Saturday, May 30, 2009

Quick post and then off

Today, I am going to a family reunion (or reonion, as some of them refer to it, when they are in a mood). This is my dad's side of the family. He was one of seven surviving children and he and his siblings (and their kids, which is where I come in) get together 2-3 times a year. We all get together the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Memorial Day weekend at least.

This year's Memorial Day get-together was postponed for a week for Bluegrass and BBQ at Silver Dollar City last weekend. My dad has played bluegrass semi-professionally most of my life. He has played for churches and festivals and even at Dogpatch for a few years. Since he retired from teaching, though, he has been playing music with some of the young people in the community. A few years ago, he had worked with three young me and created quite the band. They made a couple albums privately and sold them. They made some spending money, anyway. And, like the Commitments, about the time they got their break, they fell apart. Trust me when I say it is no easier to watch in person than in the movie.

A year or two back, he stated working with a new group of boys. And they had a lot of potential. They were asked to play here and there. The boys, though, are also into sports and girls and being boys. So despite the gigs that have been coming, they were still having problems getting their stuff together.

Then they got the chance to play at Silver Dollar City's Youth in Bluegrass competition. There was a catch, though. My dad couldn't be on stage with them, since he wasn't related to any of them. So he has been trying to get them to work up their 2-3 songs. For months. Then, in April, one of the boys, J.O. went nuts, changing schools and quitting the band. This leaves two boys. After some scrambling, one of the boys from the first band, Anthony, pulled in his little brother and taught him the bass in a MONTH, so they could play at the park.

One of the other boys, J.S., still wouldn't come to practice. And he blew the show. The boy that had been playing a month played better.

So Dad is ready to quit them. The band was one reason that he and Mom had been reluctant to move down here. Dad felt obligated to them. He always wished he had been given that sort of mentoring. In all honesty, Dad could have been a session musician in Nashville, if he had known how to go about it. Or played with a band. He's not front man material, but he is a heck of an instrument player.

So today is our Memorial Day reunion, and I am heading to Cabot with two of my kids (the other one being at Disney World today, marching in a parade). And I will hear some of the best gospel bluegrass played anywhere on the front porch of my cousin's house.

And I will avoid it, as I always do, because as much as I have tried, I have never really developed a liking for bluegrass.

Friday, May 29, 2009

What's up with me...

Yesterday, I spent the day putting my 16 year old on a bus for Florida. We had to get her an ID card (since she hasn't taken her driver's test yet), money, food, and guide book. That took all morning.

Then, I had to take W to see his counselor in West Little Rock. Which means a fight with my GPS because she wants me to take a bizarre route. I get off the Interstate on Financial Center Parkway, but then she wants me to turn off of Financial Center Parkway to get to an address on Financial Center Parkway. This makes me crazy. I do, however, appreciate the fact the she can get me the right exit (and that she can take me to Sam's Club or Garden Ridge on the way). However, these quirky malfunctions make me a bit crazy.

After the counselor, we went by the 4-H office where I took care of (more) details for the camps this summer. I also signed W up for an illustrated talk at Regional O'Rama. Mea won her spot at regional-- in fact, she won two spots and had to choose.

Anyway, W will be giving an illustrated talk on Consumer Economics. We brainstormed about what he could talk about. We talked about budgeting or budgeting resources online. Then we hit things we can do to lower utility bills. So he and I brainstormed things to do to make an existing house "greener." If I can just keep him off the RPGs long enough, I think he could do this.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


How can serving food for five people on a daily basis be so hard? I mean, I have a refrigerator, a deep freeze, an oven, and a crock pot.

My great grandmother had a wood stove.

I have a pantry full of food, in cans, waiting to be turned into meals.

My great grandmother canned everything from peaches to green beans to pork. Only then did she ever begin to cook.

She also hauled water, built a fire, and cooked. Then she heated water on the stove and washed dishes. Cooking for her crew was about a full time job.

For me, though, cooking is not my job. It is what I have to do *after* my job. My dh, on the other hand, does his job, then comes home and waits for supper to appear. By magic. Occasionally, he does the dishes (not as often as he thinks he does) or he puts something precooked from Sam's in the oven (or microwave). He *never* cooks. He will look at my pantry full of food and ask me what there is to eat. Seriously.

So, this is my problem. My belief in equality aside, if I am ever going to consistantly have nutritous meals, I am responsible for making sure they happen.

So I flirt with organization.

I have books like Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer: Great-Tasting Meals You Can Make Ahead
and the The Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet: A Month of Meals Made Easy
(if your idea of Gormet is chicken and pasta, you're there) and even the Woman's Day Cookbook.

What I should probably do is to quit trying to find a system, and just start. Cook a week's worth of food. I can do that, right? I'll be off more this summer and won't be selling a house or taking six hours of PhD level classes.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Where I come from...

This is where I am from...
These pictures were taken between the "main" road (the paved county road) and my parents' home.
I've been to several states, and five countries in Europe, and no where can compete with my home for sheer natural beauty.

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