Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The first 10 that came to mind

In no particular order, some particular summertime pleasures:
  1. Sleeping in
  2. Waking to birdsong
  3. Arnold Palmers (that is, ice tea and lemonade, mixed about half and half, over ice)
  4. Music from an ice cream truck
  5. Feeling lazy, and being lazy
  6. When the heat breaks, just before rain comes
  7. Grilling a simple dinner
  8. Badminton on the front lawn
  9. Sprinklers
  10. Staying up late to stargaze
I'm wondering what's on your list, and thinking about my friends on the other side of the world who are basking in their own particular wintertime pleasures at the moment....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Trails!

Admittedly not my finest photographic effort, but here's a look at Dean from 7:30 this morning -- making final adjustments to his gear before packing up and heading out. He's going on a hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire's White Mountains for 4 days and 3 nights, along with 9 classmates and 2 teachers from school. Although he has a "no-nonsense, and don't take too long taking this picture" look on his face, he was so eager to get going this morning.

If you've been along on the journey here for a while, you know that this is a pretty major breakthrough. Dean hasn't been interested in leaving home during the summers, preferring day camps and being at home. It was hard for me to accept this -- much as I adore him and having him at home -- because my summers were all spent at summer camps where I'd be for weeks, camping in the woods and miles away from home and I always felt he was missing out.

But in typical Dean fashion, when he's ready to do something he's all over it, and this was a perfect opportunity to go with an outdoor expert (one of his teachers is a certified Appalachian Mountain Club guide), with people he knows and trusts. I'm so proud of him, and am looking forward to his return home with all the stories he'll have to tell.

S'mores. We'll have s'mores for dessert when he gets home Friday night.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Always something to smile about on a summer Friday


Thanks so very, very much for the kind words and support. We are doing our best to take our time, breathe deeply, support each other, and find joy where ever we can.

This photo of Ken and Dean isn't super current -- a trip to a local Mexican restaurant at the end of May -- but it's sort of just quintessentially them, and us; we're savoring little events like this to lift our spirits.

Friends of ours in Ireland were kind enough to send Dean the World Cup insert from their Sunday paper a few weeks ago. Here's Dean, really the moment he opened it, filling in all the results to-date. It was wonderful to see him learn right away how to do all the math calculations to know which teams had to do what (win, by how many goals, while that team ties or that team loses by two) in order to get out of the group stage. He's faithfully kept the chart up each day, and now we're poised for the last two matches this weekend.

Spain, being the team of our beloved Fernando Torres, was our top pick all along (since we knew in our hearts that the US wouldn't be advancing to the finals this time). Although he's had a tough tournament, the team has been brilliant and we're hoping for a win on Sunday. We'd like to see Uruguay take 3rd. With Ken's being of Dutch descent, we had a fondness for the Netherlands team until we saw them play -- WAAAAY too much flopping for our taste, and overall we just aren't as enamored of their style of play.

I tell you, I don't know what I would have done to get through the days if we didn't have the World Cup to occupy us. Viva la futbol!

This morning, after I dropped Dean and two friends off for their last day at zoo camp, I drove past a family that was clearly packing up the car to leave on vacation. It made me so happy to see them, getting the last of the gear stowed and full of anticipation for where ever they were going. It's lovely to let someone else's joy be contagious.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I would like to turn a corner

I would very much like to leave the sorrow of the first half of this year behind me now, and move on to a period that is, at the very least, uneventful.

Last week, I lost my very dear friend, my confidante, Dean's beloved aunt and godmother, Lori. She was killed as a result of a gas explosion in her home; the resulting fire leveled the place. Her wonderful daughter, our niece Hallie, is getting married at the end of this month -- she's going ahead with the wedding because Lori would have wanted that, and because I think having something, something happy, to keep her occupied is helping in some way to navigate through this grief.

I don't know how common propane tanks are in the rest of the U.S. or elsewhere in the world. For homes built in areas where there are no natural gas pipelines, one can choose to have propane gas tanks to fuel a gas stove, a hot water heater, and sometimes the heating system for a home. We don't have any kind of gas in our home; Ken has always been steadfastly against it.

But it's common in New Hampshire, where Lori lived. PLEASE -- if you or anyone you know has any kind of gas service at home, remember that if you even think you might smell gas just leave immediately (don't touch anything!) and call the fire department. Feel foolish if you must, but be safe. Don't dismiss it, don't wait until tomorrow to have it checked out.

Lori was effusive and generous with her love. She never, ever missed a chance to say, "I love you!" and if you managed to be the one to say it to her first she'd reply, "I love you more!" She was kind, thoughtful, thorough, and brave. She'd been through so very much in her life, and all of it made her stronger. She didn't waste time on regrets or indecision. She never missed a birthday or holiday.

There will never be another like her.