Saturday, May 31, 2008

Equal photo time for the ladies

Rainy running around day

If it's 9, I need to be here. Eleven there, and three there and back again. Tomorrow is much of the same. And Monday starts it all over again. But there are bright sparkley bits along the way.
Banjo, clarinet lessons, working on my books, working in the gardens, walking, swimming, partying, riding my bike, and kissing the kids. Even facing a sink of dirty dishes; life is good.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Up and At'Em

If I could be outside right now getting my plants in the garden, I would. The to do list is still spilling out the door. As my little friend in the photo is suggesting, "It's so big!" There are just too many great events falling back to back, morning to night. My life's memory making moments are stacked like cord wood for the next two weeks. I wonder if I'll remember them as individual times when I'm older and grayer. Or are they so close together, all I'll ever recall is sleepless nights and a vague to do list that seemed daunting.

It's true... Instead of sleeping, I'm making lists, and formulating a plan of attack for when the sun officially welcomes the day.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm a little crabby today

The to do list is too long to list here.

So I've posted a thematic picture instead. I am working on a digital slideshow for a classroom in the local school. It's now time to sit, post process the pictures and music. But it's nice outside and the tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers need to be planted. And then there is swimming, and the dentist appointment, followed by a lemon soufflé.

I'm crabbie.

I have a deadline, but would rather ignore it. So I'll follow the advice I so freely hand down to the girls. "Chip away at it. Every step forward is a step taken."

I'll be chipping away for a few days now.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Wall in the Woods

I'm always amazed by rock walls in the woods. They tell of a bygone life, and conjure many questions.

A Camping We Did Go

The weather was lovely. The almost complete lack of technology, even better. (Just a lone cell phone... that rang twice.) For excitement we toasted marshmallows and played Monopoly and Cribbage. Next time we'll break up the game playing and sugarfest by renting a canoe.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

They've Grown Up Just Like Me

My Girls Are Just Like Me.

Like so many times before, when I visited a friend's home the other night there wasn't a piece of paper on any of the kitchen counters, nothing on the kitchen island, and nothing on the dining room table. I asked," Do your children live here?"

Moments before I had left my middle one home doing a school project which had exploded all over the dining room and kitchen tables, as well as the living room floor.

My friend just smiled. He had seen my house, once -- in all it's lived in glory. So as we stood there, me lost in the neatness and him asking if I wanted a beverage, (No thanks, I'm driving.), I wondered just how do you get a house picked up?

I am constantly shoveling clutter against the tide. Shoes in the front hall, jackets dropped where they are shed, lunch boxes, book bags, laundry. I used to pick up after them, now I remind. Your jacket gets hung up. Get your shoes out of the middle of the room. Put your book bag in the mud room. Your jacket gets hung up. Put your dishes in the dishwasher. I really don't need to touch every dirty dish in this house. Clean laundry goes in the drawers, not on the floor. Your jacket gets hung up.

Yesterday was the saga of the missing homework. We excavated high and low -- no homework. It would be a do over with the reminder, "If you put it in your folder, you would have it now..."

But I really can't fault them too much, as they are proving to me that the apple truly does not fall far from the tree. During yesterday's homework hunt, we searched around and through my sewing machine and generous pile up of curtain material left on the dining room table, to my banjo and music stand in the living room (along with laundry folded on the couch), to the book bag project left hanging over my sacred kitchen chair, to my desk littered with information for my most recent magazine article and book rewrite, and finally to the mountain of paperwork for Girl Scouts and school stacked in the kitchen.

My mother used to say to me, "I know where you've been?" I used to wonder how. For a while now, I've uttered the same phrase to my own. Yesterday, I knew it was all my fault. I had to put something away. I had to clean up part of my own explosion.

Digging in my heels and unearthing the machine, I set my goals on finishing the curtains, and then clearing up its associated mess. Hours later; curtains pressed and hung, the ironing board is away and sewing machine and bag of extra material back to the attic. I think there might be an enough floor space where I could vacuum today. Better yet, I'll finish the book bag project and get it off my chair.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Landscaper Litters

Now landscaper and litter aren't two words that I normally see together. And I generally think that a landscaper would do their darnedest not to litter. After all couldn't there be an anology drawn like painter - canvas, landscaper - lawn?

Today on my walk I started seeing little ziplock baggies with a folded piece of yellow paper and 5 little rocks lying along my route. The first one registered as, "That's strange." The second and third with, "Am I really seeing this?" Two houses down, I picked one up baggies four and five and opened one. The paper is an advertisement for a landscaper.

Full Service Landscape Design
Spring Clean-up - Bark Mulch
Lawn Mowing

*All work guaranteed

I think he forgot to mention littering done for free. Personally, I wouldn't hire anyone that got my attention by littering.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I've had my motorcycle license for just about two years. And all this time, up until today, I have ridden with the confines of my beloved town. (Actually, I pretty much stay in our neighborhood.) Well, today, a la solo, I rode to the Cedar Hill Girl Scout store to pick up badges for our year end ceremony.

I always tell the girls to stretch themselves. Today I took my own advice.

For M.B.

Last night, while editing, I decided to dedicate my book to M.B.; last name Boss, first name not Martha. She's a lady from my past, with a long forgotten story of her own. So, I will give her Forever Yours. After all she does play a role in the character development.

When I was younger our lives crossed for a while. I learned how to French braid hair on her long gray tresses. She told me she was a model in her twenties, but then at 88, sadly mislaid by her children, grand children and great grand children. How could a family not visit a woman who could sit and rub your hands with her paper thin fingers?

Now, 35 years later, I still haven't forgotten her. In Forever Yours, she is not the character of Martha. She is the strong, loving, dedicated, devoted sister-in-law, Alice. Though I knew an Alice, A.B., once too. She was a tiny woman, frail with her long hair piled upon her head. I haven't forgotten her either.

I miss them both.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Chapter 21 -- just about half way through

I know I've said this before, but I love rewriting. It's like visiting with an old friend who knows all your secrets and you know her's.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Girls, Gardening, Guests, Graduation, Gearing up for camping

What a weekend; the to do list was endless. I am so tired.

After our guests left, and way after the graduation ceremony, the girls helped me plant seeds in the garden. We will see what comes up where... It will be a surprise garden planted with love. I also started the grueling process of getting ready for camping.

Camping is fun, but the getting ready and the picking up after it's over are week long events. Some days I wish I had a wife of my own.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Back to my book

I spent this morning's blog time working on my book. I suspect unless there is sometime earth shaking going on here... how likely is that, I'll be hanging out with Sarah.

This is a good thing. Just ten pages in, of 209, and I'm realizing just how much I missed her.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Is it a dream? Or is it life?

When I woke up yesterday morning, my brain felt like a strainer full of unbuttered spaghetti. I had been dreaming I was associated with two other women, (no faces provided) and a teenage boy, again no clue as to who this was. We lured a man into a house and killed him. All I remember is there was a lot of red blood. I wasn't remorseful, but somehow blamed the two other women, and then spent the rest of the dream covering my ever expanding behind. I was the star witness for the local police.

When I woke up yesterday morning, I couldn't tell what was real or not. I confessed to having a strange dream and to wondering where the line between reality and rest lie. My husband assured me I spent the night snoring...

All day I wondered, how could I not know? How could a dream seems so real? Thankfully, with time, the details along with the headache they bore, are fading.

Thankfully, this morning when I woke up my brain was a placid lake. The full moon shimmering on the surface. Inviting all to dip a toe; test the waters. Promising not to bite.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Saving Someone's Tire

The air is New England brisk. Chilling even the most seasoned native in May. Still we're out for our walk. Whether in the morning to school, or in the afternoon for exercise. The pace can be that of a snail, or racing the bus to the stop. All the while, my eyes are looking, feeling the ground like a blind man's cane.

I perfected the art of the downcast eyes in grad school. As a lab group we would walk four blocks to the noon seminars. Twelve of us, hands behind our backs, eyes cast down, brains working overtime churning on our latest results, or lack there of. Today, with no data to be discussed, I watch for tire hazards. Screws, nail, bits of thick wire that could lead to anything from a slow leak to blowout.

It all started when I would selectively pick up change, ignoring everything else. Then it moved on to change and cans for the church can drive. After all I wouldn't step over a nickel. Then one day I saw eight screws littering a parking space. The vision of a mom with a minivan full of children flashed into my head. I couldn't let her get a flat tire. She doesn't have time to call AAA. And despite her mechanics assurances that her spare is fine, she hasn't seen or put her hands on her fifth tire tucked between the two rear wheels since forever.

This morning I found the screw and wire I found on the ground yesterday still in my pocket. It's a perfectly good screw; silver, shiny. I'm torn, and can't seem to discard it in the bin. After all, it might come in handy, and be the perfect simple machine to fix a future household problem.

Monday, May 12, 2008

This is what sports is all about

You hear about the fighting, and back stabbing, the half hearted end of game hand shakes, the little plastic trophies for showing up, even when you don't.

Well here is a video that explains exactly what sports and life should be about. Before clicking, I suggest you get the box of tissues.

I see apple trees

Remember in that movie, maybe it was called Sixth Sense, the little boy confiding in Bruce Willis, says, "I see dead people."? Well yesterday, Mother's Day, we spent the majority of the day outside doing yard work, and after a dozen or so sightings, of apple trees, I started to feel like that little boy.

Of course, we have the two trees we planted on purpose last year. They are doing fine, thanks for asking. And there is the tree in the front weed patch that pretends to be a garden. It's growing quite well. Then there is the other one coming up by the sugar maple. One of these years I'll have to move it. If we think we'd like to eat those apples. And then there are the others.

I see them in the flower garden on the hill. And there is a new addition in the garden behind the house sanctioned for the tomatoes and basil. I noticed that beauty while I was tilling up the soil. Little trees dressed in 8 to 10 leaves. Puffing their petioles to the sky. You have to love them, coming from a composted start; all that spunk.

My sighting aren't limited to our own might half acre. While waiting for my children at their bus stop, the end of the neighbor's driveway I noticed a row of apple trees, and wondered if one of the twins had launched a core from an open car window. They don't mow that end of their world, so maybe they will have apples too.

I always thought it was difficult to start a tree from a seed. But why should I think that. My parents have a very nice maple I started from a helicopter some 30 billion years ago. And I've pulled many a mighty oak out of the front garden. (There is one out there now... I was thinking to pot it and transplant it, instead of giving it the unceremonious tug and pitch.) But apples, for some reason I thought you had to first wait for the mailman to deliver the seed catalog, place and order and voila, your tree arrives. But I'm finding out, it's much simpler than that. You just have to plant the seed. Much like a lot of things in life.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

It's Quiet

We went to my nieces' concert last night. I'm a stay-at-home mom, and prefer staying there, but last night I emerged from my safe haven and it was lovely. Both nieces sang, one sang and played the flute; lovely. North Attleboro has quite a music program. But much like our own town, it's the first program cut when it comes time to balancing their school department's budget. So the town selectmen and governing body has a balanced budget based upon an unbalanced education.

Oh it's not that I think music will save the world, but maybe it will. After all bombs haven't done the trick. But taking music out of a school curriculum is the harbinger for badness. When there is no music, that means that the health program has been cut, and the foreign language and physical education programs dissected to their bleached white bare bones. It means classes are supersized and AP classes that don't meet enrollment limits eliminated. It means extracurricular activities come with such a fee that they take a line item in a family's budget, and at the end of high school, our children can only compete for the hamburger flipping jobs on the fast food road to fame and fortune instead of one of the vine draped institutes of higher learning. It means that as a town we have denied our children an education for anything beyond the mega strip mall that divides our neighborhoods.

It's quiet here this morning. We left our two little ones in North Attleboro for a sleep over. Our drive home was far from quiet as the two teenagers in the back, one ours, the other a favorite cousin, discussed boys, school, sports, arts, everything, but school budgets. It was sweet chatter, and delightful. I love it when they are together, and wished we all lived closer. And maybe someday they will. Maybe they will attend the same college and share a dorm room; one the artist the other the scientist, if all goes according to their educational desires. Right now they are sleeping, sharing a room. Dead to the financial woes that threaten to unhinge their dreams.

Friday, May 09, 2008

A Great Disney Idea

A big draw for the kiddies is to collect autographs and pictures with Mickey and his friends. Usually these signatures are gathered in a book, but a great idea is to gather these prizes on a canvas bag and then embroider over them.

The signatures are generally bigger than what can be put on paper, and the stitching makes for a good activity to do while waiting at after school events, such as dance and music lessons. After I finish Mickey's I'll line the bag to prevent the stitches from being pulled from the inside.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

24 Hours Fever-free

Our school has the policy that a child must be fever-free for 24 hours before they can return to school. So, yesterday at 9 AM, I checked the sick one's temp, and it was minimal at best. I held out hope. Maybe, just maybe, tomorrow (now today) life would return to normal, I'd get swimming, finish my interviews for my article, and the fish tank would clear, all the while, all my children would attend school.

This won't be the case.

Late yesterday afternoon the fever rared its ugly thermometer, and I found myself uttering the words, "You're home tomorrow. You could dance a wild jig, and still you would be home."

Of course, by bedtime there were jigs being laid down on just about every flat floor surface. Still there will be two at home today. Of course, we won't be home. Weather permitting, we'll get out for a walk, maybe go for a swim at Open Swim (technically afterschool), and we might even do some visiting. It's an early release today. It's a gift of a few hours of being the two of us, as dictated by the school department.

And this will all shift to Friday, if she wakes up with a fever.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Two kids, two days, two buckets

Saturday kid 1 was sick, throwing and missing the bucket. Last night, kid 2, picked up where kid 1 left off. And like kid 1 she threw and missed, hitting her brand new American Girl magazine and rug. She was very upset about the magazine. So, as of last night, we have two buckets out in strategic locations, to accent our two bathrooms.

I had to cancel my day. And until I started making calls, I hadn't realized just how busy I was. AM bike ride for exercise, (I'm still beating back my thighs), lunch with an old friend, (I would've had a salad), and an interview to rewrite an article with a pending deadline. I told the editor that I'm not sitting around waiting for him to get back to me with rewrites. So when he slips in a deadline, there has to be a smidgen of give and take. He will need more, due to illness.

Instead today I will finish the second set of drapes for my room, and start working on a set of valences for another. I will also continue to tackle our fish tank, (it is clearing up), and maybe get outside to do some gardening.

... I could work on the rewrite. Some of the editor requested info are in my notes from the interviews. I guess I could squeeze in a few minutes at the computer.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Two venues; two dates; two ponies to ride

I am entrenched in the planning my parent's 49 and half anniversary, and a parish picnic. One is on August 16th and the other is September 14th. And me being who I am, told the farmer with the pony rides that we'd need two ponies for two hours for, you got it, the wrong date. Right place, but wrong date... Unfortunately they can't make the real parish picnic. So, do I keep the arrangement and have my folks arrive for their fancy dinner on ponies?

Yesterday, before learning of my mistake, I joked with them, saying we'd have pony rides... We still could.

Working with a parish committee is always interesting, in an odd, need a good sense of humor, and strong drink, kind of way. Last week, we met, we set the picnic place, time, venue, and then I started making phone calls. Of course, I arranged ponies for the wrong date, but that is my issue. Three days ago there was an email questioning our lovely parish picnic location. I poo-poo'd it; replying -- "Oh that's all set."

Then yesterday another email, same issue. This time, I ignored it, figuring it was just bits bouncing on the internet wind. Last night, there was the phone call... The upshot is the Pastor thinks the location is too far away. So we'll change the location. Hey maybe we'll change the date, and get those pony rides reinstated again.

We just can't change it to August 16th. I'm pretty sure, I'm busy that day.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Digging Out

I've been trying to get my life in order. Focusing on finishing my own projects, as well as helping the little one's with their school projects. Their projects done, I now have half finished curtains for our room, a half finished embroidered Disney canvas bag, half finished cross stitch and 2 pair of pants with their zippers pulled out waiting for me to get to the store to buy replacements. There is a third pair of pants with a busted zipper, but with my back I can't pull hard enough on the stitches to get it out. And let's not forget the new light for the upstairs bathroom, that is waiting in the living room, and the gallon of paint for the same room. That's been down in the cellar for almost a year now. The gardens aren't turned over, and the house is a mess because I've been focused on the curtains, and getting the fish tank back in order.

The fish tank is another story. While we were vacationing, our automatic feeder, overfed the tank, clouding the water. So I've been vacuuming the gravel, adding water clarifier, and changing the filter. Meanwhile Pleco, has been getting himself a swimming start and then launching himself out of the tank and on to the kitchen floor. I tried putting foil over the top and he jumped with so much force he knock the foil off. So the tank now has a glass cover. The water is clearing up, but after this ordeal, it's probably better to just skip vacations all together.

And while I'm at it: Don't forget we are selling Mary Kay -- great for Mother's Day and beyond.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Flip Side

The flip side to going to bed early, is I get up early... too early. I suspected this would happen, but I was so tired from the back thing, that I took a hot shower and went to bed. Now I have a wicked case of bed head, and hours of time to fill before the dawn. Of course it could be worse. I could have hours of time and back ache with which to fill it.

Instead, just about pain free, I'll fill the time with an attempt to finish one of the many projects I have littered about the house. I absolutely hate having a project hanging over my head. After a while it's like a whining child constantly nagging me to be picked up. I wish I were more organized so that I would see projects to completion without the mental torture. After all it is in my best interest...

Some lessons take a lifetime to learn.