Monday, January 28, 2013

terrible phone pictures of christmas

I should just rename my blog 'terrible phone pictures of ___' and make things easier. We actually own a nice camera... it just never seems to go anywhere with us. Or when it does accompany us, like it did to Jane's Christmas pageant, it's inevitably out of batteries, or flashing some obscure F-stop message to me, or I have the wrong lens for the occasion. 

And so, to immortalize Jane's truly magnificent and epic performance, I have only these blurry, poorly lit iphone pictures. 

You'll just have to take my word for it. She went and told it from the mountain. She bore gifts from afar. She wished you a Merry Christmas. And I cried during Friendly Beasts like I always do. 

We made many cookies. Most of them were consumed in dough form. If my blog were a procedural crime show, this is when you would say 'zoom and enhance the upper right quadrant' and although nothing would happen, because it's a blurry iphone pic, you would still be able to see Benjamin conning what is surely more than his fair share of cookie dough. 

The other great dough stealer in this family has so mastered the craft that she actually augments her thefts with cinnamon and sugar. Her Nana might also be culpable in this specific incident. 

A Christmas morning stocking explosion. I think everyone in this picture has a piece of chocolate in 
their mouths.

This is one of the few pictures I have from Christmas morning and it shows Wren, back to a giant stack of unopened presents addressed to her, totally immersed in a book about dragons I got for 50 cents at Half Price Books. She's such a great kid.  I don't think she poked her head out of the book for more than 30 minutes all day. That and Settlers of Catan Junior were two of her favorite gifts. #nerdzz

I don't know about your family, but few people in my family actually eat any pie on Christmas. Or maybe just the tiniest sliver at like 7:30 at night instead of dinner. Pie is really sort of laying in provisions for the rest of the week. The next few days will consist of maybe opening a carton of yogurt for a child, shoving a bit of turkey into a crescent roll, and calling it dinner. At least that's how I roll. And pie is obviously breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack. 

And for all other meals there's check mix. I still need to do a roundup of the Christmas gifts we made, but it'll have to wait for the next episode of Thomas. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

walk in the bastrop woods

Chase and Will went and looked at their dad's land in Bastrop last Christmas, but that's the only time any of us had been out there since the fire. This weekend we packed snacks and went out to explore.

Most of the tallest pines are gone, of course, but many of the ones that are left are showing some signs of life. The twisty trunked post oaks look so strange out of their forest context, now that you can't see the pattern of shade and sunlight they were trying to navigate. I guess for a while the oak trees will get to grow straight up. 

Everything on the ground level seemed pretty thrilled about all the rain we've had lately. Lots and lots of beautiful mushrooms. 

Benjamin found some Beauty Berries, and had fun finger painting with them...

Not much nutritional content, but not poisonous either. 

The soil on the land is sand on top of clay -- with all the brush burned out, and the shade gone, it looks like erosion is taking a toll with all the rain. The cut through the land seems deeper, and (gasp) is actually full of water. That was very exciting for Bear. 

We counted the rings on the old trees and thought about what was happening in the world when this 100 year old pine had a great few years back in the mid 60s. 

And we were excited to see, every now and then, a tiny new pine tree -- poking up through the sand.

The bones of recovery are visible, but the devastation is still obviously the most evident thing about the land.  The next time we go I'd like to bring a 50lb bag of piney woods wildflower seeds... see if we could shift that balance a little bit.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

keeping track of my Kates

I know them by their geographic locations, their interests, hobbies, the baby showers and parties they're invited to, or that their kids are invited to. I know when they need to take their dogs to the vet, when they need to go to the dentist, when they bought a new book on Amazon or are late returning some books to their library. 

I'm speaking, of course, of the other Kate Vincents out there in the world. Florida Kate seems to be the most likely to cause trouble.  Of course. Florida, right? She seems a little loose in the old... code of morals? Obviously as a feminist I object to the idea that any human can be "stolen" but, you know, if I didn't, I think she'd be sort of a man-stealer. 

Australia Kate seems pretty cool. She rides her bike a lot, gets invited to a lot of parties. She's got a couple dogs, 2 small children, and a very fun loving and boisterous group of friends, including someone named Hammish, which is fantastic. 

Louisiana Kate reads a lot of vampire porn on her Kindle. That's... really all I have to say about that. 

Oxfordshire Kate is turning 40 this year -- congrats Kate! Her husband is planning a surprise party. They seem to be doing well - comfortably upper middle class, for sure. They have kids, but I think they're in high school -- old enough to be doing most of their own party planning and net working. 

This is one aspect of a technologically interconnected world I did not anticipate. I, like all humans, used google for the first time to search myself. Back in 1999 there was only one other Kate Vincent on there, and she was best known for suffering a terrible brain injury, mostly recovering from it, and founding a center that authored a guide on the study of brain injuries. The Brain Injury Guide. Her website was therefore BIG KATE. 

I was thrilled. 

There are lots of Kate Rodens out there, but I wasn't searching that name until 2002. At this point at least some of them are me. My etsy shop makes it to the first page of results! Anyway I used to have to go looking for myselves... but not anymore. 

I was relatively early with the gmail adoption, and thought myself lucky. I wasn't early enough to get kateroden@gmail -- so somewhere that Kate is no doubt writing a rambling post about MY life and inability to correctly share my email address with my friend community. 

I already have a kate@roden address anyway, so the next name I tried was katevincent... and I got it. I was the first of my apparently numerous tribe. All following Kates had to resort to dots, dashes, the dreaded tilde.... middle initials even. The horror. 

So I was happy to get the address.... for about a year. And then gmail became everyone's email client, and all the other Kates started giving their addresses out (sloppily, apparently) and the mail began creeping in.  Australia Kate got invited to a BBQ (of course she did) Amazon would like to know if NOLA Kate was satisfied with 'Sheathing Her Dark Master's Blade' (of course she was) and some poor girl in Nebraska emails Florida Kate to ask if she could please stop sleeping with her boyfriend, or if not, at least tell her, so she can break it off. 

KATES! Get it together! Shut it Down! I know it's not really your fault, ladies, if other people can't get your address right. And listen, I will probably put y'alls addresses down the next time the dentist or the vet asks for mine -- I understand a little intentional misdirection. But listen -- you need to know those books are overdue. You're missing play dates, Australia Kate! You'll hurt your friend's feelings! And Oxfordshire Kate, how is anyone going to RSVP to your party if you give them my address? 

Florida Kate, listen....I think we both know you need to make a lot of changes. But let's make "correctly disseminating my email address" one of those changes for 2013! Okay ladies?! May 2013 be the year of GIVING PEOPLE YOUR OWN DAMN EMAIL ADDRESS! 

Alright girls! Good talk. Break!