Monday, June 30, 2008
I love the slow pace of summertime, the way the weather just seems to give you a pass on anything except swimming or possibly lemonade. The kids and I did go pick berries on Friday, the reward for a Thursday of running from one appointment or lesson to another...maybe we were busier than I remembered. Anyway, they decided that blackberries were more fun to pick--we filled up a two gallon bucket in just a few minutes--but that they prefer blueberries. Not me!
Blackberries are the taste of weeks in the summer with my paternal grandmother, out on the side of mountain dirt roads in the blackberry brambles. I got to spend a week by myself with my grandparents in North Carolina, from the time I was six until I was going to summer camp at about ten or eleven. Each of those weeks...Mim was a former kindergarten teacher and was always up for a project or a trip. Papier mache, mining for sapphires, cooking, lake swimming, picking blackberries or her home-grown raspberries: I can feel all of these things like they were yesterday. The raspberries always seemed fussy and tame compared to the brambly, tart, fiesty blackberries I loved so much.
I wonder what my kids will remember from their summer days. Somehow, the blackberries in orderly rows, grown by someone and not merely from God's generous hand, don't quite measure up. Maybe we all need some wildness to color our suburban summers.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Please visit her Team in Training site and consider donating to this great cause. I have family who have been affected by various forms of leukemia, but she spends her day with it every single day. Here's a little about why she decided to run from her Team in Training site:
I am running for a wonderful boy named Johnny. He is vibrant and funny and into living life to the fullest. The things he can do on a skate board defy gravity! I diagnosed him with Acute Lymphblastic Leukemia several years ago. With the best treatments available and an optimistic spirit his cancer went into remission. At the same time that I committed to running this marathon Johnny's leukemia came back. While I'm traning this marathon, he's going to be fighting for his life. When I was visiting with him to ask him to be my honored teammate, he was taking the first steps he'd taken in weeks because he'd been ill. When I'm getting tired or sore I say to myself "If he can do that - I can do this!!!"
I have spent the last hour wedged under my kitchen sink wrestling with a nut. Or a bolt. Whatever. I've tried three different tools, been to my neighbor's house, my parents' house, and the hardware store. My son and I succeeded in removing the soap dispenser...victory!! (but just a lower-case victory)
On the up side, I am appreciating the value of a good plumber. Oh, and I didn't find any dead bugs under the sink! And yes, that is my flip-flopped foot in the picture.
While we were in Vermont I brought The Poisonwood Bible with me. LOVED it. I found it very realistic with a deeply engaging story line. The story has five different narrators, which might sound hard to follow, but for this story of a family of six in Africa the voices made the story richer. It's also a book that deals intensely with Christianity, and while it is by no means orthodox it (I think) deals very fairly with it. I am a Christian and take my faith pretty seriously. I find the ad hominem attacks on faith, particularly Christianity, a little tiresome. There was none of that in this book. I found it presented a complex, layered view of a family in a difficult situation.
While I was sitting by the pool reading I must have had a half-dozen people comment on the book, almost all very positive. So I'm late to the party, but it's a good party! I've since passed the book on to my dear neighbor and she's loving it, too.
Anyway, should you find yourself with time on your hands this summer, pick this book up. I was glad I did. Feel free to make book recommendations in the comments!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
To put it in a scientific way, I had thought that they were like gas molecules, expanding to take up the available space. But in reality they act more like a crystal, everyone with their ordered place.
But now they are all resting and quiet has descended on my home. The younger brother did say he was looking forward to staying up as late as he wanted...they share a room and the older one is always telling him to quit reading at night and put out the light.
(To my dear husband who checks in on this blog occasionally...we miss you both. Have a great time. We don't like being so few under this roof!)
Saturday, June 21, 2008
It has been almost 15 years since graduate school the last time, and longer than that since undergraduate. Back in the day, I only had my schedule to worry about--did I really want to take that 8 a.m. calculus class? If I took an extra class this quarter, then maybe I could finish sooner. These days, though, I have five other schedules to worry about: after-school activities, school events, work trips, and various volunteer things my husband and I are both involved with. So, I sat down to look at class schedules.
This was real, concrete. More definite that submitting an application, more definite than going for an interview, even more definite than going to orientation. This meant that I will be in class, studying and participating, for a set schedule. In the case of one class, attendance is mandatory, absolute and for every class. Did I really want to choose the afternoon Tuesday class? How about a twice-a-week option? At least that one meets during the kids' school hours. And how many classes? Can I handle three classes, or should I stick with two?
After many years of my time being my own...actually that is an illusion. But I'm consciously taking back time for myself and then handing it over to a school program. And probably the most important part of that sentence is that I'm taking back some time for myself, with real obligations and a set schedule. Not stolen moments in the morning, or an hour or three for dinner with my husband. This feels very different than that, staking a claim to a definite part of my week.
We'll see how this goes. I haven't PAID for these classes yet...
Friday, June 20, 2008
Anyway, Mary Beth has totally revamped her website. There is lots of information and her blog, too, and all of it is right here.
But while my white blood cells gear up for a fight, I am still feeling punky and tired. One of those days where I don't feel quite good enough to really do something, yet I know I'll get to the end of the day and feel guilty about the undone things around my house. For instance, clutter. Clutter is terrible around here. With four munchkins running around, they are kind of clutter-generating machines, so my standards are pretty low to begin with. Mainly, though, it is very trying to look at piles of CRAP just sitting around. Usually I subscribe to the FlyLady method, 15 minutes or 27 things at a time. That works better than you would expect...try setting a timer the next time you have to do a dreaded chore. You'll be done quicker than you think. That's what I'm going to do with the cat box, when I get around to it.
The children are all next door at my wonderful neighbor's house, in the pool. I can hear them just a little, and since it is early afternoon maybe I will just take advantage of the silence to take a nap. Tomorrow is another day. Fiddle dee dee.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
So, in my bacteria-imposed silence I've picked up some new yarn to work on a new scarf. It's alpaca, hand-dyed, something I found in a cute little yarn store in Stowe, Vermont, while we were on vacation. Now, I'm not some experienced knitter or anything. I taught myself about six months ago, and I've made a couple of scarfs and hats, very basic things. Also, of all things, dishcloths. Those are really great, and I'd like to have more of those. But this alpaca. Oh, dear. It is so fine and soft, and I knit so tightly in spite of my best efforts. I might have to find another project and save this lovely yarn for a different project. I guess I can give it until tomorrow.
With the strep I haven't even felt like working out today. Those Tyler Place pounds are definitely sticking around for a while.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Anyway, Ms. Cox has decided to spin this argument as allowing more time for testing, which is also, oddly, the reason they originally gave for starting school during the dog days. Whatever. I just welcome the prospect of a full-length summer again!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
The kids are busy the whole week with their programs in the morning and evening, freeing up my husband and me to participate in activities, or to just take it easy and enjoy time together. The food is nothing short of spectacular, and all of us guests (about 65 families) spend a fair amount of time marveling at the Tylers' warm, genuine hospitality.
I hesitate to even mention them because it feels like an exclusive club, as if there is some special magic I might mess up! But this is just one of our family's favorite places in the whole world, and so if my mentioning TP makes someone else interested in them, that is a good thing.
Being so removed from civilization meant we missed some really big events, like the fierce weather in Iowa, the floods and tornadoes. As we continue to suffer our drought here in Georgia the idea of too much water seems almost blasphemous. But there those poor people are, making the best of things as they watch their homes and crops and soil wash down the Mississippi.
And of course Tim Russert's death. I was lucky to see him as the keynote speaker at an actuarial conference several years ago. I came home and told my husband, "What a neat guy. He seems like the most normal, happy person I've ever seen." And all the coverage of his life seems to bear that out, too. As trite as it feels to say, my heart goes out to his wife, son and most of all his dad at this unbearable time for them.
Back to my real life. I think I gained at least eight pounds this past week in spite of daily bike rides and swims, so I'm going to try to work in a couple of fifteen minute walks along with my daily morning workout. We'll see. Surely these pounds aren't permanent.
One last note...my little travails with extra weight and extra laundry aren't meant to compete in scope or scale with the Iowa flooding, or even with one family's losing their center. These are just random thoughts as I try out this blogging thing.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
My intention is to post regularly on things that interest me, probably related to whatever is going on in our busy house and sometimes completely unrelated. I think I need to tell myself a quick check-in every day is a good idea, but I may not hit it every day. We've just come home from a terrific vacation and one of my friends there has inspired me to get busy. I'll link to her blog, and other sites that I really love. If you have a suggestion, or if you are a friend with a website, let me know and I'll add a link.
Some personal info here: I'm a wife of one and mom of four, a music lover, a big reader, and sometimes a political junkie. I also have about a hundred hobbies (so you can tell how good I am at most of those) and like to think about all kinds of ideas. I am (sometimes too) active at my church and (sometimes not enough) busy at my children's schools. And now I'm going to try graduate school, because I think this is something I'm called to do next. We'll see...sometimes my hearing isn't so good.
I suppose that with this first post, my blog is off to some kind of start. More in the coming days.