Friday, December 19, 2008

end of year busyness

i just finished doing the grade reports for the end of the semester...for the first time. it was easier than i thought it would be!!! we decided this year to go with homelife academy to get ourselves ready for the fact that, starting next year, we would not be able to homeschool samuel since he will be high school aged. in tennessee, if you do not have a bachelor's degree, you cannot homeschool a high school aged child. the only way around this is to use an umbrella school like homelife academy. i'm glad to be done with the grading process!! as unschoolers we don't really do any actual grading. we have to rely on how well we know our children and what our children know. the grading gives me a chance to reflect on the kids in a different way than i'm used to. but it's not something i would want to have to do all the time. so that's what i did this morning.

other things i've been doing...contemplating my artist self...ooh big surprise. i was asked to do illustrations for a children's book. i find myself feeling inadequate for this task. but wanting to push myself to try anyway. i don't want to let my friend down...or myself. i've been working on some larger pieces than usual using my big watercolor paper that's been sitting over in the corner mocking me. i'm doing them with watercolor, pencil, and chalks. i'm also wanting to do more realistic figure work (as opposed to my usual figurative illustrations). i did some rough (really rough) nude sketches using photographs of myself that i have stashed away that were taken by my boyfriend in college for a photography class. they really helped a lot and i'm glad i still have them. i'd love to have a live model to draw from...and eventually do some clay figure modeling as well. anyway, here's an idea of what i've been doing:


Saturday, December 13, 2008

quote time

i'm reading Odd Hours by Dean Koontz. as usual, there are tons of excellent quotes!! here are a few that caught my attention...made me read them over again a few times...

"the given world dazzles with wonder, poetry, and purpose. The man-made world, on the other hand, is a perverse realm of ego and envy, where power-mad cynics make false idols of themselves and where the meek have no inheritance because they have gladly surrendered it to their idols in return not for lasting glory but for an occasional parade, not for bread but for the promise of bread."

"to protect the innocent, to avoid being one of Burke's good men who do nothing, [refers to the quote by edmund burke in 1795 'the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing] you have to accept permanent scars that cincture the heart and traumas of the mind that occasionally reopen to weep again.

to do something, to do what you feel sure is right and in the aid of justice, you sometimes have to do things that, when recalled on lonely nights, make you wonder if in fact you are the good man that you like to believe you are.

such doubts are high cards in the devil's hand, and he knows how to play them well, in hope of bringing you to despair and ennui, if not to self-destruction."

"we are coming now to dark shoals in rough waters, to straits so narrow that virtue and wickedness voyage close together and may be at times more difficult than usual to differentiate from each other."Share

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


recently, samuel was invited to join some local artists to hang out and draw at the local comic book shop where he sells his comic. he had a really great time!! he'll be doing it again soon but this time he'll have his new issue of GUILD ready to sign and sell!!!

you can look at his comic site here (be sure to click on "latest" to take you to the most recently added page):

in other news...scotty starts a new job today!!! yeah!!! we will still be building and promoting thyme for toast but in the meantime we'll have some extra money coming in. he will be working with the troutdale company at their troutdale bistro location in bristol. so please go check them out and say hi!!!

also, i did a write up for thyme for toast that was published in the most recent issue of the loafer, our local entertainment guide. we picked up an issue last night after going out to celebrate the new job and didn't realize it was going to be in there. what a nice surprise!! now i'll have to check out all the other papers that i sent press releases to...that should be fun!!!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thyme for Toast

well, as you know...scotty lost his job about a month ago. while he's been applying at every imaginable place on earth, we've been working on an idea we've had for years but he never really had the time to go very far with it. in the midst of working on our business plans our friend ren talked to her friends at wjhl and set up a cooking spot for him. he went this morning to do a live demonstration on the morning show. it was really exciting to watch!! okay, so we're getting ready to go out for "first friday" here in jc so i'm just quickly putting up links now. so here they are...
our website:

clip of his wjhl segment:

thanks to all our friends who have been so supportive and enthusiastic about all our ideas!!Share

Saturday, November 29, 2008

happy compost day

yesterday while scotty went mountain biking, i decided it was a perfect day to do my compost project that i've been putting off. i started our compost trash can back in april when we moved into the house. it has been breaking down all these months and it was high time to turn it and make a larger area for compost. so i found materials that i had leftover from making the sfg garden and put together a big compost area. i raked the spot i wanted to put it in to make sure there were no walnuts since i'd read that they would make my compost toxic, especially to tomatoes. it was the first time in months that i've really worked my body like i know it needs to be worked. i hammered posts and shovelled compost as well as the dirt from the flower garden in the front yard that i have no desire to do again, and added it to the compost pile, walked from the front yard to the back yard a dozen felt really good. the compost trash can was sooo full, i had to fill a 5 gallon bucket over and over to move it all. when i got to the middle there was this wonderful earthy smell. it was really dirt down there!! and egg shells. mental note to crush them better from now on. it was so nice out that i eventually took off my jacket and then my sweater...i was in a tank top...outside, it felt so nice!!! anyway, here are some pix:

the "cage"

the old bin

pile of "stolen" grass clippings drying out for layering in compost

me shoveling out the compost to move it

getting down to the good stuff

it's DIRT!! (and eggshells!)

finally done!!! i put one of my extra garden cages on top to keep out walnuts dropping and critters.

p.s. yes, we did get together with family and friends for thanksgiving...and had a wonderful time. i actually had some really good conversations with my sisters. after eating with family we went to asheville to have a pie party with alice's family and some friends...


Monday, November 24, 2008

all these things...

"i don't even know if i like them or if they like me-we've hardly spent any time together and yet there's all this love, love, love. how can you love somebody you just met, somebody you've never asked a real question, somebody you've never had to forgive or who's never had to forgive you?"
-rayona taylor (11 years old) from "the window" by michael dorris

what does it mean to really be connected to someone? i have felt disconnected from most people nearly all my life. never fully being able to really attach myself. i've let people drift out of my life so easily so many times i wonder if there isn't something terribly wrong with me. but in the last year i have found myself deeply connected to people after meeting only a few times. most recently our new friends who just moved out here from LA...we met in september at the live and learn conference and have been very connected ever since. and our friends in our homeschooling group who are very much a part of our family now. i think you really can love someone instantly. it's rare but it does happen. something i've had to accept over the last few years is that no matter how much you love someone that not all relationships last forever. if the people that are in my life right now someday slip away and out of my life, it will just be another step in the lifelong journey. i do not want it to happen but i know that it sometimes does.

in case i haven't said it lately to all my friends, past and present...i love you all, always.Share

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

a long time coming

i've been on a bit of a blog hiatus lately. we had an amazingly busy few weeks that i'm still recovering from. we had friends in town staying with us (even managed to convince them to move here, they're gone now but will be back next week with a u-haul that we'll help unload..wink wink), had an unschooler gathering up in roan mountain, then came home for some more hanging out, a little asheville trip to see more friends, and then a birthday/anniversary potluck party at our house. it's been a wild ride and in the midst of it all, scotty lost his job. i am grateful to my friends and family right now for their support and love. here are some slide shows to look at in case you've got an entire day with nothing else to do but look at pictures...because there are a ton...enjoy!!

the gavins and halloween with "the rens":

ARGH gathering on roan mountain (not kidding, a million pix here!):

just hanging out:

birthiversary...november 15th was silas' 11th birthday as well as our 14th anniversary:


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

live and learn - the after party and asheville

day 1
day 2
day 3
days 4 and 5

alice was awesome enough to host a live and learn after party at her house, complete with a sleepover!! how cool is that?? everyone brought drinks and snacks and plenty of enthusiasm and conversation. kass had left the picnic earlier to get home before dark so wouldn't be joining us for the party, then she decided after all to drive back with pax and dave (it had been just her and jayd at the conference together). yeah!! so much went on, there was some limboing, card playing, ATC making and birthday wishing...and of course, eating, drinking and talking...and laughing...and crying. it was beautiful.

we stayed up super late and then woke up super early to the sounds of what seemed to be about 15 washing machines going in the attic. WTF? the roof people had come early! ah well, at least we were able to get an early start on the day. we hadn't planned to stay but when a trip into asheville was planned, we decided to go along. plus, lunch was needed before heading home. so we went in 2 cars...all together we had quite a crew, even though silas, jake, jared, and scott stayed behind with alice for a video game party. there was me, scotty, ren, samuel, sadie, sierra, rachel, george, and that everyone?? i think so. we met up with rue, jon, dagny, and rowan at the woolworth walk art mall. we ate at the diner in there and then went on a walk-about around asheville. at some point (it is all very fuzzy really) we were joined by austin, taylor, and karina (who we will have the pleasure of hosting at our house starting tonight and through to the ARGH gathering). we wore ourselves out with walking around, shopping, high fiving and making up stuff about monet and got very hungry and decided we needed to get back to alice's house for some delicious little caesar's pizza before heading back home. speaking of those pizzas. i took the boxes home so alice wouldn't have to worry about taking them for recycling...well, i finally took them to recycling...YESTERDAY!! OMG. anyway. as ren said, the after party and asheville trip could be a book by itself...i don't have it in me today to write a book, so i hope the pictures will do. i thought i'd not make myself nuts putting pictures into blogger because it makes my head here are my final trip pix in slide form, enjoy!!

ALL my L&L pix:

Monday, October 27, 2008

live and learn - days 4 and 5

okay, it's been nearly 2 months since live and learn and i've put off finishing up our story for too long. i almost said 'screw it' but then realized that i'd really like to have the memories down for myself so if you don't want to read about any 2 month old events just stop reading now.

day 1
day 2
day 3

day 4 - saturday

i'm looking back on what i wrote for day 3 and i'm starting to think i may have had day 3 and 4 mixed up because it might've been saturday that we did the new games funshop with jess (because i'm looking at the itinerary to help me remember stuff and it has the new games on saturday morning...oh my, the memory sure ain't what it used to be). anyway. i'm pretty sure it was saturday morning that scotty and i could not get sadie and silas up for breakfast. we left the 2-way radio next to sadie's bed and went down to eat. this made me a little nervous because i felt like if sadie woke up and we were gone she might freak out. but i also knew that with the dark dark room and the quiet and the lack of sleep all week, she would sleep deeply for a very long time. and that they both needed it. so we let them sleep, and they did. we ate and then filled some to-go boxes for them and brought them back to the room. i do not know where i went at this point since i seem to have my days mixed up. i know i missed brenna's talk that morning but got there in time for cameron's. maybe i was abducted by aliens. scotty stayed in the room (i.e. went back to sleep) with the kids until they got up. while i was thoroughly enjoying cameron's talk as well as the round table with both cameron and brenna afterwards. i took only 2 pictures on saturday. usually pictures help me put the pieces together. oh well. i know that scotty spent a lot of time in the room on saturday playing uno with sadie.

so after lunch, i went to ronnie maier's talk on 'enjoying teens' which i was really enjoying when someone (i think it was mindy) came and told me that silas was hurt and he needed me. i ran over to the lobby to find him sitting in a chair holding his hand surrounded by lots of friends. a nice little healing circle. he had gotten his hand shut in a door and it was hurting pretty badly. he seemed better just knowing i was finally there for him. but i did a little bit of energy tapping on him and helped him visualize healing anyway. he still has a place on his fingernail where the bruise is growing out.

these were taken just before we went to supper that night:

most of the day is a blur up until the masquerade ball. which i chose not to dress up for, because i'm not a costumey dress up kind of person. i did wear my yoga clothes because it would be comfortable to dance in and i borrowed one of mindy's very cool belly dancing skirts. yeah me, i was officially dressed up! thanks mindy! we hurried over to lee hall for the ginormous picture taking on the steps. crazy, absolutely crazy. almost nowhere to sit. i found a spot in front of alex and literally sat on his feet. sorry alex!! it was fun seeing all the amazing costumes and trying to figure out who was who.

i was so excited about the dance. i'd been looking forward to this for months!! really. how often do we parent types get to go dancing?? there is something about dancing with a crowd that just feeds your energy. it was wonderful. the dj was a little confused about our group though. he kept playing unusual things like a barney video up on the big screen and the theme from scooby doo. finally, i went up to ask him if he was going to play more dance/contemporary music and he said he thought he'd wait until the kids went to bed. huh? what, these kids? no, that's not gonna happen mr. dj man. so once he was clued in, he started playing more dance music. we gave him lots of requests throughout the night. he was pretty cool. sadie finally came out of her shell and started really jamming with me, it was awesome to see! there was even a little karaoke time. jess, ren, kass and i went up and did "like a virgin"...i can't believe i actually got them up there with me to do that one. turned out though that the words part of the karaoke weren't working so we just sang along with the words needed. we rocked. and the dj gave me a cool super star wand. i love dancing around like crazy, i really do. that is generally what you get to see out of me. but when they started playing "bohemian rhapsody" well i went into my own world, not something i generally do in public. i missed out on the big group jam but i was having my own jam over in the corner, queen does that to me, brings out my lyrical side. sadie had requested "hey there delilah" and he finally played it as the last song. i remember hearing some groans from the teens but they got over that quickly enough and everyone joined in singing. the song cut off towards the end for some reason but we all just kept singing. it was really awesome. it was all just really awesome!

i know i've left a lot of details out in all my posts. i know i forgot to mention that tyler played in the talent show and lots of stuff about the funshops and different people we met and things we did. it feels a lot like skimming the surface. and that's okay, the heart of it is still with me, the general feel, the atmosphere. that stuff can't be put into words anyway. well, not by me.

day 5 - sunday

the last day!! oh man, we were really tired but not at all ready for this thing to end. we got up sooo early to get the room packed up so that we could check out after breakfast. i can't believe we got it all done. i think i miss the communal breakfasts more than anything. something about getting up first thing in the morning and seeing so many friends and getting to eat with them and talk and rub the stardust out of our eyes just wonderful...i went to kelly lovejoy's 'conference planning for goddesses' talk while scotty loaded the car and took back the keys. it was really eye-opening to hear her talk about what it really takes to do these conferences. samuel had been putting ideas in my head about taking over the conference planning since this was the last one and he really wanted there to be more. i had told him that is not something i felt i could do. listening to kelly's talk confirmed that for me. way too much time involved...and being organized...oh my. she is definitely a conference planning guru.
but i cannot leave out that she mentioned many people that she would not have been able to do any of this without...pam genant and kathryn baptista being 2 i can remember off the top of my head. scotty joined me and sadie at some point during the talk. oh yeah, and sadie fell asleep on my monster bag lap too. she was so exhausted!then there was scott noelle's 'pleasure principle' talk, he is really an inspiring guy. it was the first talk all week where i found the courage to speak out loud when someone in the crowd asked a question. afterward, the guy who asked the question actually came up and thanked me for my input. that felt really great. i normally can't speak when people are looking at me, i go all red and fumble my words. something must have intervened because it was real important to him that he got what i had to say. scott had done a wild and crazy dance during the talent show, that is the sort of thing he inspires...just letting go and getting in touch with that part of yourself. the part that wants to break out and just flail around like mad. his book is pretty amazing as well. gives you a lot to think about as a parent. as a person.

kelly gave some emotional closing remarks and was then joined onstage by all the presenters. there weren't many dry eyes for that.i was so ready for lunch at this point!! but i went to get scott's book first and we talked to a few people before heading over to eat. here's a great shot of a really genuinely happy scotty and broc.after lunch, there were some extra activities that i had not signed us up for so we hung out in front of and in the lobby for awhile and then got our stuff together that we would need for the post-conference picnic.kass, eli and i were talking when it was time to head down to the picnic. it was at this point i think i started to not know what was going on around me. i drove the car down while everyone else walked. here is our car in the wrong parking area, i moved the car twice before i got to the right spot. but i wanted to take some pix of the graffitied car before i the time i got to the picnic area i realized i probably should not have been driving. i kept wanting to cry and i knew it didn't make any sense. scotty got our blanket laid out and i sat down and just stared. here is one of the great things about having a partner that knows you so well. he took one look at me and knew exactly what was going on. my sugar had dropped seriously low at this point and he gave me some chocolate from the car. i started to perk up within a few minutes, i ate some pretzels and had some very zingy ginger ale that alex shared with us. it was a beautiful day for the picnic!! AND some nitro ice cream!!a few of the girls hanging out...the girl in the middle, in the purple conference shirt, was my fairy godchild, brai!! mindy getting directions to alice's house for the after party.
i love this picture of alex and mindy...ya know, there aren't many 13 year old boys that i think are as sweet as samuel but alex is definitely one of them!!
it was such a nice day that the kids decided to go swimming in the lake. i do believe that was not allowed, but i can't remember if the sign said 'no swimming' or 'no fishing'...LOL!! although, after karina gave us a big scare, kelly got everyone out of the water. it was decided that there was a little too much fatigue for kids to be swimming in a lake.

alec and samuel taking a quick break from their very intense discussion to smile for a picture. i think sadie took this. she had my camera for awhile so there are LOTS of pictures of the picnic.
at some point we took our lonely blanket over to join it up with ren's blanket. i think they are going to be having a little romance, we got them together again recently for our full moon circle party. it's a lovely thing. there was this great documentary on the bbc about monet...
and the view that started it all...
the boys showing their new sharpie marker hair.this was just too funny...this little baby was walking around talking on a cell phone, so animated and jabbering away. we couldn't stop laughing. then i remembered i had the camera again...after some serious discussion on where to find some food to eat (is there a chinese take out place? yes, several. well let me hear the names first) before heading to alice's house, we finally got in the car to leave. we had a big crew of tired and hungry kids in tow. we managed to escape with sierra and duncan...mwahahaha. it was decided we would just go find this great little pizza place and eat instead of doing the take out thing. sadie, who doesn't care much for pizza, said she would like to have taco bell. so we went through the taco bell drive-thru. as we were pulling up this group of teens was staring at us. we were like, why are they staring at us?? and then i remembered that our car was all graffitied, they weren't staring, they were reading. so we got some food for sadie (and silas too) and headed to the great little pizza place. it was really good! and we enjoyed having extra kids to eat with too. eating is just more enjoyable in a big group!!then we headed out to alice's house for the after party. and that, my friends, is a whole 'nother story.Share