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

Friday, December 30, 2016

Getting Outside

Christmas break has meant a hike a day. Our normal family rhythm in the last year has been to hike once a week, usually Sunday afternoons. I cannot tell you how it resorts my head, makes me love my husband again, helps me see that the world is not all bad and totally shifts my pouty little boys from crankhead mode to blissful little outdoor explorers. Its been a really big shift for our family since we moved here to California.

New Year's is coming up and I love me some resolutions, some deep self analysis, some shift and some hard soul work....New Year's is my jam. January is my favorite. Love all that starting over-ness. Once upon a time, I was a lonely resolution maker with a husband who scoffed and thought I was lame and wouldn't have resolved to do anything if you blackmailed him to make him do it. He has totally changed his tune and now we resolve separately, together, silently, out-loud and help each other accomplish, review and remember our resolutions as the year progresses and as we look back on the last year.

One we picked this last year, in our new home state was weekly hikes. And we have been stuck with it. Here we find ourselves with vacation time and what are we doing with it? Hiking more than once a week....we're seriously out on trails for an hour+ every single day. I'm kind of amazed. It feels so good to be outside this much, to be active together, to see the beautiful stuff we are catching. Today when we hiked, we watched a coyote catch mice in a field, found elfin saddle mushrooms, and watched the sunset over the rolling green hills through a lattice of oak trees. The world is incredibly beautiful and it feels so wonderful to be united as a couple in our getting out there in it.

Here are some things to consider as I share our hiking victory:

  • Our kids still complain....every single week. We just go anyway.
  • Sometimes we go while having an argument or with hurt feelings between us as a pair.
  • We have messed up and missed our hikes...we just boomerang back into the habit as soon as we can.
  • It has never been a waste. Its always a total balm.
Get outside.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Am I My Brother's Shopper?

I took the boys shopping today. This is our Dollar Store Christmas outing, to do their one, big, annual shopping extravaganza of giving. They have pocket money that they are allowed to buy things for themselves with throughout the year...but that money is all virtual and deducted and credited to them via little tallies on their Daddy's ever-spooling spreadsheet. Its pretty much all spent on junk food impulse purchases, Super balls and Pokemon cards. This money, is handed to them in cash...they each get five dollars....that's a dollar for each brother and then three other dollars to divide use for other gifts as they see fit (one for Mommy, one for Daddy and one for the family, two gifts for the kids to share and one for the parents, three other gifts the whole family can enjoy together....etc.) I put very few limits on what they buy and we can take as much time as they like in the shopping process. I did tell them no Playdough this year (light gray rental carpets in 80% of the house) and I also put the nix on the idea of giant knife with blood painted on the blade. I did however, allow the purchase of more Nerf action than I have the nerves to really enjoy.

The boys hem and haw, sometimes confer with each other in harried whispers, sometimes ask my advice and sometimes refuse any counsel. After they have selected what they want, I go over their plan with them privately while the siblings look the other way and talk amongst themselves. I ask them to tell me specifically who each gift is for, so that they can be sure they have it all figured out and that there are no double buys or accidental misses. I add no feedback or comments but simply make sure that they are sure they have everything they want to buy. There is no buying for yourself, although you are allowed to tell Mommy in furtive whispers if something catches your eye and is your burning wish for Christmas....it may get passed on to other shoppers who are stuck for ideas.

Once all decisions are made, we take the purchases up front and cash is handed out to each kid (I cover all tax and unexpectedly higher prices) and they wait in line with their things. They are coached through putting their goods on the conveyer, adding the divider between them and the next customer and waiting at the register for the cashier to ask for their money. I have them take the change and ask the cashier to count it back to them for good measure. Then they put their receipt into their own bag, thank the cashier and move over to the door to wait while their siblings complete their purchases.

Its mega fun for the boys to make such big adult purchases and to feel that they have such sacred power to surprise others and bring a gift home of their own choosing. Some years there have been unexpected squeals of joy over the selections once they are unwrapped....I am sometimes astonished at the way a sibling knows just the right thing to delight their brother. Its also such jolly fun to see a kid restrain himself with sighs and wishes from getting a toy he really wants and instead buy one for his brother because he knows his brother would also love it....and then on Christmas morning watch them realize that they bought each other the same longed for item. What a wonderful lesson in giving and the joy that there is in restraint and the deliciousness that there is in allowing space in our lives for other people to be good to us, not only to meet our own needs privately.

So, now we have to put the tree skirt down! Its all wrinkly and I meant to iron it up over the weekend and get it down but I forgot. Now its time to get serious....there are things that have been earnestly wrapped but little boys and labeled with little phonetically spelled tags in determined, wobbly writing. These are worthy presents, every year I'm glad I do this....even when the customers in line behind us are sighing dramatically and looking at their watches, and Pom has crawled under a store display for chocolate santas and pouted that he was going to live there forever. Even then. This, is a great tradition.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Poetry Friday: A Morning Poem

Happy Poetry Friday.....on Saturday in the wee hours.

I was out late with lady friends and am just now getting home, with an insistent poem forming on the tip of my tongue. So, here I am. Happy Weekend! Happy Poetry!

Poetry Friday is a group of poem sharers and authors who take turns making a giant leaf pile of verse to jump into with your warm coffee mug on Saturday or Sunday morning. Everyone pitches in poems that they love or poems they have written and someone takes a turn hosting the list of collected links and together we make a beautiful, literary village. I love the inspiration of being "around" other creators, I love the accountability of a place to share my stuff and a scheduled time for having something ready, I love also love the interest there is in reading through all these ideas and styles and eras of writing. I've read poems in this group which have left me dumb and deeply moved and poems that have made me laugh out loud. I sometimes share the ones for children with my boys and I often bookmark some to come back to or send them off to someone I think will enjoy that particular piece.

Have a gander....its a lovely kind of festival to wander through. This week our host is Brenda Davis Harsham who writes at Friendly Fairy Tales.

Morning Lark
She drooped over her water glass
On the bar between us.
9 o'clock was a limit.
It was pointless to sit awake on
Dark winter nights, cotton-headed
And dull, when there was only t.v.
To be conscious for.
9 o'clock was the end.
She'd rather be up at crisp o'clock
The world glittering at her feet
The cotton of the night before
Lifting off into the pale, clear sky.
There would be hot coffee
Running in holy rivulets off her desk
And a To Do List of sparkling assignments
Snapping at her saucily,
Her bright feet high-stepping
The jig between laundry and kitchen
No drooping in sight.


Friday, November 18, 2016

What's Fueling My Fire....

           Its great to share ideas and to inspire each other with both the thoughts and growth we are experiencing but also with the raw idea of BEING inspired. We should be looking around us for stuff that makes us feel astonished and amazed and full of answers and energy. Please, allow me to go first....
Here's a little peek into my resource room at the moment. These are things in my world that are filling my tank, pushing my edge, giving me ideas and handing out delicious mental gymnastics:


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Autumn, Right Here.

I have in my mind this brilliant idea for an art project/home decoration/science creation. I want to make a large, watercolor wheel of seasons that will go on my wall....but instead of the traditional seasonal markers I will fill it all out with the wild things that make up the seasons here in Northern California. I have fallen in an Alice In Wonderland  world full of topsy turvy references which are vaguely familiar but all seem a bit jumbled, stirred with a hearty dose of unusual occurrences that I have never experienced. Its a new outdoors, a new science and a new sense of place. I am wildly curious and astonished and excited and aghast that I still hear, EVERYWHERE from cynical locals, "Bummer about not having seasons anymore now that you moved here, eh?" Seasons are everywhere. Traditional is only some places.

For instance, here are some of the things which will go in my Autumn slice of the wheel:

Autumn In NoCal Means.....

  • Monarch butterflies drifting through traffic
  • Blush of color on the sweet gum, pepper, ginko and crepe myrtle trees.
  • Ripe persimmons in my garden
  • Figs area ready to eat in every corner lot
  • Wild mushroom hunting time in the hills!
  • Twilight mating season walks for tarantulas
  • Planting the winter veggie garden
  • Monsoon season begins
  • The prickly pear cactus fruits
  • Crab fishing season! 
  • Meteor shower time, head to the hills for spectacular shows
  • Waterfalls re-appear...time for all the hikes along rivers.
  • Napa is hung with astounding grapes of all varieties and colors
  • Gold Rush Days in Sacramento (we'll make it next year!)
  • Dia De Los Muertos celebrations throughout the area
  • Olive harvest and oil pressing
  • Elk mating season
  • Bird migrations....some are spectacular (wild cranes for instance)
Did I miss any? Let me know your favorite things about Autumn in The Bay. I wanna notice all the stuff.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Woman-ing Up For The Challenge

I have been all adrift lately. I have let the laundry get rather out of hand, the man I never thought would be elected was, I lost some sleep, I ate junk that I know poisons me and spent far too much time sitting, I skipped hiking and I fussed a lot about feeling lonely and not being sure I fit in at our church. I went down low. And then, because I am a woman, with capacity to create life and an indomitable spirit, because I can actually handle all of those things, because life is so much grander and deeper and richer than the man who was elected or the laundry....I dug in and looked for reasons to come back up.

The world is insanely beautiful. I believe in the human spirit, the rich spirit of each and every person....of Donald Trump.....of each voter....of working people in The Heartland and wild liberals in The Bay. I think that we become that which we brood over because we are walking prophecies, and I am determined to tell a good story over myself. I think we live in the luckiest time that's ever been historically. I think humility and compassion makes the world so much better than bitterness and overwhelm ever will. I think there is far more deception in politics and media than there is truth, even though each of us wants to be known desperately....even politicians.  I think that fear compacted instead of expressed, recognized and released becomes anger which becomes bitterness which is the great poison of mankind.

I saw a movie tonight, all about Big Ag and seed saving and the incredible power of life that is in all living plants. It was overwhelming and shocking and scary but they wound the conclusion deftly into a hopeful, Everyman's battle that made each home gardener, each heritage seed catalog customer, each lover of nature into a piece of the massive, powerful solution. I love that hopeful ending. I know I am only one woman and only a housewife who frequently feels the cultural weight of dismissal and unimpressed pity because I haven't got titles or jobs or resumes or degrees or any other grand things at all. I have an audacious sense of entitlement for a small town, female nothing. I feel a sacred part of what makes the world work, I feel insurmountable in the face of trouble, I feel charged to be a healer of the sick and broken things, I feel strong, I feel unwilling to back down, I feel able to flex and bend and survive because I am a woman who knows compassion and nurturing and hears the small, pouting child in everyone who just needs love. I feel able to create and draw power from nowhere, and I would rather create than wither.

I am caught between worlds right now. I voted one way, my man voted differently, my parents and siblings are on different shores, my hometown is a world away from this place I live now. I don't belong anywhere. I have my own opinions of course, but no matter what I decide, I know too much AND too little to fit in with any camp. I am some kind of  odd, cultural orphan without a social "home." I can let that unsettle me and make me feel damned if I do and damned if I don't. I can make it feel lonely and hopeless and impossible. I can let it sever my from people and places I love, from things I once thought or even from things I still think....from pieces of who I really am. I let it turn into apathy, immobility and lethargy with a jaded glaze over my eyes. I could let it make me pissed, full of vitriolic poison for all the things I don't understand or things I understand too well. But, I much prefer my eventual path. I think I'm super lucky to be hung in mid-air, in the very messy middle of it all. I can choose compassion and knowledge and hope and connection to all my scattered bits of self and reach and arm across the circle to the people that I love on each side of the divide and be a human conductor of kindness and love when they can not bear to touch each other. I hope that my discomfort will motivate me to keep working for belonging for everyone and if that's what a little awkwardness does its worth it. That's the way I want to live, so may God keep me uncomfortable and able to tap into my own displacement for a good long time.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Consciousness and Vegetable Death

The tomato vines have fallen on their faces, sprawling out of the beds and making their gangling way onto the cement patio, as if they were reaching for the back door of our home. Frost will not come here so watching the hot weather crops time themselves out is a totally new process for me. Its a gruesome spectator sport. There's no sudden icy morning to put them out of their misery so instead things go on blossoming at one end and turning slowly brown at the other, growing more and more thin and leggy, finally flopping in exhausted, ridiculous length like the cosmos that just fell over after growing taller than our garage, the neck of each new bloom absurdly lengthened like some overdone body shaping competition. The squash continued fruiting manically while also deteriorating into the most impressive mass of powdery mildew I have ever seen. Its a strange new way to switch growing modes. The swiss chard produced so heavily that I honestly lost sight of ever keeping up with eating it. Everyone received bouquets of big crinkled leaves and sunrise colored stalks but it kept coming and coming....finally I all but abandoned it ("Swiss chard boys?" *crickets*) and such a horde of aphids descended that it looked like black mold, growing all over each stalk and eventually creeping up and covering the leaves. I ended up sawing them all off at the ground to be humane. Its so different to grow here.

 I have grown plants my whole life and yet, BAM.....new biome and I feel totally new, floundering and astonished. A asks me all the time "What's that tree? What do you think that flower is?" and mostly my answers are just a lot of, "I have no idea." Its intimidating if I allow it to suck the air out of the room for a second...but if I just reach for my curiosity and desire to never be jaded and love of learning and excitement then suddenly its means something good. I keep trying to figure out the next thing, be grateful for the questions and stumped moments that keep me scratching my head and practice letting go of my anxiety, my need to be right, my choking expertism and my soul killing perfectionism.

One of the things that's so helpful about newness is that it forces actual conscious experience. So much of what we "know" isn't even actually absorbed or seen or focused on....let alone mulled over and considered. All the things are amazing and shocking and weird if seen from the right angle, newness is a great way to make it happen. It reminds of the phenomenon of seeing a word that you have known all your life and for some reason suddenly being unsure if it "looks right" because you just really see it for some unknown reason and it looks so odd, so whimsical, so bizarre...."Is that really how it goes?" Even though you've seen it your whole life and written and read it countless times, there it is, looking so conscious and oddly impressive. Its how people learning English feel when they see the word for the first time too, and you just got a freak glimpse of it like some odd wrinkle in time. That's me, in California. Although....I guess, its less a freak glimpse and more "learning English." Learn on!


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Seasons In California

End of the plane ride....Mama losing it a little.
We had a wonderful visit back to Michigan with our two families, and were part of my youngest sister Song's wedding to Jack, the newest uncle in the tribe. Its a hard gig, suddenly finding yourself in ownership of "uncle-ing" my four wild boys and I have to say, Jack rises to the challenge. We have been quite lucky in both of the last two uncle acquisitions. My sisters know how to pick playful dudes with love of action figures, roughhousing and silly jokes...all the important things. Its an unspoken thing,  evaluating potential spouses of your siblings for the kind of uncles or aunts they will be to your kids. Never heard anybody talk about that before but it sure is important to me. You don't get to pick your own kids aunts and uncles and you sure don't get to select them when you are the kid but its  a pretty important role. I have looked up to my aunts and uncles a lot as I grew up and sometimes they have been sources of advice or assistance and more and more as I get older, they are part of my network of emotional warmth and love. There's no underrating the role that you can have in a child's life as a peripheral adult in their family who cares and is around and willing to "get" them. Determined to "aunt" more actively this year and make sure my nieces and nephews know that I care. 

The leaves on my crown here are from Michigan when we were there last week, the maples were just before peak, turning red and orange everywhere on the edges of the woods. We have many fewer maples by variety and by volume here in Northern California. I miss the trees I know well, mostly in the way one misses old friends, not because they are the only lovely trees on the planet but just because they are my "known" faces. I miss my childhood trees for familiarity and comfort, but I love all the trees I am getting to know out here. A eucalyptus or pepper tree are graceful beauties that I never knew before. I do have to share that for the amount of griping and disparaging I hear from locals about the "lack of seasons" in California (No autumn at all, so goes the rumor.) I thought the fall color was beautiful! We don't have the same ecosystem so there aren't big sweeps of maple forests which give the "hills are alive" kind of color that Michigan and Connecticut have in the fall. Most of our autumn color is out in the vineyards which all turn gold in the fall, or in the cities. There are beautiful street trees that are all turning color here, apparently unseen, because nobody points them out or talks about them much. I'm puzzled about why! The leaves on the sweet gum trees are just beginning to blush red around town now. They turn the most spectacular scarlet and so do the Japanese maples, the red maples, and the crepe myrtles. One of my favorites in fall is the ginkgo which will puts on one of the most uniform and brightly gold glow, pretty much every single leaf on the tree will turn a glowing yellow.    Here there are lots of new friends however, I love the sweet gum trees, the pepper trees, the crepe myrtles and so many more. The persimmons in our backyard will turn a dark lipsticky red too around Thanksgiving. Fall foliage is later here....coming more in November and even December than September and October and much slower and gradually. We get chilly mornings and evenings, albeit without frost and eventually after color is over the leaves will fall all over town too. We have a lot of persistant foliage too so its doesn't look as bare, but if you which streets to go down, the big leaf maple, sweet gum and sycamores leave big, unseen swathes of leaves for kicking through. Secret Autumn in Norcal.

 I harvested the first hydrangea heads to put up on the mantle today, a few of them had blown down in the first rains (the rainy season is here and starting to turn sunny days into a rarer sighting). I put a few on the front porch with our pumpkins and squashes too. Lovely to have my own decorations growing in the backyard. I have considered spray painting some gold just for subtle shimmer. Might be beautiful or might be tacky, hard to say.

The kale is still appreciating the recent trimming that I gave it and is putting out a new flush of delicious leaves. Strange to realize that there is no real point in putting it away in the freezer for winter as winter here means kale in the garden, fresh at hand. Still wrapping my mind around all that each season means. 

One of my next big projects will be making a NorCal Wheel of Seasons....with painted reminders of what things signify the changing seasons here, I'm so annoyed with everyone saying that there are none. All the world has seasons and change, we just don't all live in a Tasha Tudor book.....the world is more diverse and interesting than that. Who made New England seasons the heartbeat of what change in the natural world world means? It reminds me of the ridiculous obsession homeowners have with keeping up an green English lawn, even when it doesn't make any sense in their ecosystem. There is more than one way to enjoy a front yard or to mark the changing of the year. 

That's our cute little Orange Blossom Cottage, with the kitchen light glowing as the sun goes down. Hello to all of you, from Cali!


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I'm A Pioneer, Dragon Woman From A Special School

There's a meme going around that's totally delicious. Everyone is sharing the three fictional characters to blend together to describe themselves. I love me a character portrait and I also love personal examination. This little social experiment has both. Yum. Why stop at my three characters? I'm going deeper.

The three I chose were:

Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter

Danaerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones 
Milly from Seven Brides For Seven Brothers

A and I got to talking together and one of the most interesting parts of this whole thing is trying to guess what a person is thinking of when they say that a character represents them. There are a constellation of pieces that make-up a character and real people are at least as complicated. I started chewing through the reasons for picking this character or that (I thought of several who could have been on the list) and whittled it down using the virtues that each one embodied, trying to map across each of them, different key aspects of my values. Kind of fun....

I picked Luna for: Loyalty, Unconventionality and Perceptiveness
Danaerys represented: Strength, Belief In Mystic Destiny. and Tender Vulnerability
Milly signified: Capability, Energy and Femininity  

These are some of my deepest held values. Kind of fun to unpack, weigh and consider...all because of a meme on social media. Nothing like a weekend away with a little fun time on your hands and the rippling tide of information and communication and ideas that is the internet. 


Friday, September 23, 2016

Mama Me

          One of the great challenges of motherhood is the push to consider everyone else and to keep drawing out of our well for the great, clamoring throng who beg to be satiated. The trick is that the well must not run dry....mothers need love and nurturing too and as legal adults we are now responsible for our own healthful self-care. Here are some good thoughts for what to try when you're running on E. (I am preaching to the choir.....)
10 Ways To Mother Yourself

  1. Give Yourself A Soothing Bath.....Do all the motherly touches, add a scented oil, sail something fun in the water (a blossom or two), have a soft, warm towel ready afterwards and add lotion to your dry skin like a good mama would.
  2. Put Yourself Down For A Nap or To Bed Early....This one requires either a good show for your kids to watch and an alarm to wake you before the show is quite finished or more ideally, another adult to sponsor handling the littles (if there are any in your life) while you catch zZzZzz's. Remember, good mamas know that the best thing to do when you're too tired to cope is to lie down for a little while. 
  3. Give Yourself A Nourishing Meal....A diligent mama will have none of this junk food business when her small one needs extra caring for. Nourishing, cozy food is the ticket....a warm soup with all the veggies, soft cooked eggs with a side of gently steamed asparagus, a freshly made green juice with a little floral garish to make it more alluring...beautiful but healthful treats.
  4. Give Yourself Kind Advice....Be the thoughtful, supportive voice you need to hear. Tell yourself that everyone makes mistakes, gently ask what wonderful lesson there might be in this experience for your edification, tell yourself that you are the most charming self you ever had and there couldn't be another in the world you'd rather have. Let the words you leave rattling around in your own mind be the kind a good mother would give. All warmth and unconditional love without a bit of empty flattery or chintzy trite shallowness. 
  5. Try A Gentle Foot Massage....Use a warm oil, add a drop of some essential oil that makes you feel snug and then just go over every inch of your tired little feet. Coax your muscles into softening and your bones into pliable release and let all the exhaustion, pain and work you carry out into your own mother hands.
  6. Read Yourself A Story That You Can Dissappear Into....Find a short story or a long one, a printed story or an e-version any kind of adventure that you want to never leave. Settle into pillows for your little getaway. Read aloud to yourself, do all the voices and insist that you close your eyes sometimes to imagine the scene for a second now and then. Sometimes we all need to be whisked off into the magical world of a far away land.
  7. Offer Yourself A Little Treat For Behaving....I'm not endorsing rewards and punishments....this is not meant to be a teaching episode or a bribe for accomplishment, just think of something you have done well recently and reward yourself. Perhaps you got caught up on laundry and now can have the nice smelling laundry soap, maybe you remembered fill up the car and so now you can take five minutes to joy-ride someplace that makes your heart sing. Its the little things. Celebrate your good choices and treat yourself in some small way like a mother would. 
  8.  Lay Your Things Out The Night Before....Pick out your whole outfit the night before a stressful day. Select everything from your earrings to your socks and lay out all the little things you know you'll forget. Your favorite coffee mug, the car keys, and your best water bottle with a lemon wedge already in it. A good mama knows what her child will need and provides it all thoughtfully.
  9. Brag On Yourself To Those Who Will Appreciate....This is not pomposity, this is lovingkindness for your little charge that leaves you bursting at the seams....talk about yourself the way a wonderful mother would speak of the one she is raising. Tell what you are proud of, the little victories, the hard won successes, the silly, charming errors that make you giggle. Those who care will be so pleased to share your personal pride. A good mother knows how to tactfully brag on her child. Follow suite.
  10. Be Endlessly Patient....You are just learning, you have never been this age before, you have never done this life stage before, you know very little, you are trying your best and you are a good soul who wants to do well and tires, and lacks knowledge, and flubs it up but is quite allowably imperfect. Mothers know and offer patience and grace to their children when they see their efforts and their exhaustion. See the same in yourself and offer loving support and patience as you learn. 


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Destruction Day

We spent a lot of our time today working on destruction. Its the time of year for heartlessly uprooting the yellowing, flopping and barren members of the vegetable garden. The borage and squash were so prickly that I left them to black into the crisp bits of stiff stalk several weeks ago and they were still incredibly prickly. I never had enough borage in my garden to realize how very covered with tiny, crystalline needles they truly are. They are practically cacti! Astoundingly off-putting. I ended up picking them up between two trowels and forking them over to the compost can. There was a lot of dropping and accidental shredding and a few prickers in my fingers despite all my efforts. Next time, I might do well to wear gloves and consider containing the borage in future gardens. The next frontier will be putting in a few fall crops. Its funny to think about gardening year round here without even trying. The kale just gets chopped down with a larger and larger axe as the seasons wheel round and it grows new stalks from its roots or from the old stalk bases and it basically becomes a grove of kale that lives with you eternally.

The boys and I are so dead after one day a week at the co-op that we are attending. The whole next day is marked off for recovery....dinner the night of our co-op is always a deflated afterthought. I wish I could say I was organized enough to have something snug in the crockpot every week but yeah,.....truth....its like leftovers and take-out and whatever I happen to have in my canned good pantry.  I'm kind of embarassed at the way it takes the wind out of our sails. How do all of you "normal" people do it every single day? Perhaps the contrast of a whole day out and about, teaching and learning, and leaving the house early and packing lunches and filling water bottles against the backdrop of our quiet, homey normal is what is really getting us. Whatever it is...its incriminating. I feel like a total wuss! I am trying to quit beating myself up for it and give us all a little extra grace to deal with what is. Its hard to accept something that is loaded with negative meaning.

This weekend we are headed up to Lake Tahoe to hole up in a little cabin together, skip rocks across the lake and take a chilly dip in that clear, clear water. Nib is hoping desperately for some fishing and I am hoping for a peaceful, foggy morning rising alone, before the whole camp is up....the mist rising off the lake, a loon in the distance. Mommy wishes.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Autumn, Geneology and Italian Novels

Even here in California, the land of eternal sunshine and placid seasons that go stepping on fairly evenly...we have begun to notice that autumn is coming in now. The blackberries are almost done everywhere. The vines just blushing crimson and lying barren at the side of all the roads. Grapes are in, sitting heavily on every farmer's table at the market on Wednesday nights downtown. They sell every color: misty Concord blue, reds with a shine on their cheek and the pale dusted yellow ones that taste a darker sweet right before you swallow.
 The oaks on every hill have acorns beginning to drop and every walk we take brings pockets full of shiny little nuts to the laundry pile and the kitchen counter top. Such a deliciously seasonal problem. I have been collecting them when I find around the house and I now have a little heap on the kitchen window above the sink. I like how acorns and apples both glow when you polish their cheeks.
 The apple tree is still dropping fruit in the yard and the boys alternately bring the fruit eagerly to me and play kickball with them, splattering them satisfactorily against the foundation. Mommy is not so very keen on this game of course because it means a lot of scrubbing after the fruit has been discovered dried onto the wall the next day. Not all of the ideas can be good ones.
 We are working away at Latin, a new subject for us this year in our homeschool, and memorizing the locations of the European seas while I follow in real-time the travels of my Michigan pal who has gone to Italy to find her family's roots. I am also neck deep in my own genealogical obsession so the combination of travel + family history + real life geography studies has me utterly captivated. I am living off her photos and sharing them with the boys every time another one pops up like it was their father away on a business trip. They are a little mystified I think but game for whatever strange thing Mom want to show them. The fact that A's brother Miq lives in Italy right now helps them to see that there might be something interesting in the whole thing. We have been dreaming of hitting up The Mediterranean for our next big family adventure for a while. Once we thought we'd combine Morocco, France, Spain and Italy but we have been wisely counseled to avoid Moroccan water until our children are a little older. Our latest revisions of the dreamed of trip have us tooling around Italy and spending a lot of time letting our kids romp with their cousins in the castle they are renting, (not a joke) My childhood friend is making it look so very good.

Now accepting books that make you see visions of the Italian countryside and dream in Italian. Under The Tuscan Sun and......?