Saturday, May 23, 2009




I love being able to walk around the garden to see the changes in a day -- sometimes even hour-to-hour. We put up a hummingbird feeder yesterday, at Dean's request (we do get hummers in our garden already; my understanding is that unlike other birds you won't attract hummingbirds by putting up a feeder so if you don't already have them coming to your yard then there's no point) and it's in a spot where we can keep an eye on it for action.

Last night, when I walked the dog around 8, I was overwhelmed by the perfectness of the evening. I'm not exactly sure what the temperature was -- low 70s? -- but it was absolutely perfect. No noticeable humidity. The sky was giving off a pink glow of light; it wasn't just the clouds that became increasingly tinged with pink, it was the air, the atmosphere itself. It was an "if only it could always be like this" kind of experience.
The first putt of the first game of the new mini-golf season yesterday afternoon.
We had one of our favorite courses all to ourselves. I had two -- two! -- holes in one and was winning for the entire game, until we got to the 18th. My worst hole of the game, and it allowed Ken and Dean both to tie for first and leave me behind by one stroke. Is there in fact an overriding force in the universe that's actively engaged in ensuring the predictable outcome? I'll be in a better position to answer that question come Labor Day.

Next week we all go on Dean's class camping trip down on Cape Cod. An overnighter, with time to explore the tide pools and beach. We've got to get all our camping stuff organized this weekend. I'm hoping that the trip gives us an introduction to a camp site we'll enjoy, since our old local favorite has become totally overrun by RVs.

There are unbelievably only three weeks of school left. Miles to go before we sleep. I've been regretting how little time I've been able to spend here in blogville and have been thinking about what I'd like to get out of the summer (I do work a bit, but I'll have 6 weeks off). I've been sorry to see so many friends going offline recently, and it reminds me that there just seems to be a cyclical aspect of blogging. I think I'm poised to spend more time back here, but I'm open to other possibilities too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Where I Stand in the Countdown

1. Got my boy back. Dean spent 3 days and 2 nights here, and came home talking about how he can't wait to go back again next year. Lots of dirty laundry, lots of evidence that he did not take a shower or brush his teeth the whole time -- despite statements to the contrary. Oh well. That's part of the whole deal, I guess. One of the many reasons I love our school is because it is about life lessons, not just academics. It's about learning through direct experience. Going away and spending 3 days doing the hard work of farming teaches you about plants, animals, food production, weather, history, and about how you manage to do things you didn't realize you could do. It teaches you where milk really comes from. It teaches you that you can survive without your mother hovering over you, constantly asking if you need eye drops or a tissue or another dose of Benadryl (it's allergy season, big time). It teaches you that you can get to know and appreciate people in new ways when you break out of your usual routine and roles. And maybe even it teaches you to appreciate home in a new way, too.

2. The new computer is in the house, but probably won't get set up until the weekend. That's cool. Nice to know it's close.

3. Still not much happening in the get-up-and-go department. Keeping the faith, though, that I'll kick back into gear. Soon.

I think that, aside from cleaning up my craft room (again -- I know, I know), I need to embark on some new project to get me going. I need to find something that's going to drive my excitement about summer, and that's going to give me something to show for the season. I need something to give me some creative challenge -- I think I'm feeling sluggish because I don't have anything other than work and home-life demands rolling around in my brain, and I guess I don't feel the fun of getting all that stuff checked off the list to make time to do what I want to be doing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What I Am Without

1. I am without my boy. Temporarily. Dean is on a class trip to a farm, not so very far away (under 2 hours). He left yesterday, waving merrily from the windows of the big shiny school bus, loaded with kids and luggage and teachers and all the various medications, lotions, sprays, and other necessary tools of survival. I drive up to the farm tomorrow to pick him up. Three days, two nights away from home. Poised to return, I believe, triumphant in his success and filthy after all that farm work.

2. I am without my computer. My own, home computer. Ken surprised me with a trip to the Apple Store on Mother's Day, and they now have my hard drive there while they transfer everything to a new machine. I am getting used to the whole big idea of this, but am anxious to have a machine with all my stuff back on it. It's a very vulnerable feeling to have all your stuff somewhere else, all your digital stuff which turns out to be more than you thought it was when you don't have it anymore. Temporarily.

3. I am without my get-up-and-go. Temporarily. Sluggishness brought on by too many loose ends, too much to do in the next few weeks.

What's missing for you?

Monday, May 4, 2009

So this pig walks into a bar

In a way, it felt like the opposite of a "desert island" question. You know: If you were stranded on a desert island, what (book, movie, person) would you want to have with you? Or perhaps the "if you could take one material possession with you as you left your home in a disaster situation, what would it be?"

Only the exercise was: If this is one of your last opportunities to lay in a supply of essentials ahead of a pandemic that could disrupt food supplies and/or negate access to public places such as grocery stores, what will you buy?

Apparently toilet paper and coffee are very important to me.

My trip last Friday to the giant warehouse store was made not simply because we were almost out of toilet paper, but also because we believed it prudent to stock up a little. While we are the kind of people who take things like pandemics seriously, we are also the kind of people who understand that without the capacity to afford and store a 3-month supply of everything we might need (including water, given that our well pump requires electricity to operate) then the exercise is more about temporary peace of mind. But peace of mind can be important. Feeling that you are doing something rather than nothing, and that the 'something' isn't counter-productive in the long run, can be important too. So we've got 72 rolls of toilet paper (hey -- giant warehouse store -- remember?) and enough coffee, sugar, and evaporated milk to get me through a host of mornings. I learned that the ingredients for making chocolate chip cookies felt important to me (retaining a sense of normalcy, and ignoring the electricity question since the stove is all electric), as did soup, pasta, rice, and peanut butter.

What I also found interesting at the giant warehouse store AND at the regular grocery store on Saturday was that retailers were expecting me. Hugely overstocked supplies of bottled water were very evident at both places. What I also found interesting was that I appeared to be the only shopper thinking the worst. Clearly at the giant warehouse store I was the only person with an apocalyptic agenda.

Rather than feeling relieved or foolish, we are simply hopeful that the news continues to improve on H1N1. We understand the science, as much as lay people can, of what's coming, even if H1N1 does not turn out to be 'it.'

And we go about our lives, continuing to clean house and mow the lawn and do laundry because you can't stop living. We keep going to our soccer games, too.

Dean, in the green, continues to love the game and to play it with passion. Last week (when this picture was taken) he scored a goal and had 2 assists. This week, he had his first foul called on him. As it happens, he and the other player were both going for the ball and the other player tripped over his own feet -- we and the other spectators were closer to the action than the referee (although none of us would ever question a ref's call). But the fact that Dean 'might' have fouled someone was interesting to all of us -- Dean, me and Ken, the other spectators. It has taken Dean years of playing to get a certain degree of competitive edge about him. He is as polite and non-physical a kid as you would hope to meet, and had generally applied his rules of good behavior (take turns, give people their space, don't bump or otherwise use your body to get your way) to his soccer game play.

We would always rather have a child who is kind than a child who does whatever it takes to win. We would be mortified if he ever intentionally caused a foul by pushing, shoving, kicking, tripping (as other players in his league do). But we are happy to see him learn to appropriately stand his ground. We are relieved to see him fall and then get right back up again. And we are happiest to see him feel good about a game regardless of the score at the end.

Wishing you good health, seasonally appropriate weather, and everything you need to make chocolate chip cookies in an emergency.