Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I love this book.

My newest favorite kid's book.

Friday, February 21, 2014


It has been a rough winter here in my neck of the woods. Bitterly cold for days at a time. Any warm up at all seemed to bring with it huge amounts of snowfall. It almost came as a relief when temperatures started to fall again. Almost.

Wednesday afternoon, I had to go out at lunch time, and when I walked out the door, a warm breeze hit me. There were birds singing. The sky was dark, heavy with approaching rain. I stopped. It felt like spring, and my response to it was an almost visceral joy. We are going into our third day of moderate temperatures, and the rain has melted off a lot of ice. I had to wade to my car after work last night, through about 4 inches of water that was not there when I parked the car that morning. All these inconveniences seem minor after the long winter.

Other breaking news: William watched grandpa carrying in his new crossbow, and began to jump up and down yelling, "Grandpa bought a new gun! Yay for grandpa!" Grandpa had a very good week. He also bought a 1982 GMC truck. The truck is nearly completely original. William began to yell, "Grandpa bought a new truck. Yay for grandpa!" Watching the response again, I turned to Tim to ask, "Did you teach him to do this?" Tim assures me he did not, that William cannot help being a little boy who gets excited about trucks and guns.

William has turned three this week. He is active and lively, and will have a pirate themed birthday party with two of his cousins and a little girl from school. We will make eye patches and 'lights' and they will go looking for 'buried' treasure, and have a family supper afterwards.

The longer that his mother lives here, the more talking we are able to do. With that talking comes healing, for me, mostly. I've grieved over her for a long time now, and it has been difficult to watch her struggle through the years and not feel as if you have, as a mother, failed her somehow. Of all the things in the world that I could fail at, failing as a mother is the biggest shame of my life. But as we talk, she looks at me quizzically. She doesn't understand my grief. She doesn't think her life is my fault. She points out that I tried to warn her about this, or about that, that I tried to be a good mother, that I did the things that a good mother should do.

The seasons are changing. My little corner of the world begins to thaw. And for the first time, since that girl was 14, something is thawing inside of me too. The dark days grow brighter. A life current begins, once again, to flow inside, warming me.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jewelry Class

My family was a difficult family. It was not a healthy place to grow up in for the most part. That is not to say that I did not take good lessons away from it. I am a hard worker because of them. I suppose that there are other things. It strikes me as a little sad that I can't think of them right this moment.

Last night at my jewelry making class, I was not happy with the results. I kept studying the work of others, and trying to figure out what it was. Their earrings seemed gracefully shaped, and mine just seemed...well...not graceful. I couldn't put it into words, but what popped into my head is that I was working too hard on my pieces. The others just gave theirs a simple bend or twist, and there was grace. Me? I was using multiple tools to try achieve symetry and the perfect arch. The metal seemed tense and overworked, as ridiculous as this sounds.

Someone said, "You judge yourself too harshly," and patted my arm.

I looked at my earrings and said, "Sometimes I do, maybe, but this time, it's simply a matter of finding the beauty in the work of others. You all have a good eye. "

The masseuse looked at me and said, "You know, once when I was in school, we were given a few minutes to list the attributes of the person sitting on our left and then to our right. Nobody knew what the teacher was going to make us do with those words, whether we would have to read them aloud in front of everyone, or give them to our neighbors, or what. When the teacher called 'Time!' she told us to read the words on the paper and realize that we had described ourselves.

Yes. I have heard this before. The sound of my mother's voice popped into my head: "If there is something that you hate about someone, you need to take a good look at yourself, because it's something you don't like about yourself." Which translated to this: It was not possible to work anything out, because no matter what you said, it was not her problem...you were describing yourself and your problems.

On the school bus, we said it another way. "I know I am, but what are you?" repeated over and over and over again." No way to stop it except to fall silent, to let it alone.

I looked around the table at the women. I realize that during the course of the class, I'd complimented them all, sincerely, about one thing or another. 'I know you are, but what am I?'. It had never dawned on me that these words could be applied positively.

After they left, I slid the table back behind the sofa and took the chairs back to the kitchen. I worked slowly, wondering.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

For Emily

A long time ago, I wrote a post about a young girl. I was worried about her on her wedding day, and I was worried about about her in all the subsequent days of that marriage.

This is Em today, in her own words.

I am very proud of this girl.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Happy Days

It's been a long time, hasn't it? Summing it up: Yes, I did get the capuccino machine. Yes, it works perfectly. Yes, I'm drinking a cup right this very minute.

Life is good. Hectic but good. Brianna and William live here now, and I am grateful to have our big house. They live upstairs, have adjoining bedrooms, and their own bathroom, which allows four people to live under the same roof and have their own space too. Tim and I see this as an opportunity. It has its rough spots, but mostly, it works in an imperfect 'that's how life goes' sort of way.

William's cheerful little presence makes quite a difference. He goes to school now and likes this very much. He always wants to tell us about his day. Example of a conversation with his grandpa: "I go gym, and bumpa noggin ona waaaaaall, and then I bumpa noggin ona dooooooor..." all the while shaking his head sadly. One night his mother was out, and I was putting him to bed, and he said, "Sit with me a liddy while," and so I did. I sat with him in his little room decorated with dinosaurs, and we watched The Aristocats for a bit as I rubbed his back. He kept looking over his shoulder and smiling. I finally said, "What's so funny, Mister Twister?" and he said, "I happy, Grandma." Everything is working out more smoothly than any of us expected, with a lot of positives.

The weather here has been quite cold. It's only 3 degrees out there this morning. I'm working every day, but otherwise, I just lay low. I cannot wait until spring, which is 41 days away (but who's counting?!)

Only 120 days until Dylan and Brittani get married!

Less than 90 days until Cara graduates with her master's degree!

12 days until William's 3rd birthday.

In between all those days, there will be Tim's 57th birthday, my 57th birthday, and our 16th anniversary. So many things to celebrate in the next 4 months. Life is good.