Friday, June 26

the weeks that were

We'll just pass right by the Big Shake-Up now ok?... move along, nothing to see...

Lots of early morning walks, if we're up and ready by 8:30am. But it's already so hot that I'm thinking I have to be out by 8am! Not easy when sleep is so precious for us.

Wildflower had some time in a kiddie park for the first time.



Her 7th and 8th tooths popped through.

A Facebook quiz told me that South Dakota is my ideal USA state. What does this mean?!

Watched Slumdog Millionaire. Recommended.

Are you a wild gal? Willing to ride a purple bike (literally or metaphorically) with a full heart and wave at strangers? Check on over at Mel's sisterhood. Lovely idea.

The rumours that have been wafting around here for months seem to be true. Pamela Anderson is planning to open up a health/spa centre here in Montenegro. Specifically, about 15 minutes drive from us where the Wildflower was born. Weird.

If you're easily flustered or like to plan, then read Momma Snail's great review of the schoolhouse planner. I'm not a planner myself, preferring the natural flow, but darn this looks great if you are.

Soooo believe in Ruth's phrase "Success comes from doing and working at whatever you love all the time."

Baked lemon cookies and then vanilla cookies. Haven't baked in a long time, being the seasons of heat and all. Non-chore cooking is therapeutic and inspiring and fulfilling for me - I needed it.



The outin-laws are arriving Sunday, to stay for 20 days but with the scariest words known to the visited - OPEN TICKET. *blink*
What with the recent Big Shake-Up that-shall-not-be-mentioned, this is going to be tough. Really tough. It will be a test of our inner strength. But besides that, it will be great to see them and for them to have time with the girl-child.

Thursday, June 25

Thankful Anyway Thursday

It's easy to be thankful for the good stuff, can you be thankful for the not so good?
(as serious or light-hearted as you like)




Crumble, crumble, shift and crumble.
I stand amongst the rubble, looking for anything intact.
At the bottom of the pile.

pic: Ellygator at deviantart


I am thankful anyway because...

"At the bottom is the best soil to sow and grow something new again. In that sense, hitting bottom, while extremely painful, is also the sowing ground"
Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I'm not sowing yet, but my toes are in the soil... feeling....re-connecting...

Let me know (comment) if you've done your own Thankful Anyway and I'll add your link to this post. Grab the button up the top (right click & Save As) and a link back is always nice.

The Tired Mommy Blogspot
Earthenwitch
From Clutter to Shine
My Sacred Home
My World Edenwild

Wednesday, June 24

absence

I've missed blogging. Well, truth be told I've been too preoccupied to think about it. But now that I'm here I realise how it's been missing. It's only been a week and yet it's been the longest I've ever not blogged. I've missed most of all, your posts. I'm doing catch up but will undoubtedly miss something lovely or interesting or important that you had to say.

So why the absence?
Besides the solstice and then the dark moon(hibernation) immediately following...

An enormous shake up of our lives.

I got off the swing.

But we are otherwise alright. I'm here now just to let you all know I haven't gone AWOL. I'll defintely be blogging a Thankful Thursday tomorrow.

The Wildflower and I are off now for our regular head-clearing morning walk....

Thursday, June 18

Thankful Anyway Thursday

It's easy to be thankful for the good stuff, can you be thankful for the not so good?
(as serious or light-hearted as you like)




Solutions aren't always straight-forward.
Years can't be reduced to pros and cons.
I'm not a 'black or white' person.
Is it limbo, is it acceptance?
What am I left with?

photo: fineartamerica

I keep swinging... being thankful anyway.

Let me know (comment) if you've done your own Thankful Anyway and I'll add your link to this post. Grab the button up the top (right click & Save As) and a link back is always nice.

Ordinary Life Magic
The Organic Sister
My World Edenwild

Wednesday, June 17

sometimes you just need to swing

Is it the sense of freedom? Is it the pleasure of the wind rushing through your hair? Is it the motion recalling the womb time? Is it the feeling of letting go, succumbing to nature's flow?

Whatever it is, it brings a suspension of whatever troubles you. Perhaps it is just back and forth, but it feels free, it feels like a reprieve. When no answer comes, no solution, when you feel stuck, sometmes you just need to swing.



Wildflower's first swing time. (poor quality due to vid taken on 'phone)

Saturday, June 13

the week that was... and other bits

After a week of heavy rains and cloudy skies, Summer has hit us full in the face. It's hot, hot, and will get much hotter still.

The Wildflower had a few nights of incredibly restless sleeping and I was a Zombie on Tuesday, not helped by a very irritable (understandbly so) child. Thankfully she slept a lot better Wednesday night. I always seem to be taken to the brink and pulled back just before the leap.

A friend helped me get through the headache-ridden-sleep-deprivation by breaking up our day with a trip to the bayside. The Wildflower was distracted with pebbles and birds. She's not interested in the cool water yet. Well, she is a fire sign afterall.

We heard that DIY Dad's parents will be staying with us for 20 days. They had said 10.. hmmmmmm... sneaky. But we love 'em.
This will be followed by our nieces (19 and 17) a week later for 2 weeks.

The cumin and pepper seedlings are looking good...


DIY Dad got the mould (UK spelling) situation sorted out. Phew!

We're taking walks in the morning along the bay if we're out of bed before 8:30am (rarely) and again in the early evening. It's too hot to venture out during the day.
And the BIG change in this, is that the Wildflower is no longer in a carrier. It didn't feel like such a big deal because I haven't had her in one for a while. I just carry her in my arms. But the heat has made it impossible, and now that she's walking she wants a different experience. So we scored a stroller on loan from friends. She loves it. I missed her face at first and kept bending down to say hi. What a sap!

I'm SO annoyed about the whole UK Home Education review, despite no longer living there. I also wish more American bloggers were just as outraged and blogging about it.

This is long, a film really, worth a look. About our planet. Direct link here.

Thursday, June 11

Thankful Anyway Thursday

It's easy to be thankful for the good stuff, can you be thankful for the not so good?
(as serious or light-hearted as you like)


We got the plaster on the walls of the house! VERY exciting. There's still a ton to do but having the plaster on makes it feel like we're on the last stretch.

And then after the weekend, DIY Dad went up to the house to carry on working and.... found the interior covered in mould.

After the serious mould issues we've had in both apartments we've rented, and trying to do all we can to avoid it in our house (insulation, better materials, etc), there it is, everywhere. EVERYWHERE. He said he was so shocked and dismayed that he felt ill.

What happened was the plasterers sprayed a lot of water on the pva they applied and then the house was closed up for 2 days in really hot weather. I mean, we basically made a house for mould to grow. Horrible. DIY Dad spent the entire day bleaching and scrubbing.


We're thankful anyway because it happened at the start of Summer. If it had happened during the wetter months we might never have got rid of it. This way, we'll keep the house open and the heat will dry everything out.
We're thankful anyway because it's a small disaster as far as possible-new-house-build disasters go.

Let me know (comment) if you've done your own Thankful Anyway and I'll add your link to this post. Grab the button up the top (right click & Save As) and a link back is always nice.

Jumbleberry Jam
My So Called Homeschool
From Clutter to Shine

Wednesday, June 10

awards

Buckeroomama at Mamahood, Among Other Things... was thoughtful enough to share this award with me. Thanks!

It's for being one of the moms who blog that post beautiful pictures/stories of their children.


I'm going to pass this one on to Lisa at My World Edenwild because I adore her portraits and am astonished that she isn't already hugely successful. Ones like this here, and these ones here.

The wonderful Mel over at From Clutter to Shine, has shown off her melons and wants me to show off mine. Sounds fair. Mel, your melons are delicious to gaze upon.

Watermelon Award...for bringing juicy and delicious fare to the eyes of readers everywhere, for providing bountiful food for thought and refreshing ideas....

It's been a while since I passed one on, so I'm going to, as always without obligation.

Bohemian Single Mom - for her tenacious and juicy posts.
Lisa at 5 Orange Potatoes - for her bountiful and prolific ideas.
Jenell at Through the Eye of the Needle - for her thoughtful and authentic posts. (yeah, I know Jenell, you'll just have to accept twice as many melons!)

To follow along precisely - you pass them on to six others, with the appropriate links etc. and share six things that make you happy.

1. getting more than 5 hrs of sleep.
2. discovering yet another wildflower on our land
3. long emails from good friends
4. slow walks along the esplanade
5. good ice-cream
6. shoulder massages

It's Thursday tomorrow, I'll be here for Thankful Anyway.... hope to see ya!

Tuesday, June 9

my last read

Polished off White Teeth by Zadie Smith. you know, I honestly hadn't meant the pun, but I'm geekily amused now that it's there

This was a tough one to review. As I'm trying to keep these reviews brief and free of spoilers, it's also going to be tough to articulate all I feel about it.

Okay, let's start with the good.

After the unimaginative drudgery of The Time Traveler's Wife, White Teeth was a breath of fresh air. This isn't high literature nor poetic prose, but it's good stuff. It flows easily and never feels stilted or contrived. Smith is witty and has a good ear. And the whole 'white teeth' thread is very clever.

Her social observations, especially those concerning immigrants, are astute and very often funny. Although she gets a little in-yer-face with her politics by the end, I don't feel that she ever becomes too heavy-handed.

The characters sizzle. They are alive, fleshy, and nuanced plenty so that you hear their distinct voices and continue hearing them after you've finished.

The story is possibly the most difficult part to review. On the plus side, it has a clever opening and a crazy ending. While the story isn't an epic, it does cover various decades and wildly differing cultures and situations. It's difficult to get bored by any feet dragging. She pushes on.

So, the not so good....

While the characters are fun and memorable, they're not quite well-rounded. And there are a few that dissolve into caricatures (the Chalfen family), which I found surprising given her adept hand at the others. Possibly the biggest niggle I had was that characters that were presented initially as headliners suddenly dissolved into minor ones without rhyme or reason.

By the end, it felt that Smith's ideologies were the real point of it all and that the characters were in part reduced to necessary coatrails on which to hang those ideas. There were inexplicable character turns that just weren't plausible. Some characters were doing things and saying things that didn't support who Smith told as they were earlier in the journey.

Also, I didn't feel emotionally engaged with any of the characters. Some of that has to be the incongruency of the character development. However, while engagement is normally a big point for me, in this novel I let that slip by a little. I accepted that the novel's charm was in its observations. Which to some might just seem self-indulgent on the author's part.

While the story is full of delicious family conflict and personal drama, well, there is little in the way of focused plot. And she does seem to promise one. The sub-'plots' simply tantalise us further. By 2/3's into it, I was beginning to feel that I was being led, not so much round in circles, but rather started on many roads with no clear direction or end. (You could remove the entire FATE thing without a blink!) The structure begins to feel it's going to give way at any moment.
I wasn't concerned that sub-plots were dropped suddenly without warning, as I trusted she was going to pick them up again. But she didn't, and this leaves a reader feeling short-changed. I once went to a dinner party that had about seven courses. The portions were so small that I never got the chance to fully get into any one flavour, and they kept taking the plates away before I had completely finished. White Teeth felt just like that.

I don't know whether Smith lost steam or was rushed by deadlines or was trying to jam too much in one novel or what, but if she had kept a consistency with characters and tied up loose and frayed plot ends, this would have brought the novel up a couple of notches.

Overall then, I do recommend it. It's very insightful and a really good chuckle. There are plenty of small morsels to keep you interested. There are moments of seriously wicked satire. If you're British, born or bred, you'll find even more aha aha yep yep observations.

I checked the book's info and it looks like Smith was just 25 when she wrote this, and it's her debut. Pretty great effort considering. I enjoyed her style enough that I could read something else by her.

Currently reading: Wild Swans : Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

Saturday, June 6

whining

Totally lost my days and Thursday slipped through my fingers, sorry for skipping Thankful Anyway Thursday!

Anyway, whiiiiiiiniiiing...... Man, doesn't it go through a person!

So after our few days of whining last week, I took some time, inbetween the whining and naps, to ponder what it's all about.

Now, as usual for me, I haven't read anything on this yet, to give my intuition a chance. So if you feel my thinking is skewed or you have your own insights, by all means jump in on this.

My first question was, what is whining?

Well, it seems obvious that it's a form of expression, just as crying, screaming and tantrums are ways for children to express themselves.

So I separated these. Briefly....

Crying is the first expression. Nature has built that one in for babies to get results. In older children, crying is sadness and upset.

Tantrums are frustration, anger (based in a fear).

Both are expressing a specific emotion stemming from an immediate need.

Aha!
Whining isn't and doesn't. It seems that whining is somewhere inbetween crying and tantrums. The child isn't exactly sad and isn't quite angry. And the need isn't so immediate.

Whining in words might sound like this:

'I sort of/kind of feel anxious/bored/floundering/a bit sleepy/slightly 'off'/annoyed/impatient/combination but I'm not entirely sure how I feel either'

and

'I sort of/kind of want boob/food/toy/entertainment/cuddles/carry/something but I'm not entirely sure either'

As adults we all have off days. Sometimes even we can't identify so easily why we are off. We might feel a little cranky, irritable, sluggish, apathetic, blue, and so on, for 'no apparent reason'. We either let these moods pass, or if they persist we spend a little time in self-reflection to get to the root of the matter.

Of course, children can't do that. And I think that we have a tendency to demand that children have clear and definable needs and wants when even adults don't always have that clarity.
What do you waaaaaant?! Tell me what you want! we whine back.

What if we changed that question? What if we asked a child under 3, What do you feeeeel!? Tell me what you feel!

*chuckle* Doesn't it make us sound ridiculous?

I also think that whining has possibly the strongest potential to spiral down into a big relationship mess. The parent keeps asking and desperately trying to meet the need, and the child feeling the parent's floundering and stress whines even more.
And if we flounder and fluster around the child, doesn't the child also begin to believe that there's the possibility of a solution? They wait for us to find that solution. So more whining makes the parent search harder and as the parent searches harder but doesn't find a solution the child whines more to help out. Very kind of them really.

So if whining is a sorta-kinda expression, then expecting a clear response to what do you want is misguided. And expecting a clear response to what do you feel is nuts. No?

Why do we ask what do you want anyway?

a) to meet the child's needs
b) to stop the whining

For the first reason, I've considered that already. The want/need is not specific. So the solution can't be specific.

For the second reason, oh boy, we need it to stop for our sanity's sake. But with a young child, we can't explain and discuss yet. I can't say to the Wildflower (13.5 mths old) - sweetie, that voice makes it difficult for mama to hear you, use your normal voice please.
With older children, we can start to direct whining that indicates something specific for the moment, like whining for their juice.

So yes, I can try to meet her needs, and I might succeed to varying degrees. But if the need is not specific, then it's impossble to meet it!

Personally, I think her recent whining has been a combination of tiredness, but not tired enough for a nap, and earliest teething symptoms, so not actually coming through yet.

So how am I dealing with it? Here's what I've got so far.

1) For her: Give her words.

The more words and signs she has for communicating the more whining is reduced.
She whined to be picked up this last week and I told her 'say up', and now, that's what she does. She's whined for almost everything else but hey, one less is one less!

2) For me: Disconnect from the whining

Because I can't meet all the needs, because I can't stop all the whining, then I have to find a way to cope with it. What helped was disconnecting.

This is a tricky one. I'm so focused on being there for her that I'm a little surprised I thought of it and did it.

Disconnect doesn't mean ignore the child. And it doesn't mean disconnect from the child either, that's why it's tricky.
It means accept that I don't and can't have a solution every time.
It means that she owns her whining.
It means understand that the whining is neither personal nor an indication of my parenting.
It means rather than allow the noise to encompass me, overwhelm me, ring through every fibre and cell of my body, recognise that it is a noise 'out there'.

Very similar to the allowing to cry theory, once all her basic needs are met, then I allow her to whine while remaining available if she needs me. For now, that's how she's expressing her undefinable emotions. She has a right to them all.

3) For us: be a place of calm and certainty

Instead of flustering around her, I've let go that I can find a solution. So now I am there for her in my presence. I am uncertain of what she wants, but I am certain that I love her and that I am okay with her undefinable emotions.

Afterall, she is uncertain. Surely I'm not helping by flaffing around being uncertain too?!

This had the effect of shortening her whining! She continued whining throughut the day, but when I sat on the floor and hugged her and picked her up as she requested it, but didn't offer her anything else, she had her whine and then diverted her own attention.

You know what it felt like? Like she was thinking - right, ok, who the heck knows why I feel off, but it's ok, mama thinks it's ok, let's see what that toy does for a bit.

When do children need us to be the most strong and certain?

When they are upset (crying), when they are fearful (tantrums), and when they are uncertain (whining).

Thoughts?


Warning: take me too seriously at your own risk.

"There are no facts, only interpretations."

Nietzsche

Thursday, June 4

the little twins

Part of my child astrology series.

Infant

When I think of Geminis, I think of curious little chatterboxes. They were born to explore and learn and experiment. They are alert very early on, perhaps even from day one! Unlike little centaurs who are on a quest for knowledge, the twin wants to discover, well.... just because. And, unless they have a reserved sign in Mercury, they do a lot of that exploring through talking, and talking some more.

This is the baby that will want lots of stimulating objects. A handful of 'good quality' toys isn't going to satisfy this little one's curiosity. She wants, no, craves, variety. She needs to see new faces and places as well as objects.
However, the little twins don't simply require 'stuff' or disconnected newness, they need interaction. Baby DVDS are not going to provide that. She'll love to hear you talk, sing and recite rhymes. She'll also enjoys hand and feet games.

She's an inquisitive and enthusiastic little person. You won't need to rouse her to become interested in anything, she's there ahead of you. The worst environment you could provide for a Gemini is one that lacked the freedom to explore or follow her own learning whims. Provide many books, textures, and situations. You'll need to be a place of calm for her as her nerves can become easily rattled and over-taxed.

The little twin will likely adore being carried. This gives her maximum interaction and involvement. She will do very well with baby signing - not just learning quickly, but because she desires to communicate so much, it will minimise frustration when she lacks words.


Tuesday, June 2

wind witch

After my post on ionic winds at HM, i wanted to share this story with you...

IN bygone days there was something in Närke the like of which was not to be found elsewhere: it was a witch, named Ysätter-Kaisa. The name Kaisa had been given her because she had a good deal to do with wind and storm – and these wind witches are always so called.

She was no dark, mournful witch, but gay and frolicsome; and what she loved most of all was a gale of wind. As soon as there was wind enough, off she would fly to the Närke plain for a good dance. On days when a whirlwind swept the plain, Ysätter-Kaisa had fun! She would stand right in the whirl and spin round, her long hair flying up among the clouds and the long trail of her robe sweeping the ground, like a dust cloud, while the whole plain lay spread out under her, like a ball-room floor.

Of a morning Ysätter-Kaisa would sit up in some tall pine at the top of a precipice, and look across the plain. If it happened to be winter and she saw many teams on the roads she hurriedly blew up a blizzard, piling the drifts so high that people could barely get back to their homes by evening. If it chanced to be summer and good harvest weather, Ysätter-Kaisa would sit quietly until the first hayricks had been loaded, then down she would come with a couple of heavy showers, which put an end to the work for that day.

It was only too true that she seldom thought of anything else than raising mischief. The charcoal burners up in the Kil mountains hardly dared take a cat-nap, for as soon as she saw an unwatched kiln, she stole up and blew on it until it began to burn in a great flame.

Although Ysätter-Kaisa was fond of all sorts of tantalizing games, there was nothing really bad about her. One could see that she was hardest on those who were quarrelsome, stingy, or wicked; while honest folk and poor little children she would take under her wing. Old people say of her that, once, when Asker church was burning, Ysätter-Kaisa swept through the air, lit amid fire and smoke on the church roof, and averted the disaster.

Then she would laugh wildly and, chattering like a magpie, would rush off, dancing and spinning from one end of the plain to the other. When a Närke man saw her come dragging her dust trail over the plain, he could not help smiling. Provoking and tiresome she certainly was, but she had a merry spirit. It was just as refreshing for the peasants to meet Ysätter-Kaisa as it was for the plain to be lashed by the windstorm.

Nowadays 'tis said that Ysätter-Kaisa is dead and gone, like all other witches, but this one can hardly believe. It is as if someone were to come and tell you that henceforth the air would always be still on the plain, and the wind would never more dance across it with blustering breezes and drenching showers.

excerpted from over here

daughter of the winds

I have a whole bunch of topics I would like to post about, many drafts teasing me.... I'm behind on the child astrology, I was going to write about Gemini today (Monday) but couldn't collect my thoughts. I will. They just kept slipping away...

My mind is scattered, my body is heavy.

I have never given this too much analytic thought, I prefer not to in matters of metaphysics and such. Some things are best left to Mystery, acceptance, things as they are, as they are....

But being a blogger means that you get to analysing ideas because you begin to think in posts.

So I googled weather and mood and pressure and humidity and came up with a few ideas. You see, I don't know the specifics about the weather, but as a sensitive person, as a nature-connected person, I am affected by changes. What I do know is that brewing storms with warm winds are the conditions that cause my scattered feeling.

So, I'll pick this post up again when the winds change, when they stop scattering me, to read and write about ions and barometric pressure.... and moods.

............. much later

It has rained and I'm beginning to feel less scattered.

In my micro culture I am referred to as one of the hijas de los vientos, daughters of the winds.
There are many layers to its meaning, but on a basic level, my soul is connected/aligned with wind.

One of the ways the wind affects me is that a sudden or unexpected warm wind makes me feel scattered and heavy at the same time. In my culture, the belief is that the winds call me to ride with them, so they scatter me making it easier for me to take flight.

Ysätter-Kaisa


The Internet tells me that this scattered feeling, and I despite my aversion to make science the demi-god that too many do I am fascinated, is caused by positive ions in the air. Positive ions make you feel worse for wear. In fact, there have been several studies apparently that found that when the warm winds blew, crime and suicide rates increased.

But still such a small part of the story. I'm going to continue listening to my ancestors, hearing their voices calling, hija de los vientos... although being a mama means waiting, waiting, for the next ride...

I wonder sadly, if those poor souls had been taught the ways of the natural world, if they were guided how to align with it, if our cultures weren't so disconnected from nature - whether those people could have instead, rode the winds....