Friday, December 26, 2008

We have peas and carrots for Christmas!

Now, you (I) can say all the negative things you (I) want about Texas, but we went out to the garden this morning and picked peas and carrots and had them for lunch. I made some couscous and dropped the veggies in there fresh with a little olive oil and salt. We MUNCHED out!
Y'all stop by and we'll pick some food!
Michele and Finnigan the Curious

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And to all a good night.

One little boys sleeps, dreaming of snow and Santa and Daddy.
One mama stays up, wrapping and loving and being still.
I wish all of you love and peace and pure joy.
Merry Christmas, dear ones.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bold The Things You've Done

This has been going around blogworld for some time. I love this kind of stuff so here's my Bold The Things You've Done list:

1. Started your own blog. Obviously. Joyfully.

2. Slept under the stars. Oh, my, yes.

3. Played in a band. In my dreams.

4. Visited Hawaii. Can you believe I lived in LA for 10 years and never went to Hawaii?

5. Watched a meteor shower.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity. Yes, often.

7. Been to Disneyland/world. Disneyland as an adult with my mama and brother.

8. Climbed a mountain. Nothing impressive, but, yes.

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang/played a solo

11. Bungee jumped. I can't imagine ever doing this.

12. Visited Paris. Oui! Oui!

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. Glorious. I miss sailing so much. Wonder why I don't just do it?

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. I guess. All my art is from scratch, really.
15. Adopted a child. I truly, truly hope to someday.
16. Had food poisoning. Blech, yes. I've also had "food poisoning" many times on Monday mornings.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. What a beauty she is.

18. Grown your own vegetables. Joy Joy Joy!

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France. So tiny! REad the DaVinci code, if you haven't.

20. Slept on an overnight train. Mmm, yes. I LOVE trains.
21. Had a pillow fight. Every day.
22. Hitch hiked. I've watched too many horror films.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. I've taken sick years!
24. Built a snow fort. Just wood forts.

25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping. Whenever possible and at the drop of a pants, er, hat.

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse. I remember it so well.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. Both. Some of those sunrises were not so great, if you get my drift.

31. Hit a home run. I've scored a home run though. Hee hee.

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person. No, but Finn really wants to go so, maybe this year?

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. Erin Go Braugh!

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language. The language of a loving heart is what I'm learning right now.

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person. He drives a Humvee, if you know what I mean.

41. Sung karaoke. Documented, even.

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant. Buying food for the homeless is one of the greatest pleasures known to mankind. Try it sometime!

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance. I don't remember it though.

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing. Absolutely broke my heart to see these great fish caught. I'd never go again.

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater. I grew up going to Showtown USA. No kidding.

55. Been in a movie. Ahem. AND on The Price Is Right, in case you're not impressed already.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business. Several. In my mind.
58. Taken a martial arts class . Qi Gong with Master Li.

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies--I've eaten plenty, does that count?

62. Gone whale watching. Saw them too! Life changing, indeed.

63. Gotten flowers for no reason

4. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check. Oops!

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. I found 2 old dolls of mine when I was in college and then lost them again. Boo hoo.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt. No, but I've tried to learn to knit for about 20 years.

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job. Not that I can think of. It's possible that it happened during some "lost years" though.

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book. You can too.

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. I've cooked crabs before. I could never do it again. Having a child made my heart absolutely destructable.

88. Had chickenpox. No, but I have a natural immunity to them.

89. Saved someone’s life. Supposedly, I saved Sam Magee from drowning. I have often thought that perhaps Sam "wanted" to be saved.

90. Sat on a jury. Got the boot due to my "history".

91. Met someone famous. ML + MG = Love 4ever. Hee hee.

92. Joined a book club. I'm in one now.

93. Lost a loved one. My Daddy and my sweet babies.

94. Made a baby. I made some, but only got to have one. I miss them all every day, every minute, every second with all my heart.

95. Seen the Alamo in person. Go Vols!

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake. Nope. But the first time I flew over them I thought the plane was going the wrong way and we were over the ocean. Really.

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone. Blah blah blah.

99. Been stung by a bee
The End


Merry Merry Solstice!

My favorite day of the year. I think I shall always regret not getting married on the winter solstice. Why didn't I? Hmmm. Good question with different answers depending on whether I'm being positive or negative that day! Oh well, maybe we'll celebrate 10 years of marriage on the solstice.

We started our day by helping with our neighborhood's annual Lighting of the Luminaries. We have a big, long ditch (Arroyo Seco) that runs through our hood (and sits right outside my windows too). Every year at Christmastime, we collect hundreds of plastic jugs, cut the tops off, put sand in the bottom and place a little tealight inside. Then, at 6pm every night we light them and at 10pm we extinguish them. It is sooo beautiful to see an entire street lit with lovely white lights. Really dreamy. It was so cold today that Finn and I volunteered to drive our truck up and down the street and place the jugs on the arroyo. Finn got to ride in the front seat and I got to stop and start and stop and start and stop and start. It was fun.

We were starving afterwards so we went to our secret IHOP. It's just crazy that no one is ever there! Even on a Sunday at 11am it was practically empty. Then we came home and did our annual decorating of the trees in our yard. We usually decorate some of the trees on the arroyo too, but it was so darn cold and windy that we just did one and called it a day. A delicious long winter's nap followed and soon it will be time to go to the airport and pick up Uncle Roo. At last!

Hope y'all are having a wonderful holiday season and don't forget to say a little thanks to the earth and sun and moon and stars.


Michele and Finnigan the Curious

Tomorrow: Tales from the bus stop at 11PM! (ugh) and some pictures from Jackholt.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Most Bestest Dream Ever

Finny woke up this morning and said, "I had the most bestest dream ever last night. I dreamed Daddy came home and gave me a present. It was a Daddy toy that I could keep here while he was gone."
We miss you Daddy. Glad you're showing up in our dreams.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Polar Express

There are some things so magical they defy description. Taking our boys to ride The Polar Express was one of them. If you've never seen the movie, watch the trailer HERE
The movie is an amazing rendering of Chris Van Allsburg's book by the same name. It's one of the first movies Finny ever watched. I found out this year that all over the country passenger trains are turned into The Polar Express for a few weeks during the holidays. The Austin trains were all sold out so I went digging around and found that Palestine, Texas has a Texas State Railroad system and that tickets were still available. I decided to make it a surprise for Finny. I found a pocket watch on Craigslist just like the one the conductor uses in the movie. It even has a train on the front! I found him a robe just like the boy in the movie wears (although he refused to wear it, he does claim to really like it). I wrapped these up and gave them to him the night before we went. I was SURE he would know what the surprise was as he is such a mastermind, but he didn't. Because we were going with Bowie and Autumn he kept thinking we were going to the beach for Christmas (wishful thinking!). The drive took 3 hours and we all had a wonderful time talking and being silly. We stopped and bought crap to eat and drink. We stopped to pee. We stopped to think about peeing. Such glorious fun with 2 babes who are not babies anymore, but fun, fun people. We got a hotel room, ordered pizza and ransacked the room properly. I finally told Finny where we were going and he was VERY excited. The whole thing was just picture perfect. The train depot was very big and gorgeous and totally decorated to the nines. The boys got their "golden tickets" and we boarded car #46. The ride was JUST like the book; staff dressed like chefs doing cartwheels and back flips, hot chocolate and candy, the music from the movie playing, all the children in their pajamas. The train rides for about 30 minutes while they serve the drinks and candy and a taped voice over reads the book aloud. THEN, all of the sudden, you hear a murmur then a rumble then all the kids start yelling and everyone runs to one side of the car and you see...THE NORTH POLE! A huge lights display with Santa's house and Santa with elves waving from the porch. The train stops and everyone dances in the aisle while you take pictures. After the train starts up again, the workers start coming up and down saying they THINK Santa is on board. Oh my...he IS! He comes down the aisle and gives every child a silver bell (just like in the movie) and signs books (he signed ours: Merry Christmas! Love, Mr. C). The conductor comes and clicks your ticket just like in the movie.
I am not kidding, I had to turn away a handful of times as I was just downright weepy with the love of it all.
I absolutely ADORE with all my heart being a parent and being able to provide my child with such magic. I am so grateful to Jack for working like he does so that I can stay home with my child and live a totally FREE life. I never, ever want this to end. Living the life of radical unschoolers is a gift I could have never imagined for myself in a million years. And, yet, SOMEhow I manifested this and here we are. Our life together is not perfect, it is hard at times, BUT it IS magical and it IS free and it IS a way of living that I would not trade for anything in the world. Ever. I do hope, at some point, we can find a way to share the experience of earning money so that Jack can be at home more. I continue to believe that we will and I continue to ask the Universe to keep me open to the possibility of it.
Y'all come over and we'll pop some corn and watch The Polar Express.
Michele and Finnigan the Curious

From Austin to Antarctica

It's just so weird to me that we are here and he is there and it's still the same planet. It is hot and muggy in Austin today. Not in Antarctica even though it's summer there. These are some pictures from Jack's photo album
You can go there and peruse pictures of Antarctica and the many thousands of pictures of airplanes and vehicles (my boys LOVE things with wheels).
We've been able to communicate quite well this year via phone, email and the coolest thing ever - Skype. It's a kind of computer telephone and we also have the camera thingee so when Jack calls we both turn on our cameras and we can see each other! It's just so neat and crazy. I'm such a technology recluse, but I really like Skype.

For those of you who have asked:
Nope. Polar bears live in the North Pole.
Ditto for Santa.
Yes, he will get to see some penguins.
It's summer there, but, no, it is not hot.
That is true, the sun stays up 24 hours a "day." No nighttime at all. Boo.
Yes, they do pee (sometimes) through a hole in the wall to avoid having to go outside.
Yes, your snot will freeze.

More later, the babysitter is here and I must run some errands.

Michele and Finnigan the Curious

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day Two

Today Finny and I went hiking with the dogs at Turkey Creek. We took a backpack full of holiday ornaments and hung them in the trees here and there along the trail. Last year, during the winter, we saw some ornaments hung on this same trail. At the very end of the trail was a little altar covered with the most precious assortment of winter/Solstice/Christmas things. Little gnomes and Santas, acorns, pine cones and moss. Homemade snowmen and bits of tinsel. Just the most lovely thing. I wanted to do something like that for someone else this year and we had SUCH fun deciding where to hang each ornament so that it would be most appreciated.
Afterwards we were starving so we headed over to a restaurant in our hood called Fuegos. We'd never been there before, but had heard great things. I had WONDERFUL fish tacos. Turns out the owners are from Orange County, CA and have been in Austin just 3 years. The tacos had that great California feel to them. Mmmmm.
The coup de grace of the whole day was our venture over to the south side where we spent several hours (and quite a bit of money, gulp) at a CARNIVAL! Oh, I have such wonderful memories of being a child and going to fairs and carnivals. My parents were wonderful about taking us to these things. I think there was one every year at the Gateway Center. At least that's what I remember. Finny and I are SO much alike that it is just a joy to do these kinds of things with him. He and I both wanted cotton candy right away and then to walk around and scope it out before deciding what to do. We rode the caterpillar roller coaster, we did the Wacky Shack and some kind of crazy obstacle course bouncy house extravaganza thing about 30 times. Whew. He "fished" for a prize and won a coveted Batman dude. He also netted a rubber duck which got him a plastic whacking bat. We rode some crazy fire truck thing that goes high up in the air and then just sits there. He didn't want to ride any of the baby rides by himself. I asked him if he was scared or worried. He sighed, "Mom, I'm not SCARED of the baby rides. I just like to be with you all the time because we're fun." Oh my. We do have crazy fun and we are crazy in love.
I asked Finn if he wanted to drive home on the highway or through town - he chose town (my boy!). We were forced to stop and eat pizza on the drag. The had organic root beer in the bottle AND board games to play. Finn routed me at Candyland twice. I'm so grateful for the growth I've experienced with parenting. There was a time when I would have had judgemental apoplexy seeing a mother and small child in a pizza joint at 10:30pm getting root beers and pizza. Now I know that carnivals only come once a year, root beers get 1/2 drunk (at most), pizza makes a great nightcap and one should never turn down a game of Candyland.
Day Two was awesome. Finny is awesome. My life is awesome.
Y'all stop by and we'll play some Candyland.
Michele and Finnigan the Curious

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day One

And so, Daddy is gone. We are so sad. It was hectic and stressful and overwhelming, but we all muddled through with tears and laughter, as usual.
Finny and I had a lovely day after we dropped Jack off. We went to Taco Deli and had our favorite breakfast followed by an awesome hike on Barton Creek Greenbelt. We went on the Spyglass trail in a direction we'd never been before. We played "Uncle Roo" and "lost boy" for a long time. Tis involves me being Uncle Roo and Finn being a child lost on the trail. Uncle Roo finds him and is his Daddy until Finn's real Daddy comes home. So bittersweet for me. We played Inigo Montoya and Fezzick forEVER. We watched some guys rock climbing. It was a lovely Texas winter day.
We also ICE SKATED today! Woo Hoo! Whole Foods puts up an outdoor ice skating rink each holiday season and Finny really wanted to go look at it. We had a delicious lunch out by the the stream and then headed up to the rink. We watched for a bit and then Finn declared that we should just try it and that "it won't be hopeless!" LOL. Where on earth did he get that from? So, we tried and we did it! It was wonderful fun and we felt brave and daring.
We've ended our night with calls to Daddy and watching a few Blue Planet documentaries. We're both tired from a healthy day of fun and adventure.
Good night, Daddy. We'll talk to you tomorrow.
And to you, too.
Michele and Finnigan the Curious

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Our Thanksgiving was so nice and normal and lovely. Before I was married and had a child, I used to dream of holidays with a full house; recreating family traditions that I grew up with; making my own family traditions.

One of our favorite new Thanksgiving traditions is going camping. Last year we missed our annual trip because our sweet hero dog, Beau, was so sick and dying. This year, with Jack's impending Antarctica departure looming, we decided to do a simple trip to Plantersville for the Renaissance Faire (more on that in my next post). We also took a wonderful family hike on Thanksgiving day, right here in our own neighborhood.

We live in the BEST neighborhood. I just can't possibly explain how wonderful Brentwood is and how grateful I am to live here. Running right down the middle of it is the "Arroyo Seco." It's a big ditch that runs the length of our part of the neighborhood and it is an endless source of fun and discovery. We headed out with dogs and wings. We made a marvelous discovery: a really big nautilus fossil! Austin is limestone city and we've got amazing fossils everywhere. Speaking of nautilus - we also rode a great ride at the Rennaisance Faire called the Nautilus Swing. I really love that - when a word that we don't usually come in contact with finds us twice in a weekend.
I'm so grateful that we're all here, happy and healthy, through another Thanksgiving. I wish we could all be together next year. I always really miss my mom and brother on holidays, even though I'm cool with us all doing our own thing. Life goes on and times change, but my heart is still a little bit empty without them.
Stop on by and we'll go take you to the ditch.
Michele, Jack and Finnigan the Curious
PS Photo of Jackholt by Finny