Friday, January 29, 2010

Households and the Mother of Invention: Part 1

As most who know us are already aware, my little family is split between two cities right now.  Weekdays find Jason in Klamath Falls, working hard Monday through Friday afternoon when he braves the winter pass to head home for the weekends.

Siennalee and I spend our days in our Albany home and, about one week a month, travel down with Jason to stay that week with him in our little apartment in K Falls.

Visiting is one thing.  Living is a whole ‘nother ballgame.  Essentially, we now have two households.

Our first household is our charming house in Albany, completely outfitted with the comfortable, the familiar and the cherished things we’ve put together through our years as a family.  Our second household is the cozy little two-bedroom apartment in Klamath Falls, more like a duplex than an apartment, and about 5 minutes away from the main JELD-WEN campus.  Jason can walk to work.  He loves that.

We are attempting to run two households without the expense of two households.  Anyone who has attempted to do this is now nodding knowingly at their computer screen.  It’s not a job for the faint hearted.

Our K Falls apartment is virtually bare.  I’ve managed to finagle a few things down to make it a little homier.  I’ve picked up a couple things at Goodwill.  Siennalee and I have created artwork for the bare walls.  And then there is the great migration of household items that travel down with us each month for our week in Klamath.  Picture Charlton Heston leading the Israelites out of Egypt in the Ten Commandments.  Yeah, like that.  Only Jason doesn’t normally do the whole head-to-toe robes thing, we have an Infiniti instead of a camel, and we’re not too worried about any Egyptians/Albanites pursuing us with spears, chariots and evil intent.

Every so often, my Week-in-Klamath-Falls Migration Planning has holes.  Case in point – tonight’s dinner.  Cuban black bean soup.  Quite tasty.  Klamath Falls caveat: one must have a can *opener* in order to access the black beans in the *cans* of black beans.

Solution #1: wine opener’s beer bottle opening feature.
Solution #1 failure: the opener was meant to pry, not pierce.

Solution #2: hammer and knife.
Solution #2 failure: knives don’t care to be pounded.  They pierce, but only in one area.  And they can get really nasty when angered.

Solution #3: hammer’s claw end.
Solution #3 success: the claw is sharp enough to pierce and deft enough to pound over and over again in a little line of piercings.  Then the claw is able to – very carefully – pull up the newly-pierced jagged strip of can metal so the little bean gems can be accessed.

The cans fought back, but you can see who won - eventually.

Man, nobody messes with The Claw.

 I have a new found respect for the saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Meet Me at the Pole

It’s been one of those melancholy, slightly-off days.  Odd little things happened, which by themselves weren’t a big deal, but together they grew to kinda be a cloud in my sunny sky.  Days like today make me think about running.

I’m not a runner.  I never have been.  Three out of four years of high school found me going out for track (mostly for social reasons. Okay, purely for social reasons) and although I “specialized” in field (honestly, “specialized” is so wrong, it should’ve been I “sub-par’d”), I still had to run in practice.  And I was not a runner. 

My track coach was a monster.  A real live monster.  And a runner.  He was a running monster.  He’d run and run and run until we found him puking his guts out in the bushes alongside whatever country road he had dragged us out to to runHe was not empathetic to my non-runner plight.

So I did what any good non-running girl would do in my position.  I cried.  I cried and cried and cried.  (Bonus fact:  he was also my Algebra teacher and I cried for every Algebra test he gave me.  What can I say; I preferred not to do numbers.  Or to run.)  But I still ran.  I ran and cried.  I got pretty good at it.  But still not good enough to place at any meet, of course.  Even if they had an event that incorporated running and crying, I’d still not have placed.  I’m just not a runner.  I do, however, seem to be an excellent crier.  

My track coach, aside from being a running monster, was a brilliant youth pastor (yes, he was all-purpose.  We went to a small school, okay?) and he used to incorporate life lessons into everything we did.  Ignoring my tears and choking sobs, he’d run alongside me and say, “See that telephone pole?  Just up there?  All you have to do is make it to that pole.”  Then the pole would come, and just before we reached it he’d say, “Now see that green mailbox?  Right there?  Now just make it to that green mailbox.”  He’d continue this until we reached our goal, which was usually like a block.  (He was no dummy; he knew what he was working with.

But he did succeed in part; he imparted to me an important life lesson.  A running life lesson which I’ve incorporated into many a season of life: if I can’t see the end, or I can’t see ever even making it to the end, or I can’t see what the end even is, I can at least make it to the next telephone poleThen the next green mailbox.

I used that running lesson to make it through the rest of high school.  I used that running lesson to make it after I quit college, broke up with a long-time boyfriend, and entered the workforce world.  I used that running lesson when Jason was activated with his Navy Reserve Unit and sent to Kuwait for the first year of our daughter’s life.  I picked a “telephone pole” – a holiday, an event, a visit, an appointment and told myself just to make it to that one.  Then, just before that one arrived, I’d find another landmark to reach. 

I’m incorporating that running life lesson now.  My next “telephone pole”: I’m big on holidays.  You can bet I know just what I’m going to make for Jason for Valentine’s Day.  Once I’m within shouting distance of the Happy Hearts Day, you can bet I’ll have picked another landmark to head toward.  I don’t know when this particular leg of the race I’m in will end, or how.  I just know that I’ll be making sure to have that next telephone pole in sight. 

And after that, the next green mailbox.  Some seasons of life are just a marathon.  I may not be a runner, but I know how to runEven if I have to cry a little along the way.

Dance Class!

Our little girl has always been active.  We knew right away that we'd want to make sure an activity was always available to her.  When music class ended a year ago, Jason and I kept our eye out for a new something that would be just right for Siennalee.  And now here it is: dance class!  One hour, once a week, it's actually a mix of beginner ballet, tumbling, and some dance.  Our first class was last week and Siennalee was so excited.

She got a tutu for her birthday from Auntie Anne, Uncle Paul and the Cousins and we've been busy practicing some basic moves.  She's got moves, baby.

One of her favorite moves is the simple jump.  She employs this move a lot.  A.  Lot.

 My excited little ballerina

 Dance class was a little intimidating.  She needed to watch a bit first.  
We'd decided to leave the tutu at home to make sure she had full range of movement until she's learned the moves and is comfortable with them.

 Watching time was over and after some mommy-encouragement, she joined right in.

 After warm-ups, the class stretched.

Then it was time for some fun.  The rolling exercise was right up her alley.

Is there anything cuter than kidlets sitting on a balance beam?  I think not.

Siennalee was in her element on the mini-trampoline.  
We've really got to get one of those bad boys...

 Aww, hi cutie.

One of the fundamental things Siennalee will learn is the ballerina curtsy.  
Here the teacher is showing Siennalee how to point her front toe in the first of the three-part curtsy.

This is the part where the teacher split the class into two groups: the performers and the audience.  She said that every good performer needs to know how to be a good audience.  
Excellent life lesson, folks.

It is hard, though, to sit in the audience.  
Siennalee's mama knows this all too well.

Sometimes we just can't help ourselves.  We gotta dance!

Finally!  Time to be a performer!  
(Note the little girl standing in the "audience" area - she's feeling the audience-performer-frustration, too.)

Siennalee is engrossed in the performance.
(The "audience" girl has moved herself back into the performance, lol.  There's her grandma, fishing her out.)

Siennalee followed the routine fairly well.

 Class's end.  I think she looks happy.  ;)

Here's to many more happy ballerina moments!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Back... and Blogger Than Ever

Well well well.  Looky what the cat dragged in.  Yes.  It is I.  Back from various and sundry dangers, toils and adventures; one of the worst involving a very stubborn case of Holiday Potty Training Regression which is still in the twitching stage of the Bugs Bunny death throes.  It's been quite a month-and-a-half, indeed.  But I won't bore you with the details.  If I'm very lucky - and by extension, YOU - I'll upload the pictures I took in two and a half cameras, unload the words still crammed constipation-like in my brain, and weave it all into interesting, entertaining, and hopefully mildly-inspirational-at-times blog posts.  And if not, well, we're no worse off than we were before.