Thursday, August 15, 2019

Oh Canada

What does it come to: an existence with so many thoughts and so few words. I don't want to keep them all bottled up, though some of them should never escape. It's probably much to do with laziness and time but not really even.  I feel one way and then I feel another. Up and down, back and forth. It's hard to know what to give a voice to. By the time I sit down to write about whatever it is, it's then changed to whatever it was and then it feels too late. I've moved on and poo-pooed whatever feeling or response I had as self righteous mumbo-jumbo.

My moods and melancholy came with me on our family vacation to Canada. Trusty companions they have always proved to be. Is that a sentence I've been handed or is it something to overcome, to medicate, to ignore and look beyond in a quest for contentment and gratitude and joy. I can see my joys; they stand before me.  Three heads looking to me and learning from me and showing me in the flesh my strengths and my shortcomings, my preferences and my tendencies. They cheer me on and they drag me to the ground. They are wonderful creatures. And honestly, we are happiest at home. Though I'd like to test that theory in a serious way. 

Pictures to come..

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Piano Lessons


We've been going to Verity's piano teacher's house for lessons since school let out.  It's becoming one of my favorite places. In her living room that can hold little more sit two enormous pianos.  Verity joins her at the bench of one and the rest of us get comfortable on a long, deep couch covered with a sheet and pushed up against the side wall.  We all bring a book to read but mine can't hold my attention. Too many curiosities creep into my mind. 
Large, antique paintings hang on the walls. 
From behind the curtain that hangs in the doorway to the kitchen there is movement.  A young woman quietly moves aside the curtain and walks upstairs.
A bouquet of pink daisies fill a beautiful, antique vase which sits upon a heavy and scuffed coffee table.  
I decide the vase came with her from Armenia, the table did not.  
Then there's Verity. Silently sitting next to her teacher. We all wonder what has her attention because it's clearly not her piano lesson. Silence. More silence.  After much prompting a note is played. An answer is given. "C?"  "Yes, my love." It continues on like this for endless minutes. 
She is such a gentle, firm teacher.  After the lesson is over she declares with certainty that the problem is focus. It's like a doctor's diagnosis. A matter of fact. She says that next time we will close the curtains.  After that assessment we chat comfortably.  She talks to Abel. I manage a question or two and I learn that one of the paintings is of her childhood piano teacher. "Is she dead?" Verity asks. "Yes, she is." Amine answers without flinching. Then she looks at me and tells us the countless hours she spend with this woman. When her parents went on vacation she would live with this teacher. She was her family.  
She points to another painting on the wall and tells us that it represents the Armenian genocide but she didn't realize that when she got it. She thought it was beautiful. It is beautiful. 
"Do you ever go back?" I timidly ask.  "Oh, no." she casually answers. We leave it at that.







Monday, July 1, 2019

Credentials

My passport expired in 2013. I am ten months too late to be able to renew it which means I have to reapply for one in order that I might accompany our family on a camping trip in Canada this summer.
So into the late hours of last night I began the futile search for my birth certificate standing under the light of a naked bulb and looking through boxes strewn with damp papers, expired documents, report cards, and trivial things I thought worth saving in 2005.  Not among these papers and pictures was my birth certificate.

Instead, I found this newspaper article which holds far greater significance to this motherless daughter. "Grocers finding upscale shoppers seek upscale food." Beside this byline is a picture of my beautiful, smiling mother wearing a gorgeous fair isle sweater with my brother in a bonnet and cardigan sitting in a shopping cart reaching for a sample of food.  There she is. An upscale shopper. My mom and my brother miles from our home buying interesting food somewhere in Snellville.  It's a small glimpse of an ordinary day in her life.  I've made similar treks. I'm treasuring this trace of of her existence in a world that longs to forget.  


We dropped Naomi off for camp!  I'm so excited for her and all the fun she'll have. 


And summer carried forth for the rest of us at Walden Pond today. 


Verity seized her moment and moved to the top bunk and Abel took over Verity's former bunk for the time being. We'll see what happens when the wind changes. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Gratitude as a Found Object

Yesterday I woke up with a feeling of gratitude.  
It was acute, encompassing and even startling. For a minute, maybe more. 
It was if I had stumbled across an object given up as lost but then found right at the foot of my bed where I had looked a hundred times before. 

I gave it some more thought as the day progressed and came up with some very unromantic reasons for why this thankfulness might have shown itself.  Like for one I had prepared lunches waiting in the refrigerator to be placed into bags before walking out the door. Snooze. My children had outfits laid out all ready for the new day. Boring. Did these very practical steps of preparation lead to a brief moment of bliss?

I woke up this morning hoping to be greeted by the same wee slice of euphoria, lunches were again packed and outfits laid out almost superstitiously and of course it wasn't there. 
It eluded me, but I held close to the hope of yesterday's discovery. 
Like a pebble in my pocket. 
And remembered to be thankful.


Monday, January 21, 2019

January Quiet

I gave January the victor's crown early on but it's proving to be a tightly contested battle.  I changed my stance, I think it was on the 7th, and decided that I couldn't let moans and groans be my January song.  No one was listening to me whine about having to re-enter 'life' on January 2nd.  I'm trying to see this month for what it is instead of what it isn't. I've been thankful for the quiet.  
It's cold and dark, yes, and quiet.

I'm beginning to believe that the questions I have in my thirties will become answers in my forties. I'm not sure we even ask questions in our twenties.  While I find myself elbowing my husband more often to help me grab the word I'm missing, completely killing whatever conversation momentum I was building at the moment, I'm also finding less angst to accompany it.  I'm intrigued. 
Tell me more.  

My sister shared with me this article that I loved.  Oh it's good. Inspiring and all that. It led to a 'life conversation'. Those are always good and hard and best had when children in the next room are throwing handfuls of marbles up into the air to scatter and then find. 



Naomi turns eight. 



Myles is thirteen.


My window seat. 


TEA


:) 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Keeping Christmas




The hustle bustle and Abel's favorite place to play lately. 


Ramshackle, elfin collage. 


Verity and Abel rescinded their involvement in the Pageant this year. The wild star did not. :)


Paper Whiteth

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

This is successful summer ( 2018 draft)

This is the summer that the depth of any body of water, the height of any bridge was measured by the height of the BFG.  Could the BFG reach here?  Could the BFG touch the bottom here.  That's as tall as the BFG. I want to remember that.  

I also want to remember that this was the summer that we traded the beach for Walden Pond. More shade, more buoys, less waves and endless water, in a good way. 





I also want to remember that we went camping with success and with friends on Lovell Island in Boston Harbor.  And that we took the ferry and had a very successful road trip to Emerald Isle to see Eric's parents with two lovely stops in New Gretna on either side. :)

The Draft Vault Files of 2017 -this is a little ridiculous

So, all of my posts in 2017 remained in draft format.  And "lots" of them in 2018.  I wish I had just posted them.  Sooo self-conscious.  So, as I'm back to Dear Diary anonymity status, I'm considering an expose of 2017.  Don't hold your breath but 2017, yeah, that was a doozy of a year. I love getting older and being able to say that. I don't love the feeling that I JUST planted paper-white bulbs and that was in 2017 and now it's Christmas again already.  Christmas is supposed to take forever.  

I'll leave you with this gem written way back on Easter Monday 2018:  

"Is there a sleepier day than Easter Monday?  Clearly this is a rhetorical question because the answer is no. But is there ever a better day to eat chocolate eggs and drink very strong black tea to make up for the fact that you have to leave the house?  Another question I do not want you to answer."   

There's more where that came from. 

xo

may i speak to the school counselor please -from the draft vault circa 2017

For I reasons I can explain, I don't give that much color to the persons of Naomi and Verity here.  I broad brush scenarios and scenes and surround it all with a bit of humor.  But If I think about it -I don't really go there with many people in any forum be it a friendship, or a letter or even a teacher.  I like to let them speak for themselves.  But sometimes I fear that I sell them short.  And I know that it's going to be hard -hopefully not that hard to be the advocate that I know I will need to be for them.  No one can stand up for you, can speak up for you like your mom can.  Some people do this really well -advocacy, touching on the dynamic personalities of the children are blessed with.  I also really shy away from putting a label on my children.  I don't want Naomi growing up to believe that Verity is the funny one.  Says who?  I don't want to try too hard to decipher if I have an extrovert or an introvert emerging.

I was telling a friend that in my brief experience it seems that second-borns have a much easier time being themselves.  It's like the pressures off for them and they can go about their days exploring their likes and dislikes with ease.  The first-borns are paving the way -dipping their toe in to see if we freak out or not.  Second-borns seem to jump right in.  Or at least mine does.  Labels are easy and safe, but they worry me.

Accounting for Thanksgiving 2018




On Thursday a magazine and a notebook were purchased. On Friday the groceries were bought. On Saturday seats were counted, rooms were dusted. Naomi made placecards.  Verity fretted that Naomi was going to make her sit somewhere awful. In the afternoon vegetables were soaked in salty water to prepare them for pickling. Pie crusts were made, wrapped and stored away. On Sunday, nuts were roasted, vegetables too.  My lost Bon Appetit guide was found.  Naomi counted out the silverware, and vacuumed a room that had already been vacuumed.  

I had good intentions of making this post into many, one for each day, documenting the progress made for the impending feast....alas those hour-and-a-halves divided up didn't get me there.  But here are a few pictures to document the day, before and after the main event.



  


My salad was my thing and it made me very happy.  I based it off a delicious version I had a Flour Bakery one day on a whim.  Some ingredients: pickled veggies, spiced almonds, cranberries, mustard greens, parsley, other lettuce varieties, parmesan-garlic dressing.

Other notes: We ordered a very happy turkey who lived their life in western Massachusetts.  I made chestnut soup to start.  Emily made a delicious cranberry and fig dressing. Eric made cornbread dressing from scratch. My experimental pie was called 'honey flower' from this year's Food and Wine November magazine. Eric also made biscuits from scratch and my aunt brought roasted sweet potatoes and my sister-in-law brought a deep dish pumpkin pie. Whiskey sours were served to start. Okay now I'm rambling and I sound like i'm in a hurry.

I'll write back soon. xo