add reminders in my calendar to vacuum or go to the grocery store or cook supper, those things would likely never happen. I would go to the closet to get out the vacuum cleaner and see a book that I accidentally set down in there the last time I vacuumed and pick it up and read 3 chapters and put it down to get the boys a snack and then wonder what it was I was supposed to be doing today and decide to check my google calendar and get distracted by all those wonderfully well-written and illustrated blogs on google reader and then Dr. SmartyPants would call and say he's on his way home and I'd have to ask him what he wanted to pick up for dinner because I forgot to cook.

No lie. It's happened way too often. Poor man. He is, of course, one of those innately organized people who can't for the life of him imagine how someone can forget to cook supper when you eat supper every single day. How hard can that be?

So, anyhow...this summer all calendars and schedules have gone out the window. It's impossible to take 42 summer vacations and keep to a schedule. But it is starting to wear on me a little. As nice as this free-wheeling, schedule-free life can be, there's something in all of us that craves a little order to the day. So. Order must return. TV watching must cease. Sleeping in late is over. All-day book-reading is a thing of the past.

We'll start tomorrow.

or Thursday. Or maybe on Monday, because it's hard to start a new schedule on a Thursday because then you have the weekend coming up and...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Happy Blogday

Self Portrait with Alcatraz

Three years ago, I decided to try this thing called blogging.  I set out not knowing what I was doing, but that is a pretty familiar place for me - not knowing what I'm doing.  It's been interesting watching the changes over the last three years.  Some months I've blogged heavily, some not at all, and some I probably shouldn't have but did anyway.

I've found friends, both near and far.  Linda is the only one I've met in person (and the only one to take care of my cat for a week...thanks so VERY much) but the others are no less friends, confidants and sources of constant inspiration.

There are days when I'm not sure what kind of blogger I am.  I read art blogs and news blogs and mommy blogs and homeschooling blogs and writer blogs and sometimes I feel like I try to be all of those and end up being none of them.  I've considered having multiple blogs to compartmentalize all those different elements of myself, and actually have one under a nom de plume that maybe I'll tell you about someday (shhh Linda).  But then I think that that's just too complicated and as I am an artist and photographer and reader and writer and mommy and homeschooler then my blog should reflect all of those facets.  

The real question is..."For whom do I blog?"  The answer is not so easy because it depends on the day.  Sometimes I blog for myself, because I have something to say and I need to get it out there.  Sometimes it is because when I see my thoughts or photos or art onscreen it helps me to see what needs to change and what the best way is to change it.  Sometimes I blog because I have seen something amazing or beautiful and I think everyone else needs to see it, too.  Sometimes I blog so that in 20 years my children will be able to see what their mama was like before I got old and gray and stuck in my ways.

So.  If you are a frequent visitor here, thanks for coming by.  I'd love it if you'd all comment and say hello to me someday, even if you generally just lurk.  I'm constantly amazed at how the internet has shrunken our world.  I'm even more constantly amazed at how similar we all are across the globe and across the generations.  

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Golden Gate

I spent half the day yesterday, on my own again. Took a bus to the Golden Gate Park to see the Chihuly exhibit at the de Young museum. VERY nice. I took some pics on my small camera, but I can't upload them here, so when I get back to Tennessee, I'll see if any are good and blog them then.

I was rather manhandled and harrassed by a drunk, quite possibly schizophrenic man on the bus, which really ticked me off for a while, but staring at the sculptures helped tremendously. So did Dr. SmartyPants' arrival when his conferencing was over. We spent a little more time in the other exhibits, had lunch and headed out to the Golden Gate Bridge.

After a couple of strange misdirections and one bus driver who just made a loop and skipped going where the route said he was supposed to go and then stopped at an intersection and said, "END OF THE LINE!" Okay...Anyway...

We found another route to take us there and made it finally. And I got to take this...

Golden Gate Bridge

along with quite a few others. You can check them all out here if you are so inclined.

We're off together today - heading back down to Pier 39 to take a boat ride and go to the aquarium and just be together.

More when I get back...Saturday is a special day...hmmm...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

City by the Bay

San Francisco is a blast - I'm having so much fun! I spent the morning at SFMOMA eyeing their collection and the Frida Kahlo exhibit. THAT was a tortured soul, people. Then I rode a cable car to Fisherman's Wharf and spent the rest of the day exploring there. Dr. SmartyPants joined me when his conferencing was over for the day and we ate dinner overlooking the Pier 39 sea lions, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Oakland. Nice.

Today, I'm off to the de Young Museum for the Dale Chihuly exhibit and plan to explore Golden Gate Park. My legs are aching, my feet hurt, I'm a wee bit sunburned on my face and I'm having SUCH a good time!

Here are some pics for your viewing pleasure...

View slideshow

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008)

I just can't help but smile when I watch this. I don't know why. But try...see if you can

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Independence Day

Independence Day 020, originally uploaded by diahn.

Hoping yours had a little sparkle in it, too...

Friday, July 04, 2008


Perfect Day 5, originally uploaded by diahn.

Happy Independence Day, US peeps.