Megnut

Archive for January 2011

Ollie skiing

Here's a video of Ollie skiing last weekend up at Mad River Glen. It's not very good because I was skiing behind him and it's hard to film and look through camera and follow him and try to ski all at once. I need to practice more!

Jason's got a nice little write-up about Ollie's digital camera use. Of course when he writes "we" gave him the camera, and "we" set-up the Flickr account, and "we" hooked up the Eye-Fi card, dear reader, you can insert "Meg", for accuracy's sake. It's been a great little present for him and I've also been enjoying another way to experience his world.

Standing up

Standing up

This is her "Whoa I'm standing up" face that she made every time she stood up from the stairs.

Four resolutions for the new year

I've never been one for making New Year's resolutions, mostly because I think if you want to make a change you should just do it, no matter where you are in the year. But maybe because I'm older, or in a more reflective phase, or maybe simply because a few changes have occurred to me and it happens to be the start of a new year, I'm making some resolutions.

Resolution #1: Write fiction.
Write more fiction, and by more I mean, write fiction. After lots of creative writing in the eighties and early nineties, I drained my fiction well, or something, because I haven't written a story since about 1994. But I've been remembering how it felt to write stories, how I'd disappear into the world I was imagining. And I want to experience that again. Also I have ideas for stories bubbling.

Resolution #2: Write for Megnut.
I've fallen into a variety of traps that have kept me from writing here. Aside from the lack of time (which is really a lack of prioritization), the other excuses will be ignored and overcome.

Resolution #3: Have Wants Driven By Need
More production is countered by less consumption. I've noticed that a lot of magazines and websites I visit show me things to buy. Mostly they are things I didn't think I wanted or needed before I saw them in the pages of Martha Stewart Living (as an example, because I find it so blatant there lately, and in stark contrast to how the magazine used to be). I like to buy a thing because I need it. But it's hard to resist the lure of such pretty stuff highlighted in all the design blogs and magazines, and the curating sites like Svpply and Pinterest. So no more reading/subscribing to media that makes me want stuff I don't really need (or probably don't even want, except for in the fleeting moment that caviar sounds like a good idea, or some lovely La Lune print can be imagined hanging over my bed...)

Resolution #4: Read More Books
As I try and escape the magazines and blog posts, I discover I've lost my reading muscle. Sure I can handle a gripping tale like the Lost City of Z but there's plenty of good reading out there that takes a bit of work, effort I used to be able to put in. But I'm lazy now, easily sated by 140 character tweets and 500 word articles. My mind drifts reading a longer book. But no more! I'm reading books this year, as many as possible, until I get back into reading shape.

Is there a Resolution #5? Probably but then I'd get into the usual, all the time resolutions that I live with daily: enjoy time with kids, smell the flowers, get to the gym daily, eat healthy food, cook more, worry less, etc. etc. That's like my to-do list though. So I'll start with these four resolutions. Here's to a year of making more. And desiring less.

Made up baking with kids

Photo

Recently Ollie's been talking about a time he lived "in England." Whenever he begins a sentence with "In England..." I know he'll follow with something that displays his independence and self-sufficiency. Often the stories are about cooking, and he'll tell me about things he baked in England. Sometimes there are adventures with his cousins, Strawberry and Pumpkin, with whom he lived, and he had some jobs and drove a lot as well. But mostly it's about cooking.

Lately I indulge his "In England" baking stories and we recreate his favorite recipes. He instructs me on the ingredients he used to create things like "Honeychrists", a kind of inedible biscuit like hardtack, and "Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins", which we baked on Sunday.

After the honeychrists episode, I've tried to direct a little more, so these muffin cookies were actually edible and quite tasty. Half-way through the measuring, I got a great idea. Ratio, a book and iPhone app by Michael Ruhlman gives you the ratios for ingredients for all kinds of recipe, would be perfect for this situation. (Though he doesn't have "cookie muffin" listed).

In the future I can guide Ollie knowing the ratios, so if he wants muffins, I can measure 5 ounces of flour and liquid, and 2.5 ounces eggs and butter. He can add the spices or food coloring or chocolate chips, whatever else he wants, and I can be assured that the resulting baked good will probably be edible. I'm looking forward to trying this out, as it's been so much fun to do this crazy baking with Ollie.

Funny thing about the chocolate chip muffin cookies: they were edible! And because I added baking powder and baking soda, they were puffy cookies, soft and kind of doughy, wide-spread on the sheet and mounded in the middle. Just like you'd expect a "muffin cookie" to be!

Saying goodbye

Ollie and his great-grandparents

My grandmother died quite suddenly on Veteran's Day. Since she was "only" eighty-eight, and the youngest of my four grandparents, all living until 2009, I wasn't prepared. In retrospect it seems ridiculous to not be prepared when someone's eighty-eight, but that seemed young, especially because she was so active and energetic.

Ollie was very close to her, his "GG" (great-grandmother), and as I frantically made plans to visit with her one final time, Jason and I struggled to explain what was happening. It's been hard for him to comprehend, and it's led to lots of awful questions and statements.

Ollie and GGPa

Now my grandfather, after losing his wife of sixty-six years, with his health already in decline, is nearing his end. We've had more time to warn Ollie of what's imminent and about once a week I sit with Ollie to talk about it.

Ollie's not entirely clear on the concept of marriage, so often he'll ask my father if my mother is his "friend", and sometimes he'll say she's his special friend. I like this idea of marriage.

The other day Ollie and I had a talk about GGPa. I told him GGPa's old body wasn't working anymore, and that very soon he would die. I started to cry.

"It's ok, Mommy," he said softly, looking at me, "because when he dies he can go in the same hole as GG! And they'll be together, because they're special friends."

Somehow that's the most comforting thing I've ever heard.

My Grandma & Grandpa

Sexism under the hood

Sexism under the hood

Took apart my stove hood this morning for a thorough cleaning and found this little message. If I were a Ms. Electrician I'd be pissed.