"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Monday, September 24, 2012

Summer Leaves With A List

We are officially two days into fall and I think it's grand. Summer was lovely at our house this year but September is a very graceful month, slipping us slowly into a season of cool evenings and boots with a side of crackling leaves. I am thumbing through the pages of my cookbooks looking at roasting and broiling and braising and thinking vaguely about Thanksgiving dinner.

Before we leave it too far behind though...I think its respectful for us to give Summer her due and remember what she was to us this year. I'm following the pattern I set last year by making a list that details what epitomized the last few months at our house here in 2012.

This Was The Summer Of.....

  • Beets. I grew my first this year. Been trying for years. Woot!
  • Baby Pom. Although he wasn't born in summer this summer season has been very focused on him for us in many ways. We've seen him change from tiny, pink scrunched up person to a very alert, lovely, blue eyed soul with his own set of little ideas and preferences. We're so incredibly glad he came.
  • Mosquitoes from hell. The mild winter and hot summer weather meant they proliferated in crazy numbers, even in our city storm drains. Hello West Nile Virus high for our state! Gah!
  • Our first honey harvest. We had a really small one but it was ours none-the-less. 10 glowing pint jars of honey from our own backyard. Next year I plan to not have a baby right when the supers need to go on for honey loading. Maybe we'll have a real harvest next time. 
  • Cousin visiting. My boys saw every single one of their cousins this summer and made lots of happy memories rolling in sand, toasting marshmallows and giggling. 
  • My great sugar detox. I can honestly say that besides honey and maple syrup on occasion or the very, very rare tiny cheat I am sugar and white flour free. I feel amazing. I am in for life.
  • The heat wave of 2012. We had really high temperatures this summer, breaking several records and stressing plants to the max. Thankfully in our part of the country we also had steady rain too which meant we missed the drought that hit the American Midwest full on. 
  • Our first homegrown tree fruit. See this post for an account of how we finally picked the first fruit off a tree of our own planting.
  • The guest room. We had my parents, A's parents, and even Miq and  Penny come to stay this summer! More company than we've ever had before over the summer! May there be more in the future! So fun to use our guest space.
  • My first art show. I have one piece hanging right now in a local gallery. Just a small one..and only one. But such a coup! Am very motivated.
  • The return of the barbeque! So wonderful that this spring A figured out what was wrong with our grill and fixed it himself so that this summer we could finally enjoy grilled goodies after a whole year or so of wishful thinking.
  • The seared eggplant. I grew two kinds of eggplant this year and they were very happy so we were rolling in this vegetable we were only newly acquainted with so we broiled them, we fried them and we stir-fried them allllll the time. So good. We're in love.
  • Guinea pigs. Even though they really came in the spring before the baby I am letting them be included in the list. They are a very fun addition to the house, happily nibbling bits of swiss chard stems from our hands now after a lot of petting, getting to know them and bringing them fresh grass and maple twigs to gnaw. 
  • Illness. I hate to remember it but its so true. I think we were sick on and off for all of June. So rotten. So bizarrely timed. So not something I ever want to repeat.
  • Lawn "camping." This is a family classic and I realize that, its not like we invented anything in this respect, it was just something we'd never tried that will certainly be repeated as a tradition. Ru's idea. He's a bright boy. 
  • The lily beetle. We had a mysterious influx of these bright red little beetles that eat lilies of all kinds this spring. They were on almost every lily plant we have. Never saw them before in my life....but there they were....way too bright to miss.
  • Birding. The boys have been learning birds busily, collecting and identifying feathers and we've been reading slowly through The Burgess Bird Book For Children which has been the engine and fuel for the fire. So much fun! :) Keep meaning to take them over to the local Audubon Society.
  • The wild lawn. Having a baby + insane mosquito population in our yard has meant that I've spent less time than maybe ever in the history of our marriage in the yard and garden. All that really happened after June was an occasional mowing. Yipes! Its a jungle out there. Looking forward to the frost so I can get out there and hack it into shape.
  • The great mushroom famine. I am pretty much always find a few caches of wild mushrooms over the spring and summer but this year between our very hot temperatures, the mosquitoes again (which stopped the huntress not necessarily the fungi) and having a newborn....we didn't find any mushrooms at all. Not one. Sounds really odd to say that.
  • Computer games. They came. I tried to fight it but they're here, unstoppably and undoubtedly with a long career ahead of them in our house. Ru now has his own allotment for daily game time (its a matter of minutes, don't worry....nothing ridiculously out of control). I cringe, but what can you do? We still have no Gameboys or Segas or Xboxs.

I hope your summer was a good season and if it wasn't I hope Autumn comes into your life trailing a woodsmoke scented  peace and lots of new adventures that will imprint themselves on your memory. Maybe you should make a list of your own to remember this summer's now before it sifts out the door. Or one up me altogether and make one for Autumn at the end of this season. Its a concentrated kind of processing and appreciation to distill your memories and impressions into firm bullets on a list.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Double Peace

Am back to the drawing board, looking for ways to find the margin and buffer I need to lubricate my life. I have been trying to get up early in the morning and find a little private space before the family gets up. But after a long time battling the urge I am finally admitting that I kind of need space at each end of the day. Last night I had a yoga class and came home after a wonderful meditation session, my spirit warm to touch and went right to bed like a good girl.

 And then I got back out of bed.

And came downstairs.

I wasn't up for long but I needed to be alone. I needed to hear the crickets out the window, to swish the broom alone by myself, to see the cleared and wiped down table gleam in the moonlight and to hear the tiny squeaking conversations of the guinea pigs in the other room and the drip of the tabletop fountain without the sound of any human voice, even to just lie on the floor on my back and listen to the hum of the house itself and feel the boards cool under my hands.

I'm not sure how that works out...the space at both ends of the day thing but I think I'm gonna try to find a way. I love the chance to prepare for a day alone but it doesn't replace my almost desperate urge to recover from a day that just pounded me or even jostled me about in a friendly sort of way. I love the chance to feel myself, to see peaceful emptiness and the recover a little before being asked to rest. I hate lying in bed next to A while he drifts off promptly when there is a sink full of dirty dishes downstairs and I know full well that the potty chair didn't get emptied out. This is about completing work and making sure my slate is wiped clean but its also about psychological recovery and mental space and letting my inner self come creeping out and go pirouetting around in the moonlit rooms when everyone else is asleep. 

I think part of the problem is that by morning Pom has almost invariably ended up in our bed and when I try to sneak out of bed in the morning I often end up taking him with me because otherwise he wakes up the whole household wailing for me. Good to be wanted but...yeah. I do miss my candle-lit reading hour, just me alone curled up on the couch while the sun rises. Nothing like slightly invaded morning time to make you admit your love of private nights after everyone else is in bed. So yeah. Not sure how this will work out. Still need to experiment and think about it...maybe brainstorm with A a bit and try a couple of incarnations. I am certain peace is a worth a little effort and creativity.

“We shall find peace. We shall hear angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.”
― Anton Chekhov

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Storms and Sniffles

Spending a rainy day in today. There's a terrific wind outdoors bending the tops of the tall trees in the neighborhood. We were out this morning with our homeschool co-op pals and as we drove home the road was littered with fallen leafy branches blowing around in circles. We are supposed to get a big rain to boot but so far we've seen nothing but clouds and a lot of big gusts. We've got a crazy level of humidity today which makes me glad that I pre-baked dinner last night to make co-op day easier on myself.

The nice thing about stormy days pre-rain is that they always bring really interesting light. Fascinating to watch how different colors look in the changing palette we have coming in through our windows. These are lipstick pink chard stems....kind of a late summer echo of the rhubarb stalks. Great colors, right?

Baby Pom is sniffling away from a little cold. Although he is being very resolute in spite feeling stuffy and having a very pint-sized and tragic, little cough. I think we will spend tonight nursing in the rocker and propping him up on a stack of pillows between sessions. Time to get out the Vicks and drink extra cups of tea after the sun goes down to keep up with the milk demand.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Falling Along

The dogwood in our neighbor's yard is turning a misty burgundy. I can see it well out the window to my left when I sit here on the second floor at our computer even though on ground level, standing in the garden, picking tomatoes view of it is entirely blocked by the large viburnum hedge that divides our yards. The dogwoods are changing, the bees are going into a genuine work-halt at nighttimes now, the cucumbers have petered out completely and gone to a new life on the compost pile and the boys and I had our first little hearth fire this morning during our story hour. We are on to the chicken roasting season of the year. Time for baking and interior design and teetering stacks at the library every week.

I have begun a Pinterest page all about Autumn pleasures (so much fun!) and am working to carve out time again for reading. I find it more difficult suddenly with so much school happening. Am also finding that fall means more volume of clothing to wash and put away since everyone's wearing layers, cold weather in the morning and night and then hot by peak of day.....clothes, clothes everywhere. I feel like I spend all day collecting things and tossing them basementward for washing. On the upside, my new attention to life indoors here has meant that I am getting into a housekeeping rhythm for the first time in my life. I am sweeping the kitchen floor, wiping down the counters, swiping out the bathroom sinks and getting a little laundry moving, almost without fail every morning. Not bad for 10 years of housewifery lessons. Finally getting a little somewhere!

And now I'm off to heat up the oven for roasting dinner and take a quick breeze out to the garden to pull old plants and put in a few more fall crops....better late than never.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Seeds and Other Lessons

We are homeschooling apace! All kinds of fun things happening. We have been watching our mushroom kit bloom (Thank you Aunt Sheila!!!), talking about living on a planet, testing out reading maps, chanting the Spanish vowels, and revving up for learning about the ancient Mesopotamian culture. Life is busy and I am not sure I have entirely enough arms but I am slowly learning little tricks and beginning to visualize a Pom nap schedule emerging which is a really helpful thought. Love watching the boys learn and wonder and puzzle things out. Vicarious enjoyment is a really good invention.

Our big science project this week was a seed collection excursion and then the assembly of a collage of the goods. Artist mama got a little enthusiastic about the whole collage part and made it mixed media when she pulled out the pens and watercolors. Anybody know the name of the weed that grew that beautiful pointy round seed-head in the middle.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Snip, Snip

And just like that Mommy cut herself some bangs....out of nowhere...just because it suddenly occurred to me and I was standing in front of my mirror and there were scissors. Fun!

Sick of the plain and long look and missed a little something framing my face.Went for some long, swoopy feathered bangs on an angle. Haven't ever really parted to the side before. It feels youthful (Ru said I "look like a babysitter") and also a little more posh and classy which balances out the youthfulness.

I will evolve. So there.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Secretary In Training

I love me some little boy cuteness. Dee is"writing" on his own a lot lately and practicing holding pens behind his ear on the sly. Mommy doesn't say a word. I don't think he knows I saw.

Monday, September 10, 2012

3 Months of Cute

Welcome to a clean, new week folks. Its Monday. We have both feet on the ground. I am finally caught up on dishes, everyone's had baths but the baby and there's a pork roast waiting to go in the oven because it got all autumnal and cool overnight. So beautiful! We broke out the hoodies (Pom has the cutest one imaginable) and bought a turkey for practice feasting.

Pom is the sweetest baby ever...ever, ever in the history of babies. Nib was pretty easy going but I think Pom has even topped him. This is no brilliant success of me as genius mommy. I had one colicky screamer, and one overly attention hungry baby and then two easy ones in a row. Luck happens in every house. But this one, he's so sweet and social and sunny. He's very undemanding for the most part, he only really screams hard when he's hurting. He self soothes, he grins at strangers and will go to sleep anywhere.

He's just started giggling and he has the best, watery chuckle on the planet. So wet and ripply and addictive. I find myself alone with him on our bed at the end of pretty much every day trying to make him laugh, over and over...no matter how tired I am because it makes me so happy.

He rolled  front to back one time two nights ago and was very startled and put out to find himself face down in the blanket. He's always trying to do it again now, waving a chubby thigh in the direction which he intends. He has the chubbiest thighs. Incredibly cute.

He has also just started wrapping a tiny arm around my neck when I put him up to my shoulder to carry around while I set the table or lay out clothes for the day. So sweet to feel his little fist grasping, grasping, grasping at the curls on the nape of my neck.

My sister Doubleddog with Pom
Pom still smells of milk and sleeps half the day away and has no real hair. Am loving him and so pleased to have had him in my arms for three whole months. Am so incredibly smitten by this wee blue eyed person. Glad he chose me for his mommy.

Friday, September 7, 2012

XOXO, New York City

New York. You are a city of one million surprises. A vivid, bubbling pot of activity and culture and ideas and sights. I love taking my kids to you, slipping them into your busy stream and laughing out loud at what we encounter and learn about and wonder at.


 We are lucky to be neighbors, you and I, New York. I talk you up around town. I know plenty of people aren't sure that you're all you're cracked up to be. Dangerous? Overpriced? Stinky? I think you're a jungle gym of a place, all wild with the foment of hopeful, industrious, imaginative humanity. And I hope my boys feel your lovely hum in their bones in the same way I do.
I guess all I'm really trying to say is that I love you, New York. That's all. <3 p="p">

New York...I think The Highline is totally bananas! One of your best inventions yet. I'm a fan.