Monday, June 30, 2008

the doctor will see you now. again.

I've been to the pediatrician three days in a row; Thursday, Friday, Saturday. To monitor a deep tissue infection, most likely staph, that has invaded my daughter's leg. She's on her second antibiotic. But now seems to be doing fine. She's dying to get out and ride her bike, because the doctor suggested limited activity as to not increase the spread of the dangerous germ. I think tomorrow may be the lucky day for bike riding.

It's a lot of fun lying in bed at night worrying that your kid's leg might need to be amputated. You know, worst case scenario and all that.

Today I go back to the pediatrician so that my second daughter can get a shot. It's actually good timing, as she has been very jealous that her older sister has been able to see the large tank of fish at the doctor's office so many times.

At the doctor's office I know the receptionists by name, they will now send me a birthday card each year and we will invite each other to our children's weddings. I can't tell you how thrilling it is to look at your online banking statement and have co-pay, after co-pay, after co-pay show up on a balance sheet. On Saturday the receptionist didn't think it was funny when I asked her if there was a "pay two co-pays, get the third one free" deal this week.

Thank goodness for our little mystery surprise, because Saturday evening after my sister's bridal shower ~ which [digression alert!] turned out to be quite lovely, thank you. I wish I had taken pictures because it looked pretty, didn't cost a lot to throw (funny expression) and my sis got some good gifts. But alas. I didn't get pictures. So, oh well. Anyway! [end of digression] ~ after the shower one of the sores on my leg which I had suspected were spider bites flared up so much that I think that I, too, have a staph infection, which means another trip to the doctor today, more co-pays, more antibiotics.

More fun, basically.

Here's the good news: because I couldn't for the life of me remember which doctor I went to before we moved to New York (we're generally healthy people so the only person I see on a semi-regular basis would be my OB/GYN) I spent the evening going through old checkbooks to see if I could find a check made out to some mystery family practice. And I did. And I also found another unused checkbook, which is fortunate because I was almost out of checks and hadn't re-ordered any, and now I don't have to.

See! A silver lining to every bacteria-filled cloud. Hooray.

(P.S. I am behind on Dandelion Wine. I will catch up, soon. Thank you for your support)

Friday, June 27, 2008

round and around and around we go

and where we stop, nobody knows.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

regarding the mystery of who & what showed up on our doorstep

Last night while I was at my parent's house putting my sister's wedding announcements together and giving my dad fashion advice for my cousin's rehearsal dinner, some strange man showed up at our door step. I say strange in the sense that he was a stranger, as Ben did not recognize him; not that he in himself was an oddity. He asked Ben if the house was the residence of our family and when Ben confirmed that indeed, it was, he handed Ben an envelope.

Later that night, having arrived back home I sat on my bed folding laundry. When I finished I leaned back on my pillow at which point Ben handed me the envelope and related the story I have just told you and told me to open the envelope. I did. And wrapped in two pieces of white 20# bond paper was a significant amount of money. It took me a second for my brain to compute what I was holding in my hand as I shuffled through it, baffled. Ben told me the amount and I was even more astonished.

I don't know who it was who was so kind and generous. I was genuinely touched, and more. Things do get a little bit tight around here these days and we are on a rather strict budget at the moment, with some extra expenses on the horizon. So to who ever you are, if you read this blog: Thank you so much; your unanticipated gesture was greatly appreciated. May the Lord bless you.

Monday, June 23, 2008

what about those lazy days?

This week my parents head out to my cousin's wedding in Tennessee.
My mom gets back just in time for my sister's bridal shower on Saturday, which I am in charge of.
For which I need to bake at least 100 cupcakes.
One Hundred.
While my parents are gone we are hoping to get all of the announcements addressed for my sister's wedding (hence the bridal shower) that happens in the middle of July.
The middle of July is a lot closer than you think.
There are many last minute wedding details that need to be taken care of, including getting a new set of Sunday clothes for my children.
Why, oh why does the Gap not sell black slacks for little boys?
Because navy is just not going to cut it, people!
I need to head to Target to buy up a bunch of patent leather shoes.
We have also decided that the 5th of July is the appropriate day for a family portrait.
Because after my sister gets married she's moving to NY.
And also, family portraits should be scheduled for the day after the fourth of July, when children will be kept up way too late, right?
Well, it's when we can fit it in.
And my brother will be home from school.
And we think we'd like him in the picture.
Also, everyone needs to keep doing everything they're already doing.
That especially means you mothers!
Which means me.
Fortunately, I have a husband who will put the kids to bed for me.
And feed them dinner before hand.
I'm tired already.
I think I need a nap.

You'll forgive me if posting is light? You're all on vacation, anyway.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

cult of me

My mother recently handed me a large envelope full of pictures of me; mostly those dreaded school pictures that have a 50/50 chance of looking good or horrible regardless of what you do to prep before hand. School pictures. I have a million of them; 25 little squares showing how awful I looked in ninth grade. I'm not sure how I feel about them. Also, I'm not sure what to do with them.

I have a baby book, and a scrap book of sorts from my childhood years. And another one from my jr high/ high school years. And one for my mission in France. I have little books filled with funny information about myself. Oodles of photographs that I have whittled down over the years, but still, a lot of pictures. I have journals filled with the silly, silly scribbles of adolescents. Part of me is really tempted to throw them away. I have letters to friends, letters from friends. Cards. Postcards. Little notes. I have my old cheerleading uniform. And my pompoms. Oh yeah. And the yearbooks. Can't forget about those yearbooks.

What do I do with it all? Scale back on what I have? Save it for posterity? Will they really be interested?

Our culture is sort of document crazy. We take pictures of everyone and everything, everywhere. Thanks to the merger of phones and cameras. (We won't get into the whole blogging thing. That's an entire post of it's own.) But do we really want to keep it all? I don't. I just have to figure out how much I want to save, and how much I really don't want to haul around with me. Except that it's me! And I'd like to consider myself a hard person to throw away. You know.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

we've been enjoying very fine weather ~ margaret dashwood

The weather has been absolutely heavenly. The temperature has hovered in the seventies with a little dip this past week for a few rainy days. It's cool for this time of year. But it's not cold. It's simply pleasant. Every morning I open the windows to let the breeze saunter through the house. I'd love to fling them open, but here in the U.S. we slide them to the desired position. It shows a certain lack of spontaneity, don't you think? In France I lived in apartments built before the United States existed where I had windows I could and would fling open at night after arriving home, letting the air drift in with the fragrance of summer mingled with voices of people still wandering the cobbled streets.

Summer evenings have long been a favorite of mine, with the world cooling off from an over- heated day, things settling into themselves. But summer evenings aren't so readily available to me these days. Reading bedtime stories, and getting teeth brushed and getting the dinner dishes into the washer fill up my time. Maybe that's why I've so enjoyed these last couple of weeks. I get the feel of summer evenings during the day. When things get too hot, I stay inside. I like my weather the way I like my politics; with an occasional swing to the hot or the cold (I'm all for the four seasons) but mostly moderate.

Summer holds a certain amount of nostalgia to it and I'm fond of it for that reason. Growing up before the over-schedulization of childhood, summer for me was slow and empty, not in a lonely kind of way, but filled with possibility and easy anticipation. It's not surprising then that after the school year filled with all sorts things to do and places to be, that summer would open up clear and easy with memories that aren't over crowed from too much going on. But just enough.

Summer is surveying the green grass from my perch on the swing as I fly up and back. It's playing catch with my dad in the backyard and going to the community swimming pool, living in my swimsuit. Summer is sitting on the front porch at my friend's house watching the moon rise over the mountains and listening to the radio. Summer is walking through the graveyard where the tall trees overhead arch protectively over the dead while I read through epitaphs. Summer is driving down Geneva Road with my sister Lorien, listening to the sound track to Searching for Bobby Fischer and screaming out the window. Why we think it was funny to do that, I don't know. But we did. We still do, actually, when occasion permits.

A glance at the weather page on the internet and the warning is there. The temperature will be warming up. The windows will need to be kept somewhat closed to keep the house cool, and young summer is going on it's way, carried out by the delicious scent of honeysuckle. Still, there are perhaps a few more days of, if not flinging, then at least energetically sliding my newly cleaned windows open wide to let in the morning air.

Also, my Dandelion Wine post for this week is up at Just an Orange.

Monday, June 16, 2008

father's day re-cap

My four year old wrote a little note to Ben about a month ago. Fortunately I remembered and found it and gave it to him at the proper moment.

He opened the brightly colored envelope. It said:
Dear Dad, Do not read this until Dad's day. Love, (your 2nd child).

Later in the day as we gathered at my parent's house my mom handed out a questionnaire about my dad, that no one really excelled on, but no one quite bombed. (Nothing like a quiz on your parents to make you realize how much you really don't know about them.)

The last question asked us all what trait of our dad's we would like to emulate. We went in birth order starting with yours truly and went from there. The answers were sweet, sincere, and touching. Then we got to the youngest, child #11, Cameron.

"I don't know," Cameron said. "There are so many things."

We all waited for his answer and then burst into laughter.

"I guess I'd like to have a tie for every day of the month, " he said at last. Which, my dad does have, and which, I suppose, is something a 12 year-old boy might aspire to.

Friday, June 13, 2008

dandelion wine No. 1

The first post is up at Just an Orange. Just a few little thoughts and ruminations on summer as a child and the passage of time.

~ for Dandelion Wine, William Morrow 2001 hardcover edition, pages 1-16.

blogging circle

I was at the park last week sitting on the bench with another mom as we watched our kids run and climb around the place and I had this overwhelming desire to ask her if she blogged. That maybe somehow we had passed each other in the blogosphere, maybe clicking on someone's blogroll and ending up, if only briefly, at each other's website. And then we could say, oh yeah! You did look sort of familiar.

Is that odd? I never did ask her, although we struck up a very small conversation.

It's really possible she does have a blog. It's really possible she doesn't. And if she does blog, it's possible we blog in entirely different communities. I've noticed that there are certain pockets of bloggers. Some form a community based on similar interests and writing styles. Some of them are just a continuation of the circle of friends they already have and they all comment on each other's blogs instead of that extra telephone call. There are the super-bloggers that everybody seems to know. Although I've also noticed these super-bloggers usually operate in one community or another.

So I've been thinking: what blogging circle am I in? Am I in a circle? Maybe I just sort of float out there in cyberspace somewhere, picking up random readers here and there.

I have never really blogged in a "friend" circle. I mean, some of my friends know I blog, and some of my friends read my blog, and I suspect that through them, there I more people I know that read my blog, but I don't know that they read my blog. Got that? Yikes. As far as I know my neighbors don't know that I blog, and if they do, they haven't said anything. (Hello, neighbors! are you there?) Then there are the instances of people from my past making random appearances and that's always fun, and funny.

A lot of my comments come from people I do consider friends, though most of them I've never met in person. I kind of like that. I like that I started this little blog sans community and that somehow someone started reading my blog, and I started reading their blog and then we were friends. I like the acquaintances, the people who pop up occasionally and randomly with something nice and/or pertinent to say. I like that there are people all over the world who show up here from time to time.

If you do show up here, thanks. You might read my blog, and I might read your blog, and perhaps we've passed each other in the airport or the grocery story and didn't even know it! We might have said hello. So if some woman asks you one day in the park, "Do you blog?" it just might be me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

summer reading assignment

I'm going to be reading and writing about Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine throughout the summer at Just an Orange. It's an absolutely lovely book and I would be thrilled to pieces if some of you wanted to join me in a little summer book club.

The reading list is divided up for weekly reading, really quite non-demanding, and listed here.

The first section is for this week, but it will be quick to catch up. I posted generally about it this morning and tomorrow will write something about the first section.

Ray Bradbury is really a master storyteller and his use of language is light in the soul. If you think you could use some of that, you'll know where to find me.

P.S. The Introduction to the book is really worth reading, and I highly recommend it. So go on, get to the library or the bookstore (I think you'll want your own copy) and let's get going!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

growing up

My little boy has started calling me "mom" this week. He's started calling Ben "dad." It's sweet in it's own way but my heart is a little bit sad for the baby voice calling "mama" that is fading away.

"What mama? What mama?" he's been asking when I call him, careful to pronounce each and every syllable. He's two years old and already I'm waxing nostalgic. The sweet stages of his life are just slipping through my fingers faster than I can hold onto them and I while I love each simple moment, I know they're going fast.

As my children are wont to do when they are two, my son loves to be pushed on the swing. His ever evolving language has started to move past the simple command of "wing!" to "I wanna wing!" and on days like today, I'm happy to oblige. There are three swings on our piddly swing set and like Goldilocks, he tries one for a few minutes and then moves to the next, trying them all out or, perhaps smartly getting the most out of his swinging session.

Standing behind him, enjoying the sun, watching the wind rustling the leaves of our tall trees I realize I'm only practicing. There is an art to pushing your child on their swing; push too early and you interrupt the flow, push too late and the connection gets missed, with little or no energy passed on to help propel him outward and upward.

"What mom? What?"

As much as I think I'd like to keep my little boy near me my job is to do just that--the perfect push outward and upward, not too early and not too late, the comfort of my hand on his back sending him off to where he will go, surely, easily, somewhere to "wing". The comfort with swinging is that they always come back.

Photograph by Sarah Cartwright; found here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

current state of existence

I neglected blogging the second half of the week because I have been in a raging feverish state, with awful aching muscles and a sore throat that have made me somewhat welded to my bed as it were. On Saturday morning after two days of feeling absolutely awful Ben drove me to the insta-care where I was very promptly diagnosed with strep, apparently the sickness-du-jour. Which wasn't a huge surprise after feeling so incredibly crappy.

The amazing thing to me is that although I started to feel better I have absolutely no energy. My body went at this biotic-attack with almost everything it had, fighting like crazy while I lay half -conscious in my bed and I am completely exhausted. It's crazy. Hopefully with the handy-dandy antibiotics kicking in any day now, my body will have a chance to recover some of it's depleted resources. Until then, I will be sort of sliding around my house like a wet noodle.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

my day

Picking up after dinner I come across what typifies the day: a hand drawn note from my daughter informing the family that her sister is no longer allowed in her room. She wrote it while sitting next to her sister, who was, in retaliation, writing a similar note for her own bedroom door. It was rainy, it was gray, it was dreary. Every one was in a mood that slid between mellow and moody. I felt like I could hardly find the motivation to get anything done, much less police two grumpy girls. And then, after the notes were written, they went and played together all day long. And I actually made dinner.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

beware the tomato

I went to the store last week. I bought a nice red round tomato.

Just one, because they were a little expensive. I brought it home anticipating what I would use it for; perhaps in a salad? maybe in a burrito? ah, on a hamburger would be great. Hamburgers are really so much better with a good tomato on it.

Alas, yesterday I looked at my tomato and realized it was going bad. This would have been almost tragic except that I had just read that there is a salmonella outbreak in nine states, mine being one of them, and they think it's related to tomatoes.

And so I was relieved to have a visible reason to toss it out, saved from having to decide whether or not my tomato may be carrying that nasty disease, whether the promise of a good hamburger was worth the threat of dangerous illness.

Farewell tomato.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I've concluded that a good time for New Year's Resolutions is actually not at the New Year. At least in all the necks of the woods that I have ever lived in, January is cold, snowy and/or mushy, and gray. Maybe even grey. On top of that you are over-stuffed and a little tired from the many celebrations that have been fun, and certainly worth it, but you are taxed.

Where does that leave you? Wanting to curl up on your couch with a nice big blanket and a book that is interesting enough to keep you occupied, but not so riveting that you can't take that little nap you're planning on. These are happy resolutions, indeed, but destined to be interrupted if you're the mom and they don't really help get things done. By all means, I am an advocate of couch/blanket/book/nap. But I also have to be realistic.

I've decided that the beginning of summer is a good time to plan, set goals, etc. Tweak them if you wish in January (and probably in the Fall, too, but that's a whole other post), but resolve in June when the weather is nice, and you're in need of a little structure, but not too much structure and the soft morning air wakes you up ready to DO SOMETHING! to do something. What ever that might be.

* * * * *
I have resolved to:

* Be off the computer during the day as much as possible (okay, currently breaking this one...) this means I need to...

* Blog more in the evenings. The purpose behind these things is so that I will...

*Spend more time being present and available for my children. And so they will learn that modern life is only partially reliant on technology and the internet and not wholly reliant, as some would have us believe. Next...

*Choose one room every few days for the next couple weeks and deep clean it. Get the kids involved.

At some point I plan to add some exercise to my routine, but for now, we're working on what we've got.
* * * * *

Yesterday I really did limit my day-time computing. It was good. I cleaned my daughter's room top to bottom and painted a few knick-knacks and a picture frame for it as well. This morning my girls and I cleaned the laundry room. I may add the hallway & closet today, if I feel ambitious.

I also pretty much neglected the rest of the house, including the morning dishes, and all the other dishes and didn't vacuum the family room floor. Because it never got picked up.

I tell you this because, you know, in the interest of full-disclosure. Because it may sound like once summer descends upon me I can work all kinds of magic in my home, amazing me, ha, ha, ha! Because I really don't do that and am not like that. And the days I do inevitably mean I spend the next week totally exhausted and curled up on the couch with my blanket, a book, and a nap if I get lucky. Limits, people. Limits.

Monday, June 2, 2008

"the sun began to rise"

It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed. Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was long and warm and slow. You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living, this was the first morning of summer.

- Dandelion Wine, opening paragraph, by Ray Bradbury