Thursday, May 31, 2007

Memorial Day

Officially Memorial Day commemorates and honors those who have died in active military service for our country. We talked with the girls about that and also remembered those in our family, past and present, who have served in the military. The list includes grandfathers, fathers, uncles and cousins. Specifically we are thinking about Uncle Bunker, Aunt Raegan as well as Nathan (Daniel's cousin). They have all served multiple tours in the current conflict in Iraq. Our thoughts are with them. This picture is of the cake we made.

scavenging, collecting, and conserving

Daniel thought I was going to think he was crazy when he asked me to use the van to go get a load of broken up concrete. He had already made a bed out of some other old concrete he collected before. I thought it was beautiful. So instead of giving him a hard time I offered to help. We drove a few miles down the road to where someone had taken up the sidewalk and loaded huge chunks of sidewalk into the van. Altogether Daniel has brought home 3 loads of the recycled blocks. He then began cutting it with a hammer and chisel and stacking it.

Around this same time he saw a bunch of bamboo that someone had chopped down from their backyard. It was stacked up on the side of the street. So he asked the homeowner if he could have some and he carried home 2 big bushels of it. It makes great steaks and teepees for the garden.

Even before we got the concrete and bamboo we started thinking about how nice it would be to have a rain barrel or something to catch rain water and use on the garden. We've seen them in gardening books but they are very expensive to order and seem so simple to make. The hard part is finding the barrels locally. We heard from a friend that we might could get one from a pepsi, coke or beer plant in town. So daniel began calling and even went by there twice until finally someone knew what he was talking about and was happy to hand over 6 large food grade plastic barrels. We'll keep you posted on how the project goes. We know several people who are looking to get a barrel from us already:) By the way, Ellen took this photo.
This is obviously a picture of the garden. Notice the sunflower is blooming and it is at least 7-8 feet tall. Look at the monster squash plant to the right of the pic. Can you believe how big it is? We've already started eating it and it's kinda scary to think of how much more we will be eating:)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Seven years we have been married. We decided to celebrate by spending the day in Charleston. We played at the beach for a few hours then drove downtown for a long lunch and a stroll through some of Charleston’s historic sites. It was a beautiful day. The girls were pleasant and had a great time. Most importantly, I got to spend the day with my best friend, my husband. When you first get married you hope and dream about the future. Well, I could never have imagined how blessed/lucky I would feel 7 years later. I love you Daniel and I am so thankful for the family that we have together.

Friday, May 25, 2007

e dance

ellen is 3rd from the right.

a dance

arianna dancing to swan lake

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


After their performance they were presented with flowers from daddy. It was a very special day. Grandaddy william and MiMi were here to celebrate with us. I can't put into words the feeling I had sitting in the audience watching our girls on that huge stage. With tears in my eyes I was so proud. I wish you could see their faces--they were so proud, too. They danced beautifully!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dress rehearsal

The girls have their dance recital at the big Koger Center downtown this evening. Arianna is dancing to Swan Lake and Ellen is doing ballet too but I forget the name of her song. Anyway, they have been talking about this day forever. I am not exagerating when I say this. It is is true that ever since Ellen's dance recital last year Arianna has been asking when her recital would be. I've been saying next year, in 6 months, in 2 months, 2 weeks, and now it's today. They are so excited. It's the first thing they talk about in the morning and the last thing they talk about in the evenings!

Yesterday was the dress rehearsal and so I was the mom who got to go back stage and help for Arianna's class. This is them watching another dance.
Arianna on stage doing her passe so beautifully.
Girls in the dressing room. They were in 2 different dances -- it was just a coincidence that the costumes were the same colors.
Ellen on stage. It's kinda hard to see but she's right in the middle of the picture about to turn.
All year long they have had classes back to back on Wednesdays. Arianna's class was first and then Ellen's. Thankfully there was another family that had girls the same ages so Ellen would play with the older sister during Arianna's class and then Arianna with the younger sister during Ellen's. They became good friends and that made ballet class that much more fun since they got to be with there friends. This is the girls at an ice cream shop having Sorbet cones as a special treat after working so hard at their rehearsal.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

garden continued

Right now the cool thing to do is to walk down around the garden after dinner and check out all the new baby vegetables. Look under the mammoth squash plant; there are some cucumbers bursting off the vine! Look at the squash exploding off that stalk! Hey, check out the maters growing under those leaves. The gourd squash sends out tentacles grabbing at the teepee frame. The pumpkins race out gripping hold of whatever they can, and pushing out baby pumpkins at every turn. The basil reaches for the sky undaunted by summer heat. The beans race around the fence as if intentionally striving to reach the other side. The mint doubling its leaves at every cut, the thyme pillaging the side of the wall it hangs over, and the rosemary-strong, sturdy, and filling the air with its sweet perfume.

There is no better reminder of the very pulse of life than the planting of seed and bursting forth of fruit. It is sensual, cerebral, and mysterious all at once.

We should be the generation that returns to local gardening as a part of a return to healthy, vibrant, independent living. We should be the generation that plants something sustainable in every yard we inhabit with the hope that the next home-dwellers will benefit from the fruit. How anti-capitalistic can one be than to plan for the sustenance of those one will never meet or profit from.

Racism and the Ns

Several weeks ago Jennifer and I got wind of a N rally taking place on the Capitol steps. I had attended a protest several years ago in Raleigh and decided it was worth the effort for us to protest this one as well. Good education for the girls as well. There are few things that sicken me more than racism especially of this blatant sort. My grandfather fought bravely in WW2 to prevent just this type of ideology from spreading and now the government protects their right to recruit and rally on the most hallowed of civic spaces where equality and justice are at least symbolically represented.
Here is the problem with racism: it misses its target completely. There simply is no scientifically verifiable "race" criteria. In other words, if one were to look at the genetic factors that map on to skin color one would find them completely irrelevant to ancestral ties. So that a "white" and "black" person might be genetically closer to one another than a "white" to "white" comparison. The point is that "color" marks NO significant indication of any other traits. YOU CAN'T USE IT TO MAP or CARVE groups. Doing so is akin to collecting people based on some other irrelevant factor like number of hairs on the back of the hand. What would this have to do with intelligence, ability, or anything else? There simply is no RACE. RACES do not exist.
Now, and quickly, for all those who are screaming out that there just are differences between "groups" that must be accounted for let me address your point. YES, people are different. Yes, nature has created people of quite a variety within the incredibly limited domain of the human species, but what is important is that color of skin bears no indication of that ability. Difference abounds. It abounds so much that the similarities between members of different "races" would make them more genetically homogeneous than marking the groups by color. Race does not exist. In order for their to be "races" there would need to be some mark, some "essential" property that members of that group all had. NONE EXISTS, PERIOD. SORRY.

So, we went to protest the rally. Fortunately this group was more like a circus than a well organized scary machine. Hitler would have been embarrassed. Unfortunately, I was at times embarrassed by the circus that I was surrounded by. My sign read "Support a hate free Columbia" while my fellow protesters chanted "N- should die!" It was rather sad.
But, my real point for posting this, besides sharing another glimpse of Kruidenier life, is to alert people to the continued existence and growth of terrorist groups within our borders. Yes, and lest you think this is a Southern problem, N- are based in Michigan and growing more rapidly in the North and Midwest. It is their outright and public ideology that Israel should be "nuked", that there should be a racially "pure" America, etc. They prey on poor "white" Americans in hopes of deceiving them into thinking they are fighting the good fight against the evil races destroying high Anglo-Saxon culture. It is a sad commentary on our culture that we so passively allow such groups to thrive.
The rally also generally sparks widespread "free-speech" debate. That is a whole-nother topic, but one I have been thinking about intensely. I think it is best though, to remember three things: First, the issue is speech not thought. Second, speech is an action, and like any other has consequences. Third, there is no such thing as completely free speech. In other words the question is not whether to have free-speech or not, but to create a criteria that fairly delimits the difference between censured and free expression. There is no getting off the see-saw.
OK, for those of you who made it, you'll be glad it will be some time before I post again.

friends from Indy move to SC!

I have a handful of very close friends spread out between Indiana, North Carolina and now Virginia. I was so excited to find out my friend Shael and her family were moving to Greenville which is only about 90 miles away. I'll give you a little history of our friendship. We met after I'd been living in Indy for about 9 months. We were at the Old Navy store in the Mall that was right down the street from both of our houses. Her daughter, Lily, started playing with the girls and I can remember the girls being shy at first (as always) but soon didn't want to leave because they were having so much fun. Shael and I exchanged phone numbers (yes it was like we were going out on a date!) If you are a mother you know what I mean:)I've found that moving and trying to meet new people is like dating. You get to know someone and maybe exchange numbers and sometimes the relationship works out and sometimes it doesn't. Well this one did. I'm sure we both had no idea how close we would become. So, even though we only lived there and shared lives for a little over a year it seems like we've known each other forever! Now I'm just waiting for Claire, Lesley and Anna to move within 90 miles!

Since Daniel had the day off on Friday he stayed with us most of the day and spent a lot of quality time with Cole who is their 1 year old son.
The girls played, and played, and played. So Shael and I looked at houses and chatted over coffee.
I made a cake and we celebrated Lily's birthday while they were here. Since she couldn't have one with all her friends in Indy it worked out perfectly that we could all share her 5th birthday!
The reason for their visit to Columbia and move to Greenville was for Tom's job. He had been in charge of the Dinosphere-- a huge life size exhibit of prehistoric animals in the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. He got hired as the Director of Education at a new kid's museum they are building in downtown Greenville set to open in 2008. He was taking the girls for a ride on a dinosaur in this picture. Thanks for bringing the fam to SC!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

mother's day

We drove to Charlotte and my mom met us at the mall for a few hours of shopping and hanging out. We had a blast window shopping, throwing coins in the fountain and having lunch. We had dinner by the pool with Gail (my mother-in-law), Anna and Mike and Stephen. Then we spent the night with William. We also spent Monday in Charlotte at the museum and visiting with our wonderful family! Sorry I didn't get any other pictures of the rest of the family:( I'm soooooo glad to be close to family again.

Daniel's done

He finished his semester with all As once again. He worked hard as always and now he's got a short break before he begins teaching over the summer. He will be teaching 4 classes between Midland's tech and USC. Last weekend he took the girls downtown to listen to free music and they also did a little shopping together. Here the girls are showing off their new skirts.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

botanical gardens and horse back riding

I've mentioned the zoo several times on this blog but I don't think I've talked about the gardens that are attached to it. Almost every time we make a trip to the zoo we spend time riding a tram over the river and up a hill through the forest to the gardens. We have enjoyed observing the changes in the gardens each season. The Clemson extension office is located there and they have classes for kids and adults and people there to answer questions. There are fountains, tons of art, and a kids pretend planting area. This last time we were there I brought my camera and pretended to be a photographer again. The background was beautiful but I didn't actually get any good pictures of the landscape because I focused on the girls' faces.

Ellen pose
I call this one snap pea. We usually take snacks and take a break at the tables in the garden and this picture captures Arianna with her favorite food.
Pretend garden

The zoo gave us free pony rides after going to 3 homeschool classes.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

quote of the day

"Hey mom," Ellen said, "Can we pollinate our fingernails?"