what we’ve been up to, abbreviated

1. We got two rats – Strawberry and Maude. Maude is very sick, probably for lack of care of previous owner? Please pray for my rat.

2. Nels gave Harris a whisker-trim. He did an OK job, actually.

3. I’ve been working super hard on the Community Garden and learning a lot about the local politics of extending community outside the status quo. ¡QUÉ LÁSTIMA!

4. I finished the g-d Harris costume for Nels. He loves it. It hurt my ego to sew it.

5. My children and husband are minutes away from leaving for the weekend on a little trip.

black thumb would be my pirate name

I’d been saying easy come, easy go with my gardening efforts but I won’t lie: it was a bit of a disappointment to view – on the morning before the last frost date for the area – the crispy terrain in my backyard covered with ice. My broccoli starts reproachfully eyed me with their mouths open in frozen death screams. Well who knows, maybe something will have survived.

Another rather silly thing is that I’m actually one of the charter members of the Community Garden this year, and I can’t really grow a thing. I’m going to be helping the grade school kids with their own garden plot. So that’s even more excellent: planting tender flower shoots, say, only to find them next week brown and sad and dead. “Hey kids, failure is a natural part of life so let’s learn about it!”

I’m really hoping I get some help from a Master Gardener.

it’s sprung!

vintage ad 1958
Originally uploaded by sixtiesbooks

Yesterday I put this year’s first load of clothes on the line and they were dry within hours. Today, walking (to check out a house my mother is interested in), biking and gardening all while wearing a new (gifted) spring skirt, t-shirt, and sandals – it just feels amazing. Ralph built up two garden beds and we have runner beans, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, sunflowers, amaranth and a handful of other flowers (gifted from Abbi) to put in beds tomorrow, not to mention seeds to start (peas, carrots, lettuce, onions, beans, and more flowers). The kids are in spring spirits too, having their first dirty-feet day of the season and staying up late.

Tonight: first bonfire of the season, including sleeping bags, quilts, and snuggling.

so I had a new baby…

3/28/08 2:15 PM: date and time that my precious, precious X joined the family. I feel superstitious and odd about it though because, A. it isn’t fully paid off (but will be soon!); B. heck, even when it’s paid off it was a lot of money!; C. I haven’t put it on the front of the bus yet (have to try that out at the bus barn and hopefully while it’s not snowing); and D. I’m still getting used to the very different handling of this new vehicle.

Sophie was still at school when I loaded Nels up and went off on the inaugural run to get groceries. It was literally hailing, I was in the lowest gear (I didn’t realize this at first) and wobbling, and I could hear Terry (Bike Shop Guy) behind me making nervous, doubtful sounds as I rounded the corner. Once I sorted the gears things went better. The bike felt long and strange – even though I’m used to a much longer tail (vis-a-vis trailer – but obviously there is a “bend” in the trailer set-up). Nels up behind me instead of on two wheels on the ground felt odd but he seemed to really enjoy it. We hit Swansons and I kind of wondered around the place getting groceries, still excited about the bike (we bought Ralph some Jones Soda and the rest of tonight’s repast).

From there we headed home, briefly warmed up inside and went off to get Sophie. The hail had subsided but the wind and cold were fierce. Adding another kid to the bike felt very wobbly and odd but the little monkey mounted, dismounted, and held on perfectly. The little kiddos will need gloves for sure as the elements were very, very rough.

This morning Nels took a tomato start to his teacher (actually his substitute teacher who was filling in during maternity leave; today was her last day) and I sent two to a couple AmeriCorp students Ralph knows at GHC.

The weather may not have tuned into this fact – but Spring is indeed here!

Tomato Starts

rainy Easter exploits

My husband has been lying in bed sick, or under some general malaise, since early this afternoon; it was left to me to prepare Easter dinner (BLTs with homemade white bread, deviled eggs, carrot sticks, olives, fancy pretzels, hot tea), pick up tomato starts, entertain the children, do the preschool’s laundry, tidy the house, and make these:

Happy Onion Day!
Please excuse the crappy Photo Booth shot; these turned out as beautiful as the tutorial indicates.

Happy Easter, all!

i totally feel like i’m going to puke

Because I’m hosting a “little” get-together on Friday and it is the first time I’ve invited more than a few people into my house. Suddenly I realize I feel like my house looks freakishly bare (it is), I need to go buy more dishes (I do) and build a firepit (I don’t, I’m just weird), and I know there’s no way I can figure out stuff for the attending children to do (P.S. my own children play games like, “Guess Whose Clothes These Are?” which is my daily ploy – and it works! – to have them help me with laundry folding and putting away).

I’m just hoping a willing host family, a clean house, and lots of good food is good enough for my friends; I’m sure it is. P.S. I think I might reserve the services of some kind of clown / balloon-blowing / stripper person in the yard and hope we don’t have rain and if just one thing goes wrong I will hide in a closet crying.

Lily Of The Garden
It’s summer in my mom’s yard which is a beautiful time of year. Ralph and I were married about this time (early September) and had the reception at my parents’ (which is the house of my great-grandparents); I remember the quasi-unruly garden being in full bloom and lovely. I remember being caught on tape revealing I was wearing Friday panties (or whatever day it was).

Tonight, this was odd: my brother is going for a trip until late August to visit friends and his girlfriend (in CA) and he kindly accepted a dinner invitation at my house. This evening after we ate I thought perhaps I’d been smoking crack when he actually hinted for a hug before he left. I assume now that he’s planning on dying in a train derailment or perhaps he’s eloping, never to return.

In some ways I think my children have brought a lot more demonstrative love to my family. After all they quite frequently hug, kiss, say, “I love you,” and “I’ll miss you” which is definitely not how I grew up talking with my family. In fact my brother’s own hug request was after my children had hugged him, kissed him, said, “Come back soon,” and “Have a good trip,” not because I trained them to say those things but because we say affectionate things to one another in my family and they feel genuine and deep affection for their uncle. Even their grandpa, and propriety forbids me from writing out all the ways that mean old man barely deserves love (just kidding, I ruv roo daddy!).

Taste Of Sunshine
She is biting with the side of her mouth to avoid her loose front tooth. That thing is crazy-assed loose.