Library Loot 2/5/13

We used to just read 5 stories at bedtime every night.  But now that Little Boy is older, we’ve changed it up a little bit.  He reads me an easy beginner reader book, I read him 3 stories, and then we read a few chapters from a chapter book.

This week’s stash:

 

Little Boy’s Easy Readers

1. Dancing Dinos Go To School by Sally Lucas

2. Four Good Friends by Margaret Hillert

3. Surprise! pictures by Richard Brown

4. Sleepy Dog by Harriet Ziefert

5. Boo! by Kirsten Hall

 

Storybooks

6. Chickens! Chickens! by Barbara Ann Porte

7. I Have an Olive Tree by Eve Bunting

8. Oink-a-Doodle-Moo by Jef Czekaj

9.  Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective by David Biedrzycki

10. Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat Ella Fitzgerald by Roxanne Orgill

11. Regards to the Man in the Moon by Ezra Jack Keats

12. Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Erica Silverman

13. Busy Busy Moose by Nancy Van Laan

14. The Clever Stick by John Lechner

15. Amelia Bedelia, Cub Reporter by Herman Parish

16. Super Why: The Little Red Hen story by Sandy Damashek

17. Fancy Nancy: Fancy Day in Room 1-A by Jane O’Connor

18. Don’t Be My Valentine (A Classroom Mystery) by Joan M. Lexau

19. Silly Milly and the Mysterious Suitcase by Wendy Charlotte Lewison

 

And our newest chapter book, a Geronimo Stilton book, “Valentine’s Day Disaster.”

Categories: Library Loot, Unschooling | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Previously on Herban Cowgirl Adventures

(The title of this post should be read in the clipped British accent of Giles from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”)

SO much happening here at the Green Goddess Gardens lately.  I just haven’t felt like actually writing about it.  So I’ll do a quick list.

1.  Our family bought a car.  After being without one for over 2 years.  And there was much rejoicing.

Tinted windows so we can pick our noses at red lights.

Tinted windows so we can pick our noses at red lights.

2.  I started running.  Barefoot.

So. Much. Fun.

So. Much. Fun.

3.  My Uncle Billy died.

Little Boy kept our spirits up in the hospital as family sat with Uncle Billy in his last days.  We will miss him.

Little Boy kept our spirits up in the hospital as family sat with Uncle Billy in his last days. We will miss him.

4.  We had the flu for 2 weeks.

We took lots of naps.

We took lots of naps.

5.  The Herban Cowboy built a fence for the chicken yard out of old pallets.

Ooo so fancy!

Ooo so fancy!

6.  One of our new chickens got sick and died.

The new girls.  Lucy is the redhead.  Ethel is the recently deceased.  RIP sweet girl.

The new girls. Lucy is the redhead. Ethel is the recently deceased. RIP sweet girl.

7.  We cut down and chopped up 4 trees in our backyard.

"He's a lumberjack and he's okay..."

“He’s a lumberjack and he’s okay…”

8.  I read “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” and can’t stop thinking about fresh, local food.

Wild onions found while foraging.  Dirty and stinky and yummy!

Wild onions found while foraging. Dirty and stinky and yummy!

9.  I knit the Herban Cowboy a Doctor Who scarf for his birthday.

Replica of the 4th Doctor's scarf from the episode "The Ark in Space."  Because that's how we nerd.

Replica of the 4th Doctor’s scarf from the episode “The Ark in Space.” Because that’s how we nerd.

10. We got a new (to us) computer, compliments of one of my beautiful aunts.

So big and shiny.

So big and shiny.

11.  I got back on a horse for the first time in 6 years.

You will never be as happy as I am in this picture.

You will never be as happy as I am in this picture.

Categories: Cowgirl's Livestock, Fabulous Foraging, Green Goddess Garden, Just For Fun, Kitchen Witchery, Possum Living, Stitchin' Bitchin', Telling Stories, The Homestead, To DIY For | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Through the Looking Glass

So here’s what happened…

Every once in a while, I would have to pee so badly that I totally wet my pants.  Gross.  But, hey, who doesn’t misjudge that every once in a while, right?  And then sometimes when I’d cough, I’d shoot a little pee into my britches.  Dang it, I must be really sick.  And then, I started a new thing where I was leaking a few drops of pee right after I’d just finished peeing.  Wait a minute.  Wait just one fucking minute.  That’s a lot of pants wetting.  Holy shit, I’m incontinent at 40.

Oh, hell no.

I panicked for a minute.  Then I did nothing.  I went to bed.  I breathed.  I cried a little, and I let that be okay.  I napped.

When I was finished doing nothing, I started gathering information.  My herbal mentor Susun Weed has a new book, “Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health the Wise Woman Way.”  I have all her other books (autographed of course, thankyouverymuch), but I hadn’t bought this one yet.  Pissing myself was a clear indication that I needed help “down there.”  I ordered the book.  I looked up some basic information on incontinence and bladder problems.

Gathering information also meant examining my lifestyle.  Here’s what it boiled down to, kids:

I began every day with 4-5 cups of strong coffee on an empty stomach.  Of course I never ate breakfast, because for some reason (sarcasm!) I wasn’t hungry.  When I finally ate something, even though it might be nutritious, I’d have to wash it down with tea or diet soda.  And then have lots more tea and/or diet soda throughout the afternoon.  By late afternoon, I was always tired and wired.  Clearly I needed a glass of wine.  Of course, what started out as a glass or two a night quickly escalated into an entire bottle.  Every night.  After which I would pass out until 2 or 3 am.  At which time I would wake up SO thirsty and have to go make myself a glass of ice water.

Every day.  And every night.  I don’t have to be a doctor to understand how unhealthy this is.  The Herban Cowboy, bless his heart, kept trying to find a reason for my incontinence besides me.

“I’ve heard that it can be triggered by a virus!”
“Seriously dude?  You think it’s a virus instead of the copious amounts of kidney poison I ingest on a daily basis?”
“Fine.”

So now I was a little better organized, mentally.  I knew what I needed to stop putting into my body, and I knew what I needed to give my body to nourish it.  Now it was time to put it into practice.

At the beginning of October, I stopped drinking wine, coffee, soda, and tea.  Instead I drank strong herbal infusions of nettle, linden, and comfrey leaf.  I’d gotten into terrible habits of buying pre-packaged convenience food, fast food or other restaurant food.  So I stopped eating at restaurants, and made food at home, eliminated snack food, and stopped eating after 9pm.  I also started doing pelvic clenches (kegels) several times a day to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles.

Yay for me!  Oh wait no.  First there was withdrawal.  Horrible, horrible withdrawal.  Keep in mind, I have been a hardcore caffeine addict since 1987. Mountain Dew was my gateway drug, that evil temptress, and I have been chasing buzzes ever since.  So this was a BIG DEAL.  I tried to taper off gradually, but I still got slammed by headaches that seemed to SOAK my brain in pain.  For days.  Extreme fatigue, confusion, cloudy thoughts, nausea, shaking, sweating, anxiety, and never-before-seen levels of irritability.  The only thing that kept me from backsliding was knowing that it would only be a matter of time before I’d have to face this AGAIN.  No thank you.  As Winston Churchill once said, “When you’re going through hell, KEEP GOING.”

I worked through a lot of feelings.  Anger at myself for allowing my health to deteriorate to this level.  Shame at being caught in a preventable state of health.  Humiliated at having to face myself.  Grief at having to stop a lifestyle that felt so GOOD.  Jealous because others get to enjoy things that I have to STOP enjoying.  Facing selfish feelings of “It’s not fair!”  Wanting to scream and cry and hit things.

I didn’t feel “right” again for almost two weeks.  I thought I’d never make it.  But I did.  I have the Herban Cowboy to thank for most of it.  He made me my “witch’s brew” herbal infusions every night.  He did mountains of dishes and took out loads of trash.  He did laundry and made dinners and played with Little Boy.

Goofing off at the Piggly Wiggly. No more restaurant food. We get our food from grocery stores, farmers markets and backyard gardens.

Since the withdrawal has ended, I’ve found it easier to cope with the loss of habits that were destructive, but nevertheless I enjoyed immensely.  And even though it’s only been a month, I’m already starting to see HUGE differences.  I’m sleeping better than I have in years.  The pants wetting incidents have stopped altogether.  My family is eating better foods, and we’re eating more meals together.  We are saving incredible amounts of money on NOT buying wine, coffee, soda, tea, and restaurant food.  And I no longer have to take ibuprofen daily for lower back pain.

Olive oil, onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, kale, and sausage. Behind my “Haiti” mortar and pestle is the homemade bread we ate with it. I’m getting spoiled on homemade food.

I still have a long way to go in building optimal health.  I have to make my new habits as hard to break as my old habits.  I have to get more exercise, even though I bike and walk everywhere.  I have to wait for my goldenrod tincture (5 weeks until I can strain and use it) to support urinary health.  And I have to be patient with myself, and remember that healing is an action verb.

Wild goldenrod flowers chopped up in a mason jar. Add 100 proof vodka, let sit 6 weeks, then strain into a dropper bottle. Goldenrod tincture, taken by the dropperful.

Categories: Telling Stories, Wise Woman Way | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Library Loot 10/02/12

1.  The Cookie House  by Margaret Hillert

2.  The Weather by Olivia George

3.  Franklin and the Cookies by Sharon Jennings

4.  Loose Tooth by Lola M. Schaefer

5.  The Witch Who Went For A Walk by Margaret Hillert

6.  Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner by Monica Kulling

7.  The Time of the Pharaohs a Half and Half book

8.  The Elephant from Baghdad by Mary Tavener Holmes and John Harris

9.  A Year at a Farm by Nicholas Harris

10. Grandpa’s Girls by Nicola I. Campbell and Kim LaFave

11. Neville by Norton Juster

12. Gakky Two-Feet by Micky Dolenz.  I adore this book.

13. Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto

14. It’s All About Me-ow by Hudson Talbott.  I love this one, too.

15. A Stick is an Excellent Thing by Marilyn Singer

16. Little Lion by Lesley Beake and Erika Pal

17. Little Critter’s Bedtime Storybook by Mercer Mayer

18. The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare by Sam McBratney

Categories: Library Loot, Unschooling | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Room of Her Own

I have a confession.  I have my own bedroom.  It’s glorious.  And it saved my marriage.

My husband and I have VERY different styles of housekeeping, VERY different ideas of how to live in your personal space.  I must have the sheets tucked in at the foot of the bed, he needs them untucked.  I like my things organized in a very specific way, he throws everything around in piles.  We both snore.  Etc, etc.

I was going crazy trying to keep it clean and organized.  He was stressed about making tidiness a priority, which is just not natural for him.  Neither of us was sleeping well.

So we decided to try separate bedrooms.  And the most wonderful things started happening.

First of all, both of us slept better.  We each had the freedom to stretch out, toss and turn, snore, fart, get up to pee, whatever, without disturbing the other.  The Herban Cowboy wakes in the wee hours occasionally, and he discovered that he’s now free to get up during those times and get some writing done, without fear of waking me.  He can also get up earlier in the morning and get to work earlier, increasing his productivity there and leaving me to sleep until Little Boy wakes me.

My summer bed (I’m not a bed maker). For the cooler months, I add a comforter and one more cat. Library book on the bedside table. Sewing machine at the foot of the bed.

We also have more sleeping options this way.  When Little Boy has a bad dream, there’s plenty of room for him to crawl in with me.  The Herban Cowboy and I like to sneak afternoon naps together.  When someone comes to visit, they get my room as guest room and I crawl in the Man Cave with my guy.

Dresser with yarn stash (and a Breyer horse from childhood), vanity with pile of Little Boy’s endless artwork.

In addition to enhancing our sleeping lives, there were other benefits to this arrangement that became clear after the change was made.  The house became easier to keep straightened up.  When we shared a bedroom, everyone’s stuff was all over the house.  I would put his stuff in the bedroom to be put away, but of course he never would.  Piles would form.  I would beg him to clean them.  Sometimes I cleaned the piles for him.  The extra bedroom was supposed to be a studio for art and exercise, but it always seemed to be too cluttered to work in.

My closet. I have no fashion sense, so everything is black. And I hate shoes, so I only own 3 pair.

Now that the rooms are separate, when I pick up, everyone’s stuff goes to their respective rooms.  The Herban Cowboy’s notebooks, papers, pens, cards, dirty socks, and other assorted random crap go directly into the black hole of his room and I no longer have to worry about it.  The stress of dealing with his crap is gone.  The stress he felt trying to conform to my lifestyle is gone.  He is happier to do things like dishes and laundry now that he’s not being hounded constantly to cleancleancleanCLEAN.

The Man Cave. I don’t often enter this room. I close the door and leave it alone. Just baaaack away slooowly…. Wait. Did- did the laundry pile just… MOVE? Holy shit RUN!! Just go, go, GOOOO!!!!!

There are folks who think this sort of living arrangement for married people is weird.  My mother and my sister both seemed confused by the decision.  What’s funny is they both wanted to know how we would…  well…  YOU know…  (awkward pause).  I assured them that that was one of the first things we figured out years ago when we first got together and that they shouldn’t worry about it too much.  It’s actually kind of funny to watch my mother blush and stutter and giggle when she tries to ask me about my sex life.

My maternal grandparents had separate bedrooms.  As a child I thought it was strange.  I thought married people were supposed to sleep in the same bed together.  That surely if they loved each other, they’d want to.  Thirty years later, I see it much differently.  I wonder if my Nannie loved having her own room as much as I do.

Categories: Telling Stories, The Homestead | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Library Loot 9/3/12

We’ve been working on this stack since last Tuesday, but I’m just now getting around to posting the list.

 

1.  The World of Dick and Jane and Friends published by Grosset & Dunlap.  I’ve discovered why these books are classics.  Little Boy can read all these stories without help.  The short word lists, short chapters, and repetition make this super easy.  LB feels confident instead of frustrated after reading these.

2.  Treasure Island from the story by Robert Louis Stevenson.  I’m disappointed in this one.  When I held it online on the library’s website, I thought it was the original unabridged novel.  This is like the little kid cliff notes.  I’m going to read it to him in preparation for the real thing, though.

3.  Tricks and Transformations by Anthony Horowitz.  Little Boy picked this one out because it has a close up picture of a spider on the cover.  It’s a book of myths that turned out to be less interesting than he’d thought.

4.  Gideon by Olivier Dunrea.

5.  ParaNorman:  Meet the Ghosts adapted by Lucy Rosen.

6.  Mole Had Everything by Jamison Odone.  I absolutely adore this book.  Mole’s journey in this story perfectly parallels my own life.  I may have to buy this one.

7.  The Yellow Kite Flies High by Cecilia Minden and Joanne Meier.

8.  Little Troll by Penny Dolan.

9.  Treasure by Suzanne Bloom.

10. Oliver by Judith Rossell

11. The Three Billy Goats Fluff by Rachael Mortimer.  Knitting saves the day!

12. The Insomniacs by Karina Wolf.  Love this one.

13. Cindy Moo by Lori Mortensen.

14. When Dinos Dawned, Mammals Got Munched, and Pterosaurs Took Flight by Hannah Bonner.  A National Geographic Kids book.

15. Bustle in the Bushes by Giles Andreae

 

 

Categories: Library Loot, Unschooling | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just for Knits and Giggles

The Herban Cowboy and I like to sit around in the evenings and watch movies together.  We’re both writers and performers, so we love to analyze a good show to death.  We discuss acting, character development, writing, plot devices, and whatever else strikes us.  It’s fun, but there’s not a lot to DO while you’re watching movies.  Except eat.  Which I discovered I was doing way too much of.

I needed something to do with my hands besides cram food into my face hole.  So I decided to try knitting.

Not knowing anything about it, I decided to start small.  I got a stack of books from the library, chose a simple scarf, got a pair of needles and a ball of yarn.  When something confused me about the written instructions in the book, I looked it up on YouTube, which contains thousands of knitting tutorials.

Works in progress.

It is now almost a year later and I can’t stop knitting.  It’s like a groovy meditation: the steady click of the needles, the endless repetition of stitches, the counting and measuring.  I love building something step by step, stitch by stitch.  I love that the end result is practical and useful.  I love thinking about the recipient as I’m making their gift.  How did I make it 40 years without discovering this obsession?

I started with scarves and moved on to hats, fingerless mittens, headbands, sweaters, bookmarks, dishcloths, and finger puppets.  Every gift that every friend has received from me in the last year has been some kind of hand knit thing. I even opened an Etsy store to sell my overstock (it’s Herban Cowgirl Knits in my blogroll in the right sidebar).

This is the listing that gets the most hits on my Etsy site. I’m pretty sure it’s the quality workmanship and beautiful fiber choice, not my spectacular cleavage.

Once people found out about my new addiction, I got lots of knitting gifts.  People gave me knitting books and patterns.  My Mom brought me yarn she found on sale.  My Mother-in-law gave me a whole bag full of knitting needles.  A friend gifted me with a giant plastic zip bag full of yarn she needed to get rid of.

Most women have dresser drawers full of clothes. My drawers are full of yarn.

At any given time, I’m working on 4 or 5 different projects.  Something for my Etsy store, something for me, a new technique I’m learning, gifts for friends and family.

I get better and faster with each project I knit.  I’ve also watched an embarrassing amount of TV.  I’ve discovered there are a surprising amount of X-Files episodes I’ve missed.  And that the Golden Girls never once jumped the shark, not in 7 entire seasons.  And that I can’t watch enough Doctor Who.

A little help from Loki, the new kitty.

Categories: Just For Fun, Stitchin' Bitchin', To DIY For | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Library Loot 8/14/12

I haven’t been keeping track of our summer books, but might as well jump right back in.  I’ve stepped up Little Boy’s reading lessons.  For the last month, each week I choose a simple, Pre-K to K level book.  I choose about a dozen words from the word list in the back, mostly sight words and other basic ones.  I make a weekly word list for us, and each day LB reads them to me.  I also have him write them out on lined paper.

After a month of this, I can feel he’s getting a little burned out on weekly word lists, so this week I made a poster of all the words we’ve done so far to review.  At first he was intimidated by the amount of words covering the poster, but he was pleasantly surprised that he could read so many so easily.  Now we’re playing word games with the poster, picking out words to form sentences and finding words that look the same but sound different.

Today we’re hitting the library for a fresh stack, but these are the ones we’ve had for the past week:

1.  Dino School:  Meet Teddy Rex  by Bonnie Williams

2.  Frank and the Tiger by Dev Ross

3.  Time to Eat by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

4.  Just Say Boo by Susan Hood

5.  Fancy Nancy:  Fancy Day in Room 1-A by Jane O’Connor

6.  True or False Mammals by Melvin and Gilda Berger

7.  Ride, Fly Guy, Ride!  by Tedd Arnold

8.  Stop Thief!  by Adam J. B. Lane

9.  Go to Sleep, Dear Dragon by Margaret Hillert

10. Is That the Orange Cat?  by Joanne Meier

11. Today I Will Fly!  by Mo Willems

12. Lucky and Squash by Jeanne Birdsall

13. Heebie-Jeebie Jamboree  by Mary Ann Fraser

14.  Light Up the Night  by Jean Reidy

15. Moo Hoo  by Candace Ryan

16. Halloween Drawing Book by Ralph Masiello

UPDATE:  Fresh stack for this week…

1.  Goosebumps:  Wanted the Haunted Mask by R. L. Stine

2.  The Monster Show (Everything You Never Knew About Monsters)  by Charise Mericle Harper

3.  Surfer Chick  by Kristy Dempsey

4.  Little Bea and the Snowy Day by Daniel Roode

5.  The Scariest Thing of All  by Debi Gliori

6.  George Flies South  by Simon James

7.  One of a Kind  by Ariel S. Winter

8.  Owl and Wormy:  Friends All Aflutter  by Andy Runton

9.  Beach Feet  by Kiyomi Konagaya

10. Kindergators:  Hands Off, Harry!  by Rosemary Wells

11. The Dancing Clock  by Steve Metzger

12. Sophie’s Fish  by A. E. Cannon

13. Mittens, Where Is Max?  by Lola M.  Schaefer

14. Wonder Woman:  The Arrival  by Nina Jaffe

15.  Watch Out, William!  by Kady Macdonald Denton

16. Dixie  by Grace Gilman

17. Balls by Melanie Davis Jones

18. Dick and Jane Jump and Run

9.

Categories: Library Loot, Unschooling | Leave a comment

I Lost My Mojo

My summer has been full of beach, birthday parties, family visits, new chickens, road trips, plays, puppets, writing, knitting, and watching the X-Files.  That last one was necessary.  I discovered that my husband had only ever seen 3 or 4 episodes of the X-Files and I nearly divorced him immediately in surprise and rage.  “What is the matter with you?”  I screamed.  “What college nerd in the 90s DIDN’T watch the X-Files?  What the hell were you DOING on Sunday nights?”  To which he sheepishly replied, “Sunday night was D&D with my friends.”  I almost blew a blood vessel laughing at how he out-nerded me.  Well played, sir.

As amazing as our summer has been, a dark cloud hangs over our family.  We lost our Mojo.

Mojo

My cat Mojo, who has been my companion for 14 years, disappeared at the beginning of June without a trace.  We made posters, handed out flyers, talked to neighbors, walked the neighborhood.  For weeks we gathered information, called his name, and waited for the phone to ring.  I cried and cried.

Always the life of the party, that Mojo.

All summer long, the emptiness that used to be Mojo has been curled up in the corners of the house.

I still have my girl cat Tozi.  She’s feisty and funny, but she’s not a lap cat.  She’s Little Boy’s cat.  She follows him around and plays with him and bothers him.  He pets her and loves on her and plays with her, but she’s not interested in being my Sweet Cuddly Love Baby.

Nobody puts Baby in the corner.

Not like my Mojo was.

He could still come home.

Seriously. Mojo.

Categories: Cowgirl's Livestock, Telling Stories, The Homestead | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Time Off

This whole past week and a half have been filled with visitors, both family and friends.  We’ve crammed about 6 months worth of fun into that time, too.  We’re pretty good at that.

First was Memorial Day weekend, when two old friends of mine from high school came to Savannah with families in tow.  We went to the beach, we played, we talked, we drank.  It was great.

Party responsibly kids.

Then I had a day to vacuum and change the sheets and my dad came for a visit.  We only get to see him once or twice a year, so we soaked up all the PaPa love we could.  More beach, movies, pizza, and presents.

It’s been amazing and fun, but I’ll be glad when I can get back to my routine of watering my garden, hanging out with the chickens, and riding my bike all over town in the summer heat.

Next up is a trip to visit my sister in Tennessee, where Little Boy will have a whole week to play with his 6 year old girl cousins (the Twinzillas!).  Summer vacation!

Categories: Just For Fun, Telling Stories, The Homestead | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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