October 30, 2008
October 29, 2008
Everyone says that if it snows before Halloween we're in for a rough winter. Well, it's almost All Hallow's Eve, and they are just the teeny tiniest flakes, does that still count?
The FMF says I shouldn't worry until I really am trapped indoors and pulling out my hair, so I'm just going to make myself a hot chocolate with Emmett's and watch Lizzie Bennett and Mr. Darcy do their thing until the panic subsides.
Meanwhile, Sweet Potato just burst in the door wearing only a t-shirt, and said, "Brrr! Turn up the heat! I could really use a butter beer about now."
October 28, 2008
6. I love to watch Sweet Potato practice her little hip hop dance. She does this thing where she wiggles her shoulders and sways in a circle. She looks so grown up and little-kid-like at the same time, and it makes both of us laugh. She promises to teach me.
October 27, 2008
October 26, 2008
I've read that what makes people happy is the anticipation of something new, fun, and exciting happening rather than the event itself, but I don't know about that. I was pretty darn happy while my parents were here. Now I have that first-day-back-to-work feeling, that you get after being away on vacation. It's over. Back to the drudgery. At least I always had that feeling, even when I really liked my job and didn't normally consider it drudge.
With this feeling in my belly, I pulled apart my aubergine scarf and started over, again. Somehow I had managed to add two more stitches (couldn't repeat that if I tried) and it was turning into more of a shawl. I pulled it all out, and Sweet Potato helped me roll the skeins. Last night I knitted anew while R and I watched the first two episodes of Pushing Daisies, weird little show.
Meanwhile, the leaves are coming down fast. There are so many that watching them let go of the trees is kind of like watching snow fall. The day I took this photo was the day my parents arrived. R had just finished blowing the leaves into tidy piles and decided to finally take down the sign announcing his parents as owners of the house.
Today R is out blowing the leaves again. Seems like a futile effort to me, but he enjoys it. I should throw myself back into the routine too, I guess-- finish ripping down the flowered bedroom wallpaper-- but I just want to sit on the couch, knit my scarf, and listen to a book on cd. Dairy Queen by Catherine Murdock, teen lit. Comfort reading-- or listening.
When Buckaroo wakes up from his nap he'll probably ask for Papa again because that's his new routine, and I'll say, "Nana and Papa went bye bye. They flew away on a big airplane," and I'll try not to let my voice catch.
October 25, 2008
We had a good week: Shopped in Peterborough, hiked Mt. Watatic, watched Sweet Potato's hip hop class, played with Buckaroo at the park, planned a summer lake reunion.
I'm struggling to ride the high of the visit instead of hitting the low of the leaving, but I never function well after a dearth of sleep, so I think I'll just make a pot of tea.
R is probably dropping them at the airport as I write this.
Travel easy SSD & Leisure Lee!
xoxo, La Brat
October 20, 2008
Since my parents have been here I've taken a couple of roads I'd never taken before, and they led me to the same familiar places-- newly familiar places. I always think it's slightly miraculous to feel completely lost and then realize that I know exactly where I am. It's a physical epiphany.
October 18, 2008
The wait was so worth it. They exploded into silky dandelion-like fluff. Sweet Potato said they look like they might turn into fairies.
October 16, 2008
I think so much about death-- it hasn't helped that we are creating a will and changing our life insurance policies-- and I'm also thinking about how this is my life now and will be for a long, long time. It will change gradually, I know. Buckaroo's needs will change. He will turn five and go to kindergarten. Sweet Potato will not always demand cookies the minute she walks in the door, dropping her books on the floor. She will not always try to squeeze in two more minutes of reading Harry Potter at the kitchen table before bed time. R will not always work these obnoxiously long hours. Right?
These changes will be gradual, and while it makes me sad to think of the kids growing up, it's also comforting to know that my life will change, too. I've been panicking over this idea that THIS IS IT, that the landscape of my future is all the same dull gray from here on out.
I know it's not true, and I know there will be a time when I'll look back on these days nostalgically. The other night as I was sitting on the dock in the dark wind, I imagined myself as a jigsaw puzzle with some of the pieces put together to create a idyllic scene, some pieces just falling into place, some still unsorted and upside down in the box, and a few lost under the couch.
So this is a piece that's just falling into place: My life is only as dull as I allow it to be. Maybe it sounds hokey, but I'm going to try to think of every day as a surprise, and, yeah, some surprises are better than others.
I've discovered that if I put a pillow behind my back in one corner, the couch is the comfiest spot for nursing Buckaroo, and I can see the tippy top of a bright red maple through the tiny window in front of me.
At this point there is no room in the house that affords a view of the lake while the viewer is seated, unless one includes the deck as a very chilly room, so until that problem is remedied this might be my favorite spot in the house.
One day the room in the photograph will be gone. R plans to tear down the walls of the bedrooms on either side, putting up one wall in the middle to allow for more space. It's one remodeling plan on a long list.
Anyway, back to my spot on the couch: I think it's a sign of progress. It's not the perfect place, not a place I would create for myself, but it's comfortable. It'll do.
Now, it seems that Elmo requires snow boots and I must attend to his needs.
October 14, 2008
October 13, 2008
I went to her house and everyone was asleep, so I creeped in through the back door. The house was in disrepair; the roof was leaking and the walls needed paint. There were piles of stuff everywhere as if Nana Ivy had been packing or readying for a yard sale.
I walked through the kitchen, living room, and into the back bedroom where I found Nana Ivy, Aunt Donna and Aunt Sue (her daughters) all asleep on a pull-out couch. In real life, Aunt Donna died a few years back, and Aunt Sue is MIA. Nana Pat wasn't there (my grandmother, their sister) because I think my subconscious has finally let her go. My grandfather, Papa James, was there though, asleep in a chair. They all woke up and were happy to see me despite the lateness of the hour.
I was so frazzled I couldn't think straight. I needed to take Sweet Potato to her grandmother, and I needed to explain to Papa James who I was because he has dementia, and my cell phone kept ringing, and I was running out of time.
Then Aunt Donna put her hands on my shoulders and looked down at me, "Let me look at ya for a second," she said. "It's been so long," and she pulled me into a big warm hug that felt like home. It's strange to compare, but in the dream I had the same feeling I have when I nurse Buckaroo; a wave of sleepiness comes over me, and I think there's nowhere I need to be except right here right now.
I didn't wake up sad this time, surprisingly, just a little annoyed that my dad hadn't been there, too.
And on that note, here's a poem that my friend Peter the Reporter emailed me:
The dead are always looking down on us, they say.
While we are putting on our shoes or making a sandwich,
they are looking down through the glass bottom boats of heaven
as they row themselves slowly through eternity.
They watch the tops of our heads moving below on earth,
and when we lie down in a field or on a couch,
drugged perhaps by the hum of a long afternoon,
they think we are looking back at them,
which makes them lift their oars and fall silent
and wait, like parents, for us to close our eyes.
October 12, 2008
The day improved, though, when we attended our first Stew-B-Q at the home of a friend from the moms' group. A Stew-B-Q is like a barbecue, but instead of bringing ribs and potato salad, everyone brings a crock full of stew. I made squash stew, and it was a hit! Vegetarian, too.
I thought the event was a New England tradition, but the New Englanders seemed to be just as baffled by the idea, so I'm not sure of its origin.
It was a warm day, and we all hung outside with steaming bowls of stew (clam chowder, New Brunswick, Chili, Chicken) while the children rolled up and down the driveway, squealing, in their toy vehicles. Later, they played pin the worm on the apple tree (paper worms, paper tree) and painted pumpkins. Poor Buckaroo doesn't really understand paint yet, but Sweet Potato helped him out. He may take after his mother in the art area.
Buckaroo fell asleep in the car on the way home, about 4:30, and he seems to be out for the night.
The neighbors' granddaughters are visiting this weekend, so Sweet Potato dashed next door as soon as we returned home. They played a mean game of hide-and-seek and then roasted marshmallows for smores. Meanwhile R and I enjoyed the quiet by watching the sunset over the lake from our deck until the chilly drove us indoors. R drank a Harvest Moon ale, and I had hot chocolate with marshmallows. With the exception of the turning leaves, hot chocolate might be the best thing about autumn.
R and I talked a lot about Obo and missing him. I realized that I don't say much about Obo in my blog, but I'm always thinking about the ways things would be different if he were here-- which things he would get excited about and which would make him complain. I know for sure we'd have put out the Halloween decorations by now.
Well, I don't want to end on a downer again. My parents arrive in less than a week, so it's time to create the entertainment itinerary!
October 10, 2008
I know, and I was just going on about giving up my wants. Well, this is really more of a need. I have California shoes. They're all open and summery-- clearly not up for the brutal storms ahead, or even the soft, happy storms ahead. Trying to be positive here.
When I told R of my amazing find he said, "Oh, yeah. I used to go there once a year and buy two pairs of shoes, but I forgot about it." Wha?
Also, the sales women were so sweet to Buckaroo and even played peek-a-boo with him while I paid for my purchases. The ladies didn't even seem to mind that he pulled all of the socks from the display. Luckily, he's got cuteness on his side.
R is home in two more hours! Poor guy's been in Republican Hades.
October 8, 2008
Traveling through the Dark
by William Stafford
Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.
By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;
she had stiffened already, almost cold.
I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.
My fingers touching her side brought me the reason--
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated.
The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.
I thought hard for us all--my only swerving--,
then pushed her over the edge into the river.
October 7, 2008
Did I mention that dee ann is coming to visit in November? Yay!
Well, I was frustrated with my first attempt to draw this orangutan because I messed up his hands and feet, and now he looks like he's been juggling fire.
Sweet Potato said, "You know what your problem with art is, Mom? You're an artistic perfectionist."
And then she went on to mock my orangutan extremities. Lovely child.
Here's one more quirky thing I forgot to mention about our new town: When making a phone call, everybody has to dial the area code, even if it's the same. For years, I hear, everyone in town had the same first six digits, so one was required to remember only the last four digits. Gone are the good old days. They've had to introduce a new prefix recently, and now everyone knows who's a newcomer. Well, they all knew that anyway. It's a small town.
We've kept R's parents' number, so we're old school.
October 6, 2008
October 5, 2008
R did not join us because he's on his way to -- or perhaps just arrived in-- Texas.
Last night I went to a birthday party for another friend, Frog Mama. She turned 42. We all played the game where each of us had the name of a famous person taped on our backs, and we had to ask yes or no questions until we figured out who it was. I had Einstein. He's a tricky fellow.
There was good food, good music, good conversation, and kids running around blowing into recorders and trading baby dolls. I left there with a belly full of cake thinking that I would like to have a birthday party this year.
I always liked to do my birthday big, but until last year I didn't realize that my big birthdays were in response to my dad forgetting my birthday every year. It didn't matter that he forgot, as long as I was surrounded by people who loved me.
So last year when there was no him, no secretly hoping he'd remember, there was nothing, and I didn't want to celebrate nothing. I think, in the end, R wooed me out to dinner.
I thought this year would be the same, especially because I thought I wouldn't have any friends. I have made a friend or two, though, and I think we could squeeze them into our house for a birthday/holiday kick-off. R says we can all hang out in the basement and take turns sawing and drilling things if necessary.
Every year in California my birthday brought the rain, and I'm wondering if in Massachusetts it will bring snow.
In other news, Sweet Potato has joined a hip hop class. That girl can really shake her tail feathers. She must get it from her dad's side of the family.
The foreground is what I've looted from the dirt, plus some pine needles that happened to fling themselves there. That's one thing I can say for the euonymus, it didn't mind being in close proximity to the pine tree.
I'd like to chop down that pine tree (I know, and after all my talk of the wicked tree-cutting neighbors; I guess I'm turning into a true Massachusan), but R planted the tree as a wee tike, so it's special. He has no memory of planting the tree, though, and what if we planted a nice ginkgo in its place? That wouldn't be so terrible. Would it? I have nothing in particular against a pine, it's just that nothing grows under a pine-- the one thing I remember from college geology-- and it's smack in front of the house where flowers would be so welcoming.
Well, I'm off to spend some quality time with R before he leaves for Texas this afternoon. It's going to be in the low 80s in Texas all this week. I'm trying not to feel bitter; it's still Texas after all.
October 3, 2008
I loaded William Shatner's "That's Me Trying" on to my iPod, and I listen to it repeatedly. It's a monologue/phone call from a dad to his estranged daughter. Hokey, and the dad is still a jerk, but it's the best he can do, and that's where my magical thinking comes in. If my dad were alive he could redeem himself. He could stop drinking, stop using. If my dad were alive there would be time for me to forgive him.
So I keep wondering how he's going to come back. There's so much work to be done.
October 1, 2008
We reasoned that it's probably because it feels like autumn here. No Native American summer for us. The mornings and evenings are crisp and pine scented-- mostly from our spiffy new pellet stove-- the trees are ablaze with color, it's drizzly gray, and the lake is knock-your-trunks-off cold, as R discovered during his end of the season dip this week.
They're still wearing sunscreen in the Golden State.