Wednesday, June 30, 2010


For the last month of school all I longed for was summer. And now that we are in summer, I am still looking forward to that summer break. Yesterday's frantic schedule had me in the car for no less than 16 stints behind the wheel. All the while I longed for the opportunity to set my house in order. The chance to finish folding the laundry or to clear off the kitchen table so that we could eat a meal rather than eat around the piles of Shack stuff and fluff.

I think the schedule relaxes July 19th. Here's hoping I can hang on until then.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Middle School Harbor Cruise

My life seems to rooted near water as of late. Which is a good thing. Last night I chaperoned the Archdiocesan Middle School Harbor Cruise. The most traumatic part was driving into and out of town. The youth played a version of A Minute to Win It; totally cool. And then the take home message: Our daily decisions, small and big, form the foundation of our lives.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Friends bearing snakes

Yesterday friends came over to introduce to some of their own Wildlife Kingdom. Swifty is the sweetest little snake and soon was a hit with the entire household. A real cutie.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Since discovering that someone, short, plump, and forceful had pushed between the house and the garden fence with ideas of gaining illegal access to my tender veggies, I have been waging my own private war with the backyard wildlife. When the apple with peanut butter didn't reel them in, for the past week, the frontal assault has been baited with watermelon, with no result -- but for the dining pleasure of a few hundred ants and a slug or two.

Then yesterday, mid afternoon, there was this blatant parade among the clover.

Aghast, I shot this surveillance photo, which sent the beast of my garden burden scurrying for cover. Now I had just been out weeding the hill garden yesterday and there was no sign of a subterranean home sweet home. But the backend swagger of the enemy suggested I scout the area again.

And much to my surprise, tucked beneath some lilies I discovered our neighborhood census had increased by at least one. With renewed determination and a fresh slab or two of watermelon I set the table right outside their front door. "Come and get it," read the big sign with an arrow flashing -- "Waddle this way."

While we ate dinner inside, after every bite or two, I was instructing the youngest to stand up and see if we were sharing this meal with the furrier set. Nothing. The middle one asked, "What are you going to do if you catch a ground hog?"

Despite having a teenage guest over for dinner, I gave my usual reply, "Dance naked in the street."

Of course shrieks of laughter, maybe even gales erupted from the table. The eldest smiled and said, "I have an image." I thought her smiling was good -- since it was her guest that was over. And I was reminded of how my own father would say things at the table, when I had the teenage guest over for a meal. I guess this apple didn't fall far from the three. But I digress...

Comments followed about the numerous car accidents and police escorts that may or may not happen. For dancing naked in the street is my standard answer for showing unbridled glee and happiness. Like when the children return to school... but I digress again.

We finished eating. Faster than any backyard wildlife, the children scurried for cover, avoiding the whole clearing of the table, and clean up detail. I let them. Alone in the kitchen I puttered. Then as the last of the chores were done I cast another glance out the window and gazed upon my captured guest.

Forwarding address supplied upon request.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


My last stained glass class for a while, and I finished this for the Haitian Art Show which will be in August. It feels good to have completion. Putting the channeling and the tree on took most of the class. I hope someone loves it enough to buy it. But then again, if it doesn't sell I know of a great Shack up in God's Country...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wooosh there went the weekend

I woke up Saturday and the next thing I know it is Monday. Craziness! Summer is here, and time is flying by. But there was one moment of pause yesterday. One place where I sighed the sigh of relief.

After an all day step dancing competition, which is another blog story, I still had the task to cook for Father's Day. I had planned for this by baking the pie and making the rice side dish Saturday. But still at 4 PM, after driving, sitting around for hours waiting for your dancer to dance 15 minutes and then waiting again to get results, and driving home -- I really don't want to cook...

Anyway, the man of the day came into the kitchen with the instruction for the girls to get the table set. Then he asked me what he could do to help... If I hadn't put the sound of his voice to memory, I might have had to turn around to see who was talking.

"You could cut the roast into steaks," was my answer. And it was done, while I made the bacon bourbon cream sauce for the meat.

Then the question came, "When should I light the grill?" Again, I was speechless. Being so used to just getting my stuff done without the outside help.

"After the sauce is made." Overcooked steaks, especially on Father's Day is a big big no no.

Sauce and salad made, rice reheated -- steaks grilled and dressed. Dinner was topped off with a nice bottle of wine, rhubarb pie, and having the girls clean up the kitchen -- so Mom could rest.

Be still my heart -- was this Mother's Day?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day One of Summer

Technically summer doesn't start until Monday, but today is the first day of the girls' summer -- no school. So what are they doing? Work books; English Comprehension and Spanish -- followed with a chaser of Math.

Yeah, I'm terrible. But what the heck. I'm a mom.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mutual of Omaha

This past weekend, while making pancakes for the post sleepover breakfast, I spied a hefty ground hog, a mama bunny and her baby eating the clover that make up back lawn. They were all a far distance from the house and I laughed thinking that Marlin Perkins and his Mutual of Omaha wild life team could not be far behind. For this summer, our backyard seems to have it's share of guests. Chipmunks under the porch. Field mice, voles and moles running through the garden on the hill. The rabbits nesting under the garden shed, and a ground hog, which I have seen lumbering under the 6 foot stockade fence that surrounds the backyard.

This year, I had no fear about my garden. For I had planted beets, peas, corn, lettuce, green beans, basil, tomatoes and zucchini within a fenced in enclosure, safely tucked right up next to the house. Unlike last year, when the garden was under constant attack of slugs and ground hogs, the plants were growing beautiful and lush. I had peace. Let the bunnies and the woodchuck have the yard and the abandoned unfenced garden behind the shed. All is good. Live and let live.

And that was my philosophy until yesterday when I went out to my little patch of vegetable heaven and noticed someone has been eating my pea plants and beet tops. Aghast, and shocked -- I was speechless. Someone had pushed past the fence stake at the corner of the house, traipsed over the zucchini, basil, and tomatoes and ate my pea plants. Then stepping gingerly over the lettuce mowed down my beets.

This is war; a take no prisoners affair. I had turned a blind eye to the munched out brown eyed susans, after all they are suppose to be blooming, unprotected and unguarded on the hill. And I wonder, does this garden prowler think I spend all my gardening time, weeding, watering, and admiring for their gastronomic enjoyment?

I have piled up rocks to close the gap between the house and fence. The outside lights are set to come on when something walks in their path. And I have our trap set and baited with an apple, a gala, smothered with peanut butter; it's eviction time in the city. No longer will I look lovingly out at any beast that grazes the lawn.

Last night as we were going to bed the outside light came on and there, next to the fence was a huge rabbit. Not the six foot kind, but the kind that would fill a nice cooking pot. Probably helped to such a healthy esteem on my vegetables. I yelled. It didn't move. I scratched on the screen. It sat tight next to the fence. I wished for a large rock, but having nothing but clothes and furniture at hand, I went down stairs and walked outside to shoo it away.

"Are you sitting up all night to guard the garden?" my husband asked.

"No," I answered, hoping the trap would have a heart to protect our garden plot. I'm thinking razor wire and electric fencing is next. All of this, just so we can have a few fresh veggies. I wonder if our guests ow and ah and gush, "Oh look, the banquet is being laid out once again. What nice people live in that house."

Note to backyard guests: Not nice anymore.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

See the tree?

I am working out the pattern for the tree truck. First in paper scraps, then in copper foil that will be tinned with solder. One more class and this window will be done.

What am I going to do next? I am a devotee of Monet and have always wanted to make some impressionistic piece. Maybe this is that time in my life. I have a lot of scrap glass lying about and would love to use it. Maybe some flowers, or water, or Haitian eyes. Many of Betsy Bowman's pictures are of children and it is their eyes that first caught my attention. (As with all the pieces for the art show in August, it is one of Betsy's photos that the idea for this window is taken.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Obama's Gulf Promise

On the news this morning the report was given that during Obama's speech this evening (8 PM eastern time) that he will make the promise to restore the Gulf Coast to better than it was before the spill.

But the bigger question is: What about the people whose lives and livelihoods have been shattered by this spill? Are they going to be left homeless, uninsured, unemployed, unable to make a living, pay their basic bills, or put their children through college?

Yes the environment is important. Tourism is important. But the innocent people who live by the Gulf are more important.

Let's see what our President has to say about our people.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Babies and Bath Water

Once again, a priest has been placed on leave due to allegations of sexual abuse. Is there truly a case here? Is this man of God guilty? Time will tell. Still, once again the Catholic religion is being shaken by those who are suppose to be the scaffolding for the faith. Am I shocked? No, disappointed yes, but not shocked.

Since the huge explosive revelation of abuse (6)? years ago the presence of such scandals in this world religion and others has made headlines all over the globe. And with each expose my heart sinks a bit. People bestowed with the job of teaching their god's word have let their people down. People in the position of power instructing their followers to kill themselves, kill others, sexually offer themselves, give all their worldly possessions towards the wealth of their faith. So that they are closer to their god, will meet their god, touch their god, enhance their faith. You name it -- the promise has been made. I guess in these cases the baby needs a time out.

Since when are these ideologies the word of God? Yes, some will argue: READ your bible. It's in there. But I chose to follow a different path. I chose to recognize that the scaffolding is shaky, but faith and religious underpinnings are two different objects.

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Girl Party Aftermath

I have seven sleepy girls laid across my living room floor. Each one has her strengths and her differences, but together they are one happy group. Everyone included. Everyone supported. Great party middle one. You done good.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Day in the Life

Yesterday when the man headed out for work, he asked, "Will you have time to run an errand?"

My reply, "I don't know. Our appointment at the giant kid's hospital in the city is at 10:30 (AM). We should."

"Good," and he left.

Our trip in took over an hour. Garmin said we would make land fall at 9:33; it was more like 9:50. Traffic and construction, but we never really stopped, so I considered it a successful first leg of the trip. Parked and checked in at 10:05, I figured we were in good shape.

10:55 we were brought to a room. I could hear the drs, for we always see a gaggle, in the next room. Oh joy, could we be next? Is it possible we could be in and out with errand time to spare? Time passed. I started to do annoying mommy sort of stuff with the patient. Laughing every time she started to lose her tween cool. "Mom, you are so annoying," became her mantra, as time ticked by. The sound of the drs voices, but a memory.

Did they remember we were here? I did see our name on the big whiteboard, where it was clearly written when we arrived, and what time our appointment was to be -- all right let's try for a ball park same day time here.

Tired from all my annoyances, I retreated into a cell phone game (I'm winning!) when the patient says, "It's 12..." I shake me head. If the doctor walked in NOW earliest we would be out is 1. Would I even make it home in time for the 3 PM pick up? Breathe mommy.

A knock on the door and our all time favorite big hospital doc walks in. "Have you been waiting long?" He glances at the chart. "Yes you have. Sorry for the wait."

Really are you sorry? I don't ask. This doc is the best, the reason we are here. And he is leaving the big city practice to go home to Chile where he will be at the University. Darn! The kid likes him; trusts him. I like is knowledge, care, availability and responsiveness. We had been trying to get this appointment since January... through normal channels. Nothing, then the knee swelled and I emailed the doc himself to see if he had some magic with scheduling. The appointment, one of his last in this country, was made and taken.

"We should see you again in December, sooner if it acts up. We will probably be seeing you before that..."

My quick response, "Will that visit involve round trip plane tickets?" Laughter went up among the gaggle. The Head of the Department, another wonderful doc hands me his card. "Call me when you need your next appointment."

And I will. Tired, but happy with the result, we leave, buying the hungry patient a sandwich at the hospital lobby. Mommy is treated to a bite; lucky mommy.

The ride home is stop and stop, with an occasional go. Exhausted I swing by the elementary school and pull the young one 30 minutes early. My reason, Mommy is too tired to come back and get her. It's been a day.

And no the errand did not get run. Dinner required magical construction followed by a flute lesson.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I've moved on from stress eating...

to stress cooking. LOL!

Yes, instead of eating, I have been cooking. Last night I made chocolate rice crispy treats, angel food cake, and Girl Scout s'more brownies. Of course, I'm not eating any of this stuff. The girls are all excited. Mom is baking again...

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Let There Be Light

We needed the dining room table for game night so my daughter got propped up in front of one of our living windows.

And I am making headway on my latest piece for the Haitian art show. Another couple of weeks and it will hopefully be done. What will be next?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Back to the Banjo again

It has been a very busy spring: work, scouts, church, home, here and there -- crazy. And all through the busy crazy whirlwind of schedule the trusted banjo stood by. A reminder to take the time to pluck away and relax.

Strangely the week before I got my job, Arthur said, "It must be nice not to have to work?" I laughed and replied, "When I start to work, I will have to stop banjo lessons." That next day I got the call for a job. I'll remember that lesson for a longtime, as it was my last lesson, to date.

The job was temporary. It came. I worked. I loved it. It's over; but summer is upon us and with the lovelies home there is no time for lessons until fall.

And now, with work over, and projects finished the call of the banjo is loud and clear. I have been practicing again. And yes it was a bit rusty at first, but I can actually hear progress, which might not be progress for those who don't have an appreciation for banjo music.

It is so good to sit and play an instrument. The mind and fingers get a workout, and there is music made to boot. I can't wait to have the opportunity to play in the still of the morning, as the sun rises over the water... I wonder if the neighbors enjoy the banjo...

Sunday, June 06, 2010


... this is going to be a very long night... Followed by an even longer week.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Neighborhood Gifts

Love thy neighbor. Yeah, right. Our neighbors and their guests think that no one, no kids, nobody lives on the other side of the fence. That one or two empties tossed over, every so often, go to the great trash can in the sky. Yeah, right.

Friday, June 04, 2010

BP Bankrupt?

How much do you want to bet that BP will go bankrupt and walk away from the mess in the Gulf? The government has sent BP the first part of the clean up bill, 69 million dollars. For what? The mess is getting worse. The environment is ruined, people's livelihoods are gone. How many years until the Gulf ecosystem is viable again? Who is going to support these families? They shouldn't be held responsible for their bills. Will BP take over paying their mortgages, college payments, utility bills, medical, food?

I say BP walks away -- clean and free. I say its executive officers will continue to live high and mighty while those folks along the Gulf lose everything.

BP -- feel free to prove me wrong.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wise Women

I am so lucky to be surrounded by very wise women. Friends that are constants in my life. There for me, with wisdom and support. Offering respite and cheer. Where would my life be without them?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Beach and Away

It has been a whirlwind of mommy away time; lucky mommy. First puttering about at the camp, and then down to the beach to sit, walk, talk and enjoy the company of a dear friend. What a lucky mommy I am to have had these past few days. Multiple chances to sit and read, listen to the birds and the surf.

Driving back to reality today was a bit jarring. the do list grew the closer I drew to home. I am quadruple plus booked this afternoon: Bio presentation, the promise of tea and chat, quilt delivery, an appointment followed by an evening concert.

It is time to see grace in all that is before me. Time not to worry over tight schedules, but to enjoy the brisk pace of life.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

No need for DSL really

When we get away, it is really away: no phone, no tv, no internet. The girls are out playing, riding their bikes, fishing, fighting... cooking marshmallows. They are out, and not sitting. There has been talk about phone, and internet: for mom.

Really I don't need it, don't want it. No worries; I'm good.