Sunday, November 30, 2008


Doodlebug in Sunlight

Doodlebug: Why does "ass" mean "butt?"

Me: I don't know why. They just both mean the same thing. We don't say "ass," though. Right?

Doodlebug: Right. I know. I just wondered.

Junebug in Sunlight

Junebug: Well, instead of "but, please," can we say "Ass, please?"

Me: Snicker, glumph, ha hahahaha

Dr. SmartyPants: Hooo haaaa haa ha ha

Me: (Having now recovered from the pre-adolescent meltdown of laughter) No, dear. At least not outside of this house.

So long, November, and thanks for the memories.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Oscar Snout

Do you know how hard it was to find a place to live where we could bring this gray-beard?


But worth it.

We're back in Tennesse right now and the full magnitude of this upcoming move is starting to sink in. I'm making lists and planning and budgeting and panicking and obsessing. It's typical of my life that all major changes must be closely related to Christmas. Not sure why.

I got married 2 weeks after Christmas.

I had my first child 2 days before Christmas.

We sold our second house and had to move out 10 days before Christmas.

Now, we're moving on New Years' Day, a mere week after Christmas.

Because the holidays are not enough to stress a body, you know.

However - we'll make it. We always do. We'll put up our tree tomorrow and hang some lights, although less than I normally do, given how quickly after Christmas we'll be taking it all down. Our Christmas shopping is done already, with the exception of a little candy to fill out the stockings. We'll manage one more camping trip right before Christmas for Doodlebug's birthday.

And then we'll be off on the next great adventure.

I sure hope you'll all come along.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble Gobble.

Hope everyone's Turkey Day has been as full of delicious food and delightful family as mine has been!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I've been hinting at something on the horizon that was exciting and new and exciting and not a baby. I've finally been released to reveal what it is...

Townhouse in Arlington

We're moving.

Kind of.

Dr. SmartyPants is being assigned to a temporary position in Washington, DC, and the boys and I are packing up Ottwork Academy and hitting the road. We're maintaining our current residence, because his posting IS temporary, and we'll be back and forth a lot, mainly because I can't bear to give up my orthodontist.

We found this cute little townhouse in Arlington, just a couple of blocks away from a Metro station, so we'll be super duper mobile and taking some really SWEET field trips. This homeschooling mama is way excited about the possibilities that are set before us. It's also near a park and a library and pretty much anything we could possibly ever need, so our carbon footprint will be much reduced. And our activity level will be much increased. YAY.

January 1 is the official move date, so our December will be chock full of fun and boxes. 2009 will start with a new home, a new job, a new city and a new decade of marriage.

Should be interesting

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Burnin' Up


I'm feeling a little better today, although the source of my stress has not been resolved.  I'm just choosing to let go a little bit.  I'm choosing to revel in the fact that my laundry is done.  I'm choosing to rejoice over the two knitting projects I've finished this week.  I'm choosing to not let my present circumstances overwhelm my present mood.

And all the people at Ottwork Academy rejoiced with a great loud voice.

I'm preparing to go to Alabama to visit the families for Thanksgiving, and I'm choosing to look at my blessings instead of the grasp the beauty that is around me instead of the swirling chaos of life.

Deep breath.





Monday, November 24, 2008


Dead trees on Clingman's Dome


I'd like very much to write something witty or profound or even somewhat amusing, but I'm tapped out. 

Stressed out. 

Maxed out.

Maybe tomorrow.

Aren't you glad you stopped by?

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Dead tree on Clingman's Dome, originally uploaded by diahn.

I don't know why, but these dead trees up on the roof of the Smoky Mountains are both sad and beautiful to me.

Sad for the obvious reasons - it's a terrible thing to see something so majestic has died.

Beautiful in the stark contrast of white trunk against crisp blue sky.

I'm feeling a bit melancholy and introspective the last couple of days. The approaching holidays trigger it a bit, I think - even as much as I know I'll enjoy them. There's always a place that feels a little like this tree. An expectation that I know will always remain unmet. A gash that heals but never quite closes - and can't be closed.

Holidays are hard on those left behind.

Hug your family today, okay?


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Moonrise over Smithsonian Castle

Moonrise over Smithsonian Castle, originally uploaded by diahn.

I'd like to be there right now.

But I'm not.

I'm here.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Things are Looking Up

Ben in Museum

I just never believed I'd having something hanging in a museum.

It's a dream come true.


I'm still sleeping?


Thursday, November 20, 2008


A Light in the Darkness

Okay, people.  November is still kicking my butt.  All over the place.  NaNoWriMo has been a NaNoNoGo, my knitting projects have been, well, difficult and really?  All I want to do is find my sweats, blankey, the corner of my couch and a bag of Dove chocolates.  And Bull Durham.  Over and over.

My kitchen is a mess, the dining room table is covered in piles of school materials, I'M COLD, I'm behind on laundry, there are toys everywhere I look, I'M COLD, I can't turn a freaking heel on a sock I'm trying to knit and I'M COLD.

People are mean and cut me off in traffic.  One lady totally broke in front of me in the line at the store with 900 items to my 1 and was completely lacking remorse.  The economy is tanking, etcetera...etcetera...etcetera.


Yesterday afternoon, I was finishing up some school-related stuff at the aforementioned dining room table, when the doorbell rang.  I saw that it was the UPS man, putting a package by the front door.  I finished what I was doing, as I knew the package didn't require a signature, before I went to the door to get the box.  When I opened the door, the UPS man was still there.

Not waiting for a signature.

He was picking up the pots of dead mums that had fallen over during the night and placing them back on the stand.  As I opened the door, he was just reaching for the doormat, which he then proceeded to shake out over the flower beds, to clean off the dirt and blossoms.

I was rendered near speechless (which is not a common thing).  I stammered out something like, "Y-Y-Y-You are the nicest UPS man.  EVER."

He grinned and looked down, a little embarrassed at having been caught doing his random act of kindness.  He kind of half smiled and said that he knew people liked to keep their front porches neat, and he just liked to help out.  Then, he jumped back onto his shining steed into his brown truck and drove away just as the birds began to sing and the clouds parted and long, glorious rays of light touched the ground on which it had so recently been parked.

And that, my friends, is exactly how it happened.

That's when I understood.

The Darkness can be defeated.

It  just takes a few moments - go out tomorrow with your mission as this:  Find one person today and do something completely out of the blue that is nice and helpful and kind and giving.  Smile.  Ask for nothing in return.  Maybe even try not to get caught doing it.  And if you are, make like its no big deal.

Shove a little light into the dark and see what happens.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Play Misty for Me

Indian Lake

This is my favorite time of day at the lake.  I love watching the morning mist move and undulate over the still, undisturbed waters.  It has its own current - the mist, I mean.  It dances across the lake, as graceful as a ballerina.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

When the Whole World Fits Inside of Your Arms

Family at Bald River Falls

A rare photo of all four of us together, on a recent camping trip.

Look!  It's me!  Right there!  I didn't take this picture!  Weird!

I'm always so glad when someone offers to take our picture together and they actually frame up a nice shot that includes head and feet and never know.  There's always that moment when I hand my precious (preshusss) camera over to a stranger that I think about how many pictures I have on it at the moment, and will this random stranger take off with the whole kit and does my homeowner's insurance cover theft when you voluntarily give the item away?

Am I the only paranoid in the bunch?

In any case, it's nice to have tangible evidence that I do, indeed, exist - and that I did accompany my men on our many camping trips...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Would You Be...My Neighbor?

Would You Be My Neighbor?

It's funny - I was reading Mommy Needs Coffee this morning, and her post really struck a nerve with me.  She said her worlds were colliding - mine are too.  

And, strangely enough, in the same way.

It's all Facebook's fault.

Do you compartmentalize your life, too?  I think that most people probably do.  You have your family in one compartment, work friends in another, maybe your church friends and neighbors are in a couple of other ones.  Then, you have your online friends - and those can even be compartmentalized further - mine are.

I have my art-blogger-friends and my mommy-blogger-friends and my homeschool-blogger-friends and all these old-high-school-chum-friends and so on and so on...

My Google reader window has Dissociative Disorder.

All this to say - my world has both expanded and contracted exponentially since I left home for college.  I now have friends all over the world and those friends can become friends with each other with just a few keystrokes.  For someone like me who has been kind of a loner all my life, it's quite disconcerting.  I start watching the news with a different eye.  I see wildfires in California and immediately worry about Marta and her firefighter-husband Rudy.  There are tsunami in the South Pacific and I wonder if they are affecting Ai and her family.

A hurricane blows into the Texas Gulf Coast and I am immediately concerned about Stefani and Heather.  You see my point?  That's a lot for one OCD hermit to keep track of.

Except that its really good.  I've found friends I've not heard from in over 20 years.  I keep in touch with those that I love dearly and don't see nearly enough (here and here).  I've met new people, and lurked on the edges of a thousand parties, all while soaking in the goodness of it.

It's like one giant neighborhood, and there's a block party all the time.

I like my neighbors.

Do you?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008



They're growing so fast.  Maturing before my very eyes.  I'm so proud of them, but there's this little Mama part of me that wants them to slow down a little and stop it already.

At supper the other night, Doodlebug broached a subject with such maturity and compassion it melted me a little.  It wasn't anything earth shaking - he and Junebug had just been talking about their bedroom decor and wanted to see if they could do something different.  It's been a "Cars" room for about two years - since they were 5 and 7, you know.  No biggie, right?  Here's what got me.  He started the whole conversation by telling me how much they have loved their room, and how the paint on the walls is really cool and they don't want to change that AT ALL - maybe just get some new comforters and could they be Star Wars, please.  At this point, Junebug joined in with his ideas as well - maybe it could be Indiana Jones?

And can we keep Nana's Lightning McQueen wall hanging that she made for us, but maybe hang it in another room.  But keep it.

You see - I worked really hard on getting that room ready for them.  I taped off grids on the walls and painted two different shades of blue with the occasional red square - it's really a cool modern paint job.  And they wanted to make sure that I understood that they liked and APPRECIATED it.  They didn't want to hurt my feelings by suggesting that they change their room.  They didn't want to hurt Nana's feelings by not having their wall hanging in their room.

I was just so proud to see them thinking of someone other than themselves - a hard thing for little kids to do.  I was so proud to think that they had talked it over with each other and had chosen a spokesman for the issue.  I was so proud to think that the spokesman sat down at the dinner table with a clear agenda and a purpose and clearly defined points.  I was so proud that he began with the positives - with affirmations and gratitude - before he proposed a change.  I was so proud that he then gave his little brother a voice and let him propose something different than he had proposed.

We discussed it - with ideas and brainstorming for the rest of our dinner, and after Christmas we'll implement those changes.

But they'll still be my babies, right?

Friday, November 14, 2008


Late Afternoon at Quincy Park

There's something about the light in Autumn that just dazzles me.

It's so warm and golden and juicy, don't you think?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

No Excuses

Sorry for the doom and gloom yesterday.  Let's just blame that on The Darkness, shall we?

Outside the Lines

Thanks for your comments, though.  It's nice to know people think I'm being an okay role model for my kids.  I'm not always sure.  Days like yesterday, I have to ask myself if I'm doing what I should be doing - doing the right thing by my kids.  Am I teaching them enough, giving them enough space to discover things on their own?  I'm full of self-doubt and worry and hand-wringing.

Those are the days I want to break out of the controlled environment in which we live and do something completely outside the box. 

But I rarely do.

Instead, I insist that we finish this one thing.  I insist that that sentence get diagrammed, by golly.  I push and I prod and I cajole and I occasionally resort to threats.  And I don't like it.

I long to be one of those unschoolers who strew learning materials around and watch the wonder and amazement in their children's eyes as they discover something on their own.  I'd love to hand my children a cookbook and tell them to make whatever they like and watch as they perform feats of algebra before my very eyes.  I'd love to wake up in the morning, fling a pile of Legos and string on the ottoman and watch as my children recreate the building of the Golden Gate Bridge. I read unschooling blogs and I envy the flow of their days.

Except for one thing.  Neither I nor my children are capable of such unscheduled days.  Junebug and I are far too competitive and task-oriented, and Doodlebug is too much a dreamer.  It would never work.

Perhaps there is a compromise between school-at-home and unschooling.  Maybe, on days when their eyes glaze over and drift up into their heads, we can put the sentence diagramming aside and paint a picture instead.  Maybe when the multiplication tables have taken their toll on their brains, we can stop everything and go make Lego multiplication problems instead.

Maybe we can take time out to do a little boogie-woogie in the music room.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Bald River Falls

Last night, after supper, we all sat down to watch "When We Left Earth," a multi-part documentary about the space race.  It was the one called, "Ordinary Superman," the first in the series, about the 7 men selected to be the first to sit on the top of a missile and go hurling off into space.  Dr. SmartyPants had DVR'd them a while back and we finally had a chance to see this one.  (He's a total space program geek - it's so cute.)

Anyhow - they show a scene where thousands of people had gathered on Cocoa Beach to watch Alan Shepard become the first American in space.  As the missile goes up, the camera pans across the faces of these folks and shows every range of emotion possible - shock, wonder, fear, amazement - and the voice over of a reporter who was on the scene describes people dropping to their knees to pray for this man as if he were their own son. 

That scene was played out again and again as Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, and Gordon Cooper made their historical flights.  They were greeted, upon their returns, as heroes.  Children wanted to grow up to be like them.  Parents wished their children would grow up to be like them. 

The American public retained this sense of wonder about them.

Now, the American public venerates hotel-heiresses and their couture-wearing accessory dogs.  The nightly news is filled with stories of which celebrity is in rehab or was in rehab or is coming out of rehab or is thinking about maybe possibly going into rehab.  We buy video games that celebrate the wanton destruction of human life.  We idolize football players and basketball players and baseball players more than police officers and firefighters and EMTs.

The whole thing is upside down.

I don't really have a point, by the way.  I'm just frustrated.  I'm frustrated that my boys have no role models equal to the Mercury 7.  No - they have Zach and freakin' Cody.  I hate them.  I'm frustrated that we've become a nation of whiny, entitlement-minded, spoiled brats who can't even begin to imagine what the word "sacrifice" means. 

I'm frustrated because I have never done anything to change that - watching it happen while sitting on my comfortable sofa and complaining that I don't care what Madonna's divorce is all about.


Now I'm going to be in a pissy mood all day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008



Sherron E. Harbison

He was my cousin, but I never knew him.  He died three months before I was born, in a country on the other side of the world. 

And yet.

Standing at the wall, running our fingers down the list of names, tears sprang into my eyes - an instant connection - an instant sorrow and, seriously, an honest-to-God overwhelming urge to find a veteran and give him a big giant hug and sloppy wet kiss for the sacrifices he or she had made.  That's the purpose of the Vietnam Memorial, I think.  To help us remember that, regardless of our politics, the men and women that serve our country in times of war and in times of peace deserve our utmost respect, and our undying gratitude.

There are over 58,000 names on this wall.  58,000 people who gave that "last full measure of devotion" that Lincoln spoke of so eloquently in his Gettysburg address.  And that's just from one war.

There are countless others who served our military and came home, and they deserve our very best.  My father is one of those - he served in the Air Force for 20 years - for the majority of the Cold War and for a great deal of the Vietnam War.  I've been proud of him my whole life.  I loved seeing him in his uniform, the stripes on his shoulders, the crisp blue hat on his head.  He looked like a hero.

Because he is one.

My grandfather was in the Army Air Corps in World War II.  I've never once heard him talk about it.  It wasn't something to brag about, to him.  It was just what you did when your country called on you.  He left my grandmother with her parents and went off to England.  My mother has no memory of him until she was around 3 years old.  I've seen him in his uniform in pictures, and he looked like a hero.

Because he is one.

The men and women who put themselves into the line of fire so that we don't have to are heroes.  Right now, in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are people who have volunteered to fight.  Maybe you don't believe in those wars, but you know what?  What they are doing?  They believe in it.  They are doing it because for them, it's more important to ensure that you have the right to believe whatever the heck you want and express those beliefs without fear of repercussion.   They are there because they believe that the Iraqi people and the Afghan people should be able to live in a country where they can do the same thing.

So today, and every other day, honor your country's veterans.  Tell them thank you.  Shake their hands.  Let them go ahead of you in line.

Treat them like the heroes they are.


Monday, November 10, 2008

How Do We Measure Up?

Measuring Up

It's funny.  The establishing of monuments, that is.  When confronted with such tributes, how can anyone feel they can ever measure up?  As we walked around DC this past weekend, it was constantly tempting to go and see how we physically measured against the monuments.  Here, the boys determined that they were two-and-a-half blocks high.  Not even a blip on the radar.

We walked along the reflecting pool toward the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday and I had a thought.  I wonder what archaeologists in a thousand years will think of our society.  Will they gaze upon the ruins of the Lincoln Memorial and wonder about the great god Lincoln, so high upon his throne of mercy?  Will they wonder about the majestic splendor of Jefferson in his ivory palace? 

What will they think of Washington's soaring, uhhm, monument?

It really makes one wonder how accurate current archaeologists are when determining the origins of ancient monuments, doesn't it?

Regardless, I think we should look to the giants in our history and at least attempt to measure up, don't you?  Isn't that the real power of a memorial - or a monument?  It helps us gaze upward, rather than down - it sets our sights on the possibilities when we live up to our potential.

It reminds us that we can achieve great things when we set our minds on a goal, a purpose...a passion.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Someone's Got the Big Head


But I'd say he deserves it.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


We weren't able to go down into the District until just before sunset yesterday, and BOY did I need a tripod, but I did manage to snap a couple of pictures that came out okay.  This one, in particular, gave me goosebumps.


I know it's not terribly popular these days, but I admit to being a total patriotic geek.  I love my country.  Good or bad, high or low, I still believe in what it stands for, and believe that it can become what the framers intended it to be.  My usual cynicism melts away into idealism when I stand in this place.

Okay.  Enough of my sappy patriotism.  We are heading back to The National Mall in just a little while to do the Smithsonian thing and head down to the Lincoln Memorial (more goosebumps coming), the Vietnam Memorial and World War II Memorial.  The boys are loving riding the Metro - Doodlebug has been studying the maps and I'm pretty sure he has it all figured out already.

Junebug just wants to stop walking, already.

I'm looking into Segways...


Friday, November 07, 2008

Jump In

I'm driving north on Interstate 81 RIGHT NOW.  Okay - I'm not driving, I'm riding, but still.  We just passed Virginia mile marker 247.  How flippin' cool is that?  I love technology.  I've got my BlackBerry hooked up to my laptop and life is gooooood.  The Shenandoah Valley is beautiful in the morning - mist rising up off the valley floor, mountains rising even farther.  Aaaah.

Okay - enough of my ramblings.  We're on our way to DC, so expect some photos from there soon.  For now, though, I give you this idiot...

Fool 1

We were in the Smokies back in early October when we came across this guy and his girlfriend taking a dip.  The funniest thing about it was that SHE went first and told him he was being a baby.  He finally jumped, and came up okay.  The whole time, Doodlebug kept saying, "Mama - that doesn't seem very safe," while Junebug looked on with more interest.  I really couldn't say much.  I've jumped off cliffs before.

I don't do it so much anymore.  Cliff-diving, that is.  I kind of stopped when I had kids.  Now, I take the easier roads and stick to the flatlands and well back from the edge, usually gripping the shirt of a child and saying, "Not too close, honey.  Be careful, love." 

Except that some situations require cliff-jumping, now don't they?  Sometimes you have to hold your nose and jump into the air and hope and pray your bikini top doesn't come flying off when you hit the water.  That's kind of where Dr. SmartyPants and I are right now - perched at the edge of the cliff, ready to jump in.  Only this time, we're holding the hands of two small boys, one of whom is clinging with all his might to the safety of what he knows, the other of whom is eager and ready to go - and a little "why don't you just let me do it already?"

I'm ready to jump in.

If I can just pry Doodlebug's fingers off the rock face...

Mile Marker 275...out.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Bridging the Gap


I just can't tell you how glad I am this election is over.  It just seemed to get uglier and uglier until I couldn't stand to turn on the news anymore.  It's disheartening to see otherwise upstanding people dig so deeply into their hidden stores of bitterness and fling it out onto the American public.  There was one race in our local politics that was so petty and backbiting, it made me want to go out and find the two candidates and make them stand in a public space and yell nice things at each other, like I sometimes have to do with my boys.

"I like your hair!  You're a really great Lego builder!  You don't stink!"

That'd teach 'em.

Anyhow - in any election, someone wins and someone loses.  That's how it works.  And I love that it does work.  Regardless of whether your candidate won or not, the process of election - of democracy - prevailed once again and a new day has dawned.  A day that many Americans never thought would happen - a day when the phrase "All Men are Created Equal," reaches a potential never before seen in our country. 

And that's a fine bridge to cross.

Maybe your guy didn't win.  Honestly, mine didn't.  Mine never made it out of the primaries.  Maybe the person for whom you voted didn't win, but you know what? 

In 70-something days, you'll have a new president. 

And it's time to stop the poo-flinging and get back to the business of America.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Woman Who Posts Here is Loony

Market Square, Knoxville, TN

I was downtown in Market Square last month and happened to look up and see this sign in one of the apartments.  It made me wonder.  Does the man who lives there KNOW this is in his window?  Did he put it there himself, or was it placed there by some friends who were giving him a hard time? 

Is it meant to ward off home invasions?

My favorite part about it is that whoever painted it ran out of room on the last word and just decided to go with the half "Y".  If that wasn't an "ah, what the hell" moment, I don't know what is.

Anyhow, I'm feeling a bit loony, too.  Let's just count what I have going on this month, shall we?  Bear in mind, please that the majority of what I'm talking about is self-induced.

  1. NaBloPoMo - a post a day, in my case featuring photography and a little writing.  Not too bad - I've got kajillions of photographs and I spend the majority of my days with children whose main method of communication involves gun and car noises, so I have a lot of grown up words to get out every day.
  2. NaNoWriMo - a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  Okay - a little more pressure.  Again - all those grown up words help a lot, as does my need to curse occasionally, so my main character has a bit of a potty mouth.  I'm finding that to be quite therapeutic.
  3. Travel - Washington, DC this weekend, Alabama at the end of the month for Thanksgiving, and we're thinking about going to Asheville next weekend to see the Christmas lights at the Biltmore estate.  We also had my folks in over this past weekend to see the boys' recital.
  4. Homeschooling - Yep, it doesn't stop just because I'm over-extended.  Multiplication tables, anyone?  Hey - when was the last time you diagrammed a sentence?  Lucky for them, I excelled at sentence diagramming when I was in school.  I just adore prepositional phrases.
  5. Knitting up some Christmas gifts - yep.  It's true.  I'm just that stupid.
  6. Planning for the big thing that's coming up that I'm not talking about yet for fear that I will completely jinx it but that is just killing me to not talk about.  DANG.  And no, I repeat, I am not pregnant.  Because I would be talking about that.  In between tears and shots of tequila.  Just kidding.  Kind of.
  7. Cleaning out the pigsty that is currently my sons' room.  Lord.
  8. All the usual stuff that women do on a daily basis.  I mean, come on.  Are we the most overworked people in the world, or what?  Where's my union rep?


Anyhow - I'm not complaining about any of this.  I'm actually loving it - that's what makes me loony, I suppose.  It is always amazing to me how much I can pack into a day and manage to accomplish.  It always seems that the more I have to do, the better I function.

It helps to ward off The Darkness.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008



They've just got to show off, don't they?

We came across this pair of very young bucks at Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park  last month.  They were showing off, getting a little practice in, trying to impress the ladies.  Of course, when they lifted their heads, they had the tiniest little antlers - maybe 4 points each.  They weren't impressing anyone.

Except the throngs of human admirers, watching this marvelous display. 

My only regret on this day was that my lens wasn't long enough.

Hey - don't forget to vote, okay?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Monkey Music

I tried to embed this video over at the Hoedown, but it wouldn't let me, so I'm embedding it here, by golly...

Childbloom Guitar Recital from Diahn Ott on Vimeo.

The Fire

Okay. So. Sorry for the whiny darkness post yesterday. I'm feeling more like myself today, even though it was dark at like, noon or something.


Today is a new day.

And there are still a few leaves left on the trees that look like this.

Sort of God's way of negating the darkness, I think.

My parents were here over the weekend. The boys had their first guitar recital yesterday evening and they were wonderful. It was an ensemble performance of about 50 beginning students and Doodlebug and Junebug just looked so poised and confident. I've got video, but it is in post-production right now, and the studio thinks it will be released in time for Christmas.

Or maybe I'll get it up on the Monkey Mama Hoedown today sometime.

With the folks here, I didn't get to write yesterday, but I knew that was going to happen and I've got it all figured out on how to catch up. Can anyone say Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Oh yes.

There will be much typing today.

Good thing there are leftovers in the fridge...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Darkness


Last night the darkness came. I hate the darkness.

When I was a kid, I loved it - the event of it - because I got an extra hour to sleep or to stay out past my curfew on the technicality that it was really 1 am at 2 am.

I'm sneaky like that.

My darling Dr. SmartyPants and I jokingly refer to it as The Darkness - the end of Daylight Savings Time - that time of year when you wake up and it is dark and before you can say "wow what a pretty sunrise," you realize that was the sunset. And I really do hate it. No joking in that.

One of the reasons we joke about it is to remind ourselves that it is coming and to stay on top of my accompanying depression. I suffer from a self-diagnosed case of seasonal affective disorder. As long as we are in Daylight Savings Time, I am a mostly happy, life-enjoying, energetic person. When The Darkness descends - all bets are off. I become grumpy, cynical and dull. I have trouble doing basic things like showering or remembering to cook supper for my family. I have a tendency to go on auto pilot and function more like an automaton than a person. Two years ago it hit the highest (or lowest) point that I could ever remember and I finally decided to tell Dr. SmartyPants about it.

Yep. I had never told anyone that every year for four months out of 12, I am often depressed. But now I have. And that's very good.

Last year was better. I remembered to go outside more. I sat by my south-facing kitchen window and soaked up whatever sunlight I could when it was too cold to go out. I talked about it with some other people and they said they understood. Some even went through the same things I had gone through and I realized that I was not alone.

So. The Darkness is here. And I think it is going to be okay.

But I still hate it.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

November Dawning

Well - here we go! Off on the NaBloPoMo-NaNoWriMo CRAZINESS.

It's funny. Last year, I had a nice list of all the photos I was going to post, along with a thought or two that I could develop into a nice long post, all written down on a legal pad, organized down to the day. (There's that pesky OCD again.) I had a separate legal pad with all my novel stuff in it - character names, dates of events, etc.

This year - not so much. I have a notebook, of course, to keep track of the novel stuff, but I've not given any thought to the daily blog post, yet. I have some pictures set aside, but they are not organized and I haven't given any thought to what I would write in relation to those pictures. It's a bit more of an organic process this year.

The reason? It's because I've overcome all of my control issues, of course! I'm free! I'm FREE!

Ahem. Excuse my big fat lying mouth. Just wishful thinking, I guess.

The real reason probably has more to do with changing to full-time homeschooling and all the planning and time that needs. November has just kind of jumped out of the dark and scared the crap out of me. BOO! So - I'll go with the flow.

I started my book. I'm up to almost 700 1700 words after just a couple of often-interrupted hours. I'm posting my first post and there is a photo to go with it. I'll probably have a little time today before my parents get here to plan a day or two in advance and maybe I'll even start my next knitting project. I find that knitting makes my brain come up with all sorts of wonderful ideas - it quiets all the controlling ugly parts that tell me I'll never get it all done.

So - welcome to my November.

And please excuse the mess...