Thursday, May 28, 2009


Yesterday I wrote a quick post about my home improvement efforts. Today I get to show you how my beloved husband trumps all my efforts.

Our home when we bought it:

And as of ten minutes ago:

Note the new railings (not quite finished -- we have to paint them) and this weeks' work -- the new retaining wall (one week!  It took me about the same amount of time to strip the fireplace).

Here's a close-up of the retaining wall (for you, Mom!)

I'll take a little credit in the fall, after I get some plants in and soften the lines a little, plus adding color.  But my beloved definitely trumps me on the home improvement.  Fortunately, I can cook, so I win indoors.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Sense of Accomplishment

I think that when I get the blues, I should start a project.  There's something about accomplishing a goal (assuming I actually finish it, which is not usually the case) that makes me feel so much better.  This month, amid the hullaballoo about going to Vermont, I decided to strip the paint off the bricks around the fireplace.  

Completely silly, but I have to say, now that I am finished, I feel good every time I look at the living room.  It's not really finished -- I do have some ideas of ways to make the brick more interesting -- but for now, I'm pleased.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On the road again

After far too many miles in the car, I finally got a tune-up for my bicycle and Sam's and we are once again able to ride to school and back most every day. It's interesting to note how we've changed in one season -- where a few months ago Sam stretched to his tippy toes to touch the ground while sitting on his bike, he now stands confidently flat-footed. I, on the other hand, have lost a lot of conditioning, and am struggling to keep up with my young speed demon. Fortunately I have gears, which help greatly when Sam surges ahead through traffic. Drivers around our school are, for the most part, considerate and aware. Nonetheless, having Sam twenty feet away on a busy street makes me feel helpless -- I can't just reach out and grab him back if he makes a mistake, and the consequences are so dire. Every ride is a study in the loneliness of parenting; my child looks only forward, rejoicing in his freedom and growing abilities while I concentrate on invisibly keeping him safe, glad of his pleasure but painfully aware of the empty space in my arms which used to be enough for him.

Monday, May 18, 2009


We leave for VT in just under three weeks.  I finally sat down this weekend and started the lists -- "before we go", "on the way", "things to take".  I'm getting anxious, largely because we have plans pretty much every day before we leave, and twice on weekends. I don't know how we're going to get it all in.  The funny thing is, the date we chose is completely arbitrary, so I shouldn't be hurried or worried.  But this time we're all driving (including the dog), squeezed together for some indeterminate time (Will says three and a half days, I'd rather take six) in the cab of the big gray truck.  I don't look forward to the experience.  Perhaps it will be fun, but I'm imagining it will be Will's Incredible Journey with Three Whiny People.  We'll see.  I'm downloading TV shows to my iPod like crazy, and acquiring audio books for Will.  I'll make sure to take my camera so we can log (and blog) the trip.  I'll try to make it funny.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Making breakfast the other morning I apparently dripped some egg white and set a mug in the unseen mess. During the course of the day it dried, and when I later attempted to clean the kitchen I had to wrench the mug off the counter. As I turned it over to drop it in the dishwasher, my thumb slid across the egg white encrusted bottom, and zowie! The egg white was thin and razor sharp, and sliced me open. After I put a bandage on I went to Will for comfort; he just laughed at me. "Really? An egg white? Who gets cut by an egg white?" 
I think I should get an award for the stupidest. injury. ever.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Junior partner

My son walked the dog with me this morning. He is a joyful person, and while the good cheer did not entirely transfer to me, I certainly forgot the cold that is nesting in my throat. In the past he has had trouble keeping up with us, but today he raced ahead, kicking up clouds of dandelion fluff, finding random sidewalk treasures to share, and tossing his head back so his laughter rose through the trees. In our little private time together we sniffed lilacs and he told me how nice it is to have me all to himself. Of course, he is still a boy, and nothing delighted him more than running ahead of me and then turning around to announce, loudly, that he just farted, burped, or both.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It's Official

We're off to Vermont on June 5th.  We should be there by June 9th, and ready to receive visitors not long afterward.  Please let us know if you're planning on joining us for any time and we'll make the beds up. 

A little story

My husband tells a story about a junk yard which was protected by two big, fierce dogs.  When the yard was open, the dogs contented themselves with occasional menacing grimaces, but as soon as the gates were locked they became hell hounds, ready to protect the junk to their utmost.  Well, one Monday the yard owner noticed that some of his property was missing (I've always wondered how junk yard owners keep track of their inventory.  But that's another thought balloon), despite his vicious guards.  This went on for several weeks.  Finally the owner decided to visit over the weekend.  When he arrived and made some noise, he was astonished to see his pooches trot cheerfully out, ready to greet their visitor.  It turns out that the dogs were conditioned to be nice to visitors during business hours, and turn on the mean only after the day was over.  The thieves had figured this out, and had happily taken advantage of the situation.

All of this is a round about explanation for why I was up at 6:30 a.m. on a misty moisty Mother's Day Sunday.  Thanks, dog!  Other than being awakened before the crack of dawn, I had a lovely day with my mom (I love you, Mom!), Dad, kids, and honey.  I hope you also had a peaceful, love filled day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Young Scientists. Sort of.

My children are fond of experiments.  At the ages of six and three, however, they are somewhat ignorant of the scientific process.  You know -- think up a hypothesis, develop an experiment to test that hypothesis, and use the results of  the experiment to determine the validity of the hypothesis. Instead, they mix things and leave them to sit for an indeterminate time.  Thus, in various locations around my house, I have: plastic cups with frothy mixtures of toothpaste, shampoo, and toilet paper; spare spice jars with sedimentary layers of cinnamon, parsley, peppercorns, and, maybe, mustard, all in water; and grass, mud, unknown substances scraped off  the sidewalk, and caulk, again in a watery base. I love their desire to experiment but I think, perhaps, I need to get each child a lab book and teach them the basics of lab work. Of course, under the current system the kids forget about their experiments after a day or two and I can discreetly throw the entire container away.