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Preview: adventures in home-making

Alina's Adventures



The adventures of a restless, skinny-dipping-prone girl with three kids and a partner living in a tiny castle in Alabama. Sometimes it feels too good to be true.



Published: 2017-07-09T13:55:42-05:00

 



Every day, I miss my mother.

2017-07-09T13:55:42-05:00

Prophet sneaking into our morning bed... Describing grief is like allowing a bathroom stall to open as you pee-- to permit the stream to continue, pee anyway. No one knows how to respond or help. Should they step up and...



And so I wake....

2017-06-09T22:33:48-05:00

I hear real peace comes from loving one's fate, not just accepting it, because life is as it is and how one responds is what yields happiness or discontent. Loving your fate without trying to fix it, without asking the...



Springtime, blooms, and all these pretty fences.

2017-04-08T09:43:46-05:00

To avert my gaze was to fall back into something from which I had been rescued, a hole filled with nothing, and that was the word for everything about me, nothing. Jamaica Kincaid, "On Seeing England For the First Time"...



Hanging out at Hurricane Creek before the clean-up.

2017-04-08T00:37:31-05:00

Tulip trees When the King walked through the door at 5:45, I was ready to catch the sunset at Hurricane Creek. The kids were hungry, but I crossed my fingers and decided to see if the magic of a place...



Aldridge Gardens Plant Sale on April 27th.

2017-04-07T23:35:46-05:00

A great resource for gardeners, naturalists, and home educators seeking to engage the native plants with their children and families. We had a great time last year-- and our blueberry bushes are flowering! Aldrige Gardens also offers a menu of...



The month of March...

2017-04-06T19:55:14-05:00

Flew past. The month of March beat its wings overhead in a migratory fashion and sought shelter elsewhere. These days fly by so quickly it's as if time, itself, has chosen an alternate nesting ground. I can watch it pass,...



A new poetry micro-chap.

2017-02-01T11:09:23-06:00

I have a new poetry book available from the beloved Anchor and Plume out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Ipokimen is an intersection of hair, ether, and poetry where cover art concept and design came from the combined neuro-cellulotic wranglings of...



Relics from daily life.

2017-02-01T10:31:46-06:00

My mother, the immigrant-- and her immigrant children. I. Milla wanted to go and look for "birds and fishes". The vast disparity in habitat descriptions did not in any way impinge upon her consciousness. So we started walking near the...



50+ essays and articles to self-educate on fascism, populism, and modern totalitarianisms.

2017-01-28T18:53:42-06:00

These are days to love the world enough to understand what we are up against. These are days to take your children to marches. To teach history with protest signs. To give young persons a voice that is their own--...



A few photos crushed against songs, upstaged by lyrics.

2016-12-11T17:43:04-06:00

Mama and her little sister, Sanda. I can feed this real slow, if it's a lot to swallow..." What I want from this is learn to let go No not of you, of all that's been told But killers reinvent...



How to give thanks that is not focused on stuffing our faces with turkey.

2016-11-22T09:41:01-06:00

There is so much to sift through and so much to process during this holiday. I am balancing love with the selfishness of wanting to be "liked" or hoping that I can love others with no cost to my social...



Our America is better than this: My hopes, fears, and HOPES.

2016-11-15T00:26:13-06:00

Inspired by local PRIDE celebrations last month. It's been a difficult week for this country. It's been a difficult week for our children as well. For the first time, my kids watched the presidential debates as part of a homeschooling...



Claire Datnow's wonderful, Alabama-based eco-mysteries for middle schoolers.

2016-08-15T10:01:48-05:00

Pond Slider Turtle, Limestone Park, Alabaster (photo taken Boris Datnow at bioblitz in Alabaster, Alabama) At the Alabama Writer's Conclave last month, I had the exciting opportunity to attend a workshop on eco-Mysteries and ecological fiction sponsored by the amazing...



Darryl Patton, "The Southern Herbalist", shares his plant knowledge in Hoover tomorrow.

2016-01-29T10:36:24-06:00

Tomorrow afternoon, you have the chance to learn about wild foods and foraging with Darryl Patton, "The Southern Herbalist". Darryl will take kids and parents on a fascinating tour of Southern plants that can serve as food and medicines. "Wild...



That poetry book in the pipelines.

2016-01-26T11:48:59-06:00

Gnome and the King discuss "is" and "ain't". I haven't been blogging as much, and I miss it. I miss the soft chorus of voices and faces from around the world. The wisdom of other mothers. The creativity and ingenuity...



Ice skating adventures in Pelham.

2016-01-26T11:23:07-06:00

Booted and ready to test the ice... Late last year, we went on a ice skating adventure at the Pelham Civic Center, which has special hours and classes for homeschoolers. Then begins the extensive period of wall-crawling... Gnome on a...



Beautiful holiday crafts and gifts to make with family.

2015-12-21T13:40:55-06:00

Not even the mantle is ready.... The holiday overwhelmingness hits home. So not ready this year. Ready to sit and drink mulled cider while barking orders to invisible elves and then begging them to forgive me for being such a...



How to celebrate the year's most wondrous night... our winter solstice.

2015-12-21T11:53:24-06:00

“Though my soul may set in darkness, 
it will rise in perfect light. 
 I have loved the stars too fondly 
to be fearful of the night.” Sarah Williams Bela Bartok's "Winter Solstice Song" The purpose of a ritual is...



DIY holiday dioramas.

2015-12-20T17:20:18-06:00

This holiday season has been a challenge. Traditions which assumed mom's presence gape open, untouched. So much of what we know and love requires reconfiguration. A frosty tree ornament. With an oft-heavy heart and un-nimble fingers, we try to make...



This year's holiday playlist.

2015-12-20T17:02:57-06:00

One tiny beautiful world filled with all sorts of brothers and sisters. A beautiful gift for the girls from Suebee and Pops. And now, some music....



"Elbows", a poem by Minnie Bruce Pratt.

2015-12-09T15:42:17-06:00

I've been immersed in a mind-bending book by Alabama-born author and poet, Minnie Bruce Pratt. Titled, s/he, the book explores her life as a fe/male and poet and mother and partner. It is beautiful, heart-wrenching, bone-on-bone stuff. I am so...



A short fiction inspired by "Light Enough To Travel", a Be-Good Tanyas tune.

2015-12-08T10:31:42-06:00

I was listening to "Light Enough To Travel", a song on our wedding CD, when the story took shape. Remembering how important it felt to never be owned by Things. To remain free of Objects. To keep our love and...



What P. and the kids did while I made a fool of myself at the Alabama State Poetry Society retreat last month.

2015-12-08T10:10:22-06:00

Feeding creatures at Oak Mountain. Gnome gets up close and personal. Nothing like a goat. The latest issue of Kindred on my dresser. You can purchase a copy from Anchor & Plume. I have two poems in it, among many...



Cultivating empathy for the dyslexic child.

2015-12-06T17:53:39-06:00

When she was a toddler, we used to joke, "Prophet help, Prophet help..". Because she always wanted to help. And she still does. Reading Robert Frank's The Secret Life Of A Dyslexic Child and imagining how the words jumble and...



Discovering a time when Leonard Michaels lived in Tuscaloosa.

2015-11-23T16:09:17-06:00

Because I have never read a writer who can put so much tension in a single sentence and call it "prose". While searching for his essays online, I found a passage in Mary Ward Brown's Fanning The Spark: A Memoir,...



A paean to unpretty meadows.

2015-11-05T20:01:45-06:00

I don't remember where I read that our conservation ethos is biased in favor of pretty places. Maybe it was Muir. Maybe the comment was actually about wilderness. Either way, it struck me as an unethical approach to conservation. Similar,...



At the UA Arboretum with Suebee and Pops.

2015-11-04T13:54:42-06:00

Suebee flips through The Tuscaloosa News which, of course, is not exactly the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She and Pops were thrilled to pose for this morning photograph in the front yard. Thrilled, I tell you. Suebee and Pops came for the...



10 must-read articles about education.

2015-10-28T12:23:00-05:00

A good education gives you something to stand for. "The Democratic Education of Unschoolers" by Astra Taylor n+1, November/December 2013 "The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland" by Tim Walker The Atlantic, October 2015 "Educating Ourselves To Oblivion" by William Astore...



"Visitation", a prose poem by David Shumate.

2015-10-27T15:01:48-05:00

Fall is hammocks by the fire. I'm slightly in love with David Shumate's book of prose poems, High Water Mark. Apart from admiring his craft, my affections tend towards the particular. I am grateful for his "Prescription For Insomniacs". Because...



The summer I want to forget without forgetting, somehow, these moments.

2015-10-24T18:52:18-05:00

My life divides on the date June 18, 2015. The date mom died. All the details fall into categories of before and after. The photo above is a before. A photo from mom's iphone which she took on our last...



A stunning secret garden in Holt.

2015-10-24T17:35:06-05:00

It begins with flowers out front. Earlier this summer, the King snuck the kids to visit the home of a lovely Holt couple with brilliant green thumbs. The knockout roses demanded attention. None of the half-hearted blooms you find in...



A few recent things.

2015-10-09T09:47:35-05:00

Just because you call this home doesn’t mean home is not a form of self-defense. A band-aid heals but remains a barricade. The flag waves but has no hands. Mexican-Americans pour over lower borders like beetles from a moist log...



The nature cure: Why the only cure for now is nature.

2015-09-26T15:56:21-05:00

The Eldest shows Amy a discovery at Tannehill. In the latest issue of The Atlantic, James Hamblin explores the emerging profession of "ecotherapy". My heart skips and cartwheels to see Richard Louv's name quoted in a mainstream media outlet. Children...



"Goodbye Tuscaloosa", a poem by Bruce Smith.

2015-09-25T13:37:22-05:00

I read the poem in a 2014 issue of Five Points and I spent all morning being struck-- and restruck-- by it. It's a beautiful paean to the time from 1998 to 2002 which Bruce spent in Tuscaloosa, "equidistant from...



A conversation with Gnome about fairy names.

2015-09-23T11:26:35-05:00

What is your fairy’s name? I don’t know. Yet. Cause Micah named it but I don’t like long hard-to-member name cause I wanted her to be Violet but Micah named her fairy Violet. First. What are you looking for? In...



My Partner's Matchbook Collection.

2015-09-10T14:03:01-05:00




My favorite untranslatable words.

2015-09-06T19:42:12-05:00

Full moon off The Transylvania. The kids frequently ask me to translate a Romanian word for which I can find no simple English match. Over the years, they have learned to expect definitions which extend like kudzu in multiple directions...



Faith without works and the people of Syria.

2015-09-06T14:16:44-05:00

A fascinated Gnome. Today I made it through communion without crying. It's the first time I've done so since Mom's death. Granted, I cried in during the final hymn as we sang the word "perish" because perish is such a...



Watching from a distance, the weather.

2015-08-26T16:35:51-05:00

Calls for bikes and being outside while my mother's estate calls for phone calls and phone calls and phone calls (most of which must be repeated to another person because someone mistyped a word and the world is nothing if...



Admiring "The Female Man."

2015-08-26T16:01:35-05:00

Getting the air ducts cleaned out. Oh there's nothing quite so titillating and gut-wrenching as a weekend spent re-reading Joanna Russ' The Female Man. It should be required reading for any college freshman literature course. It should be the invisible...



Mark your calendars for the First Annual East Alabama Book Festival.

2015-08-24T16:41:28-05:00

On Sunday, October 18th from 1:00 to 6:00 pm, The Gnu's Room is hosting the First Annual East Alabama Book Festival at Town Creek Park in Auburn, Alabama. The Festival will feature authors, publishers, local original music, vendors and more!...



Reading an essay by Wendell Berry with flowers in my head.

2015-08-24T15:44:47-05:00

Prophet and Gnome cozy up to what they call a dandelion gigantosaurus. I came across an old essay by Wendell Berry in which he dissects the challenges of poetry and language in the present. His regard for history and tradition...



"Stagger", a poem by Maureen Sherbondy.

2015-08-16T22:05:43-05:00

I first read this poem in The Broad River Review but then found an online copy at Connotation Press. The simplicity struck me- as well as the rootless texture of life since mom's death. Stagger Leaves stagger into the grass,...



The view from Keystone mountain in summer, and then that book by Elissa.

2015-08-16T15:39:25-05:00

Yes, there is snow atop the Colorado mountains in the month of August. I finished Elissa Schappell's Use Me last night. Truth: I started reading it early this summer and then lost it in the pile of books beside my...



Nodding while reading Nikky Finney's interview.

2015-08-13T14:53:54-05:00

Water riffling off Montezuma Road. Nikky Finney grew up in the South, and graduated from Talladega College in Alabama. She was "always trying to say the really hard thing in as beautiful a way" as she could. As a child,...



Friday Farmer's Market in Dillon.

2015-08-12T15:41:27-05:00

[Photo borrowed from Summit Daily.] Last Friday, we woke up hungry for local honey and decided to drop by the Friday morning Farmer's Market in Dillon. There were more vendors than we imagined- and a plethora of snacks and sips...



Bill Withers and the Blue River Trail in Silverthorne, Colorado.

2015-08-09T15:45:33-05:00

<> Gnome pouts with tree. My sister passed over a few magazines last month and one had a neat interview with Bill Withers that set me to thinking. When asked about regrets, Bill said everybody has regrets but the key...



10 beautiful sights in Summit County, Colorado.

2015-08-05T00:05:21-05:00

1.... our dear friend, yarrow. [Peaks Trail] 2.... clouds reflected back from the waters of Lake Dillon. [Dickey Trail on Frisco Peninsula] 3...... monks in their purple hoods. [Rainbow Lake] 4.... the eldest lounging between tree roots, his cheeks obscured...



Things to do in Summit County, Colorado right now.

2015-08-03T00:50:12-05:00

Prophet ogles an aspen stand on our ascent. Today we hiked to Rainbow Lake in Frisco. We thought it would be an easy and straightforward hike but we took a wrong turn and wound up following Peak's Trail for a...



July 22nd, you should have turned 67.

2015-07-26T15:47:58-05:00

The anger is yellow but not golden like mamaliga. Mamaliga has mama in it. Mamaliga can be made into boulz. The anger is not a delicacy handled by shepherds. Everything we love has been handled by shepherds. But not anger....