Monday, 30 June 2008

I will hug her and pet her, and call her Lucy

Yeah. We have another cat now.

She's a smarty-pants, that one, with her long white paws. She took a flashing look around with her gold eyes and picked out the person that had no defenses, the one who couldn't resist purring and cuddling and swift lashes of her tail...

Kate and Chumba are horrified. What? She's staying? She doesn't even have stripes! This is wrong! We demand a recount!

but Bear will not be swayed. Any cat who jumps into his arms and kneads and purrs and licks his cheek has his heart.

So welcome, Lucy-Patches.

Welcome home.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

coming around again

My parents, being the '60's flower-children-dippy-hippies that they were (God love 'em - and I do) sang me lullabies.

But along with the 'All The Little Horses' and 'You Are My Sunshine's',

there were the Beatles.
I grew up with a lot of the Beatles music running as a background to my life.
It was a fall back when I just.could.not.sing one more lullaby

(ask me sometimes about the twelve verses of Blackbird)

and good bouncy music for the car during teething time. (It was during a rendition of 'Yellow Submarine' that I figured out that Cass would sleep through the most belly-wrenching grippe if he was in a moving car)

But the car seats are turned forward now, (and have been for a long time) and those Beatles have faded away for awhile, replaced with other songs.

Until today, when Rosey leaned forward and said 'Turn the music up, Mama! I love this song!'

I was taken aback as she began to sing 'O-saba-dee, saba-da'

Life goes on, eh?
(La lala life goes on.)

Friday, 27 June 2008

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


**This post exists because of this morning's lovely and evocative writings by Woman In A Window - what? You're not reading her? Really?**

The fall I went into seventh grade I made a concentrated effort to grow up. While the junior high (in reality just a wing of the high school) was only located across a small breezeway, it was a whole new building and the big kids were there.

So that summer I decided I wasn't going to be a baby anymore. I gave up Saturday morning cartoons. I stopped wearing my cartoon tshirts, I (tried) to stop whining when I didn't get my way.

I was going to be the coolest seventh grader in the world.

The first day back I was astounded. While some of the girls were wearing lipstick, most of my classmates...were just.the.same. as they'd been in the spring when I'd last seen them.
And even though now we had lockers, some of the guys had Ren and Stimpy pictures everyone hadn't given up cartoons, after all.

A few days in, I found there was another small difference.

Folded notes weren't cool anymore. Now there were slambooks.

Slambooks were one-section notebooks with a sentence written on each page.

Breathless things like : Who do you like?
and then you'd write in your answer. Without writing your name, and trying to subtly disguise your handwriting.

The next page might say :Who is your best friend?
What's your biggest secret?
What's something you've never told anybody?

and so on. When you were done, you'd pass it on to the next person in your group.

And depending on how much you trusted your friends and/or how naive you were, you'd answer them all.
They were cathartic and terrifying. You scanned what people had written who had it before you and tried to decide how much of your soul to bare. If the book was circulating only between you and your closest friends, it was certain to be much more tame. If you started asking new friends - or even the new girl - it was sure to be more colorful.

I was pretty trusting, and usually wrote about my crushes - the handsome football player, that senior in the library (swoon) - and then was always hurt and betrayed when the new gossip all over the lunchroom had my name on it.

It was crushing.

But that was seventh grade, right??

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

new things every day

A busy day here in ruralsville....

Cass went to a friends house to go swimming.

After he left, in the resulting quiet, B and I heard a funny squeeeak! Squeeeeak! noise - it sounded, vaguely, like a fan needed oil.
B went upstairs and looked around, but didn't find anything, and chalked it up to something that would make a noise again, and then we'd find it. Probably just the cats messing around.

I went upstairs about half an hour later with the notion of getting a new library book out of my room, went to shut the window fan off in Cass's room, and saw a small brown glossy (squarish? what the heck?) mouse? fieldmouse? thing? inside the window fan.

We had thought to leave Cass's screen to the last to fix - it only had a small hole, (perhaps the size of a nickel? No larger than that.) and he had the window box fan in, so there was no worry....

But now I was staring at a very small indignant animal, flattened out to avoid the blades of the fan. An animal, I suddenly realized, that wasn't a mouse.

It was a bat.

A very cunning little fruit* bat, folded up no bigger than a cat's paw, unhurt and obviously squallingly upset to be where he was.

B (summoned by my trumpeted "B! Oh, B, you gotta come here!") rocketed up the stairs and gaped with me. It was a bat. In the house. And it was in the fan. But unhurt.

So B unscrewed the fan, helping it hook onto the quince tree.

And then this evening? Me, the girl who doesn't like to ride motorcycles or four wheelers or snowmobiles or anything smaller than a Ford Fiesta....

I learned how to use the ride-on lawnmower. And it was fun.

Although I still think the bat was cooler.

*Not a fruit bat. He was, I think, a Little Brown Bat. (honestly the scientific name)

Monday, 23 June 2008

Playdate Tuesday

I'm over here, talking about newspaper and why rolled up 'pretty snails' make little girls' hearts sing.....

Sunday, 22 June 2008

it's just her name that's a flower

Rosey and I went to the farm market yesterday.

Now granted, it's getting late to plant. But the ten packets of wildflower seeds that the kids helped me plant haven't shown a green bit yet, and interest is fading fast.

So we went to re-stock.

I went looking for sunflowers. Bright, blowy flowers that grow quickly. (and look interesting while doing so) I also wanted pansies and johnny-jump-ups, and couldn't find any.*

R circled the tables, pointing out different colours.

Then I got a brainstorm. If I wanted her to be interested, shouldn't she pick what was going in there?

Patting myself on the back**, I squatted and told R she could pick a flower to put in the yard. Without hesitation, she pointed - picking a leafy one with a gorgeous orange-yellow flower. She was certain that was what she wanted, too.

Which is why if you drive by my yard this summer? We live in the house with the pumpkin vines curling among the flower bed.

It's going to be gorgeous.

*The staff informed me that those are all gone now.
**O whut a gud parent am I!

Saturday, 21 June 2008


When I was growing up, my great-aunt would send my mother envelopes stuffed with crossword puzzles cut out from the local paper. My mom always loved to do crosswords (she and my grandfather share that hobby) and I think the care packages may have started when she was away at college and continued on through marriage, two kids, subsequent moves, etc. Every so often there'd be an explosion of half-done crosswords around the house - a few in the kitchen, a few next to Mom's chair, some tucked up by her bed, and even a couple set carefully with a pen on the back of the toilet.

Those are actually the first crosswords I remember peering at, trying to puzzle out the rare spots my mother had left undone, racking my brain for an answer while my brother beat on the door and howled that I was taking too long and he needed to go nooowwwwww....

After Bertie died, a fluke in the mail delivered one last envelope addressed in her tiny careful printing, the folder heavy and full,with even a brief note for my mom to treasure among the newstype.

It always seemed like such a loving thing to me. Great Aunt Bertie subscribed to the Louisville Courier-Journal daily, my mother lived far away, why not send them if they would be enjoyed?

And they were.

Last week I found an email in my in-box from my grandmother, (who is bravely learning all this computer mumbo-jumbo so she can keep up with her far-flung grandchildren) telling me that some books were coming for the children. Yesterday a beautifully illustrated book of children's bible stories came, with the notation inside that this book had once belonged to my great-uncle Louie (and then my grandmother) and...a clipping about helping your children learn to read.

A clipping from the Courier-Journal.

Sometimes it doesn't take much to let us know we're treasured.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Thursday, 19 June 2008

True Thursday: I can't make this stuff up *UPDATED*

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the beach....

The lovely Chantal of Two Hands Full sent me this UPDATE today, which doesn't clear up the mystery and injects an even more sinister tone....

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

nothing to see here

We have the super-duper model couch. Not only the bright colours, but the optional large brown throw pillow, as well.

R is recouping from a brush with almost-ickiness (fever and whoopsy-feeling tum) and whatever helps her sleep today is a good thing. Jasper would have been given a Hail Mary pass this time, but apparently I'm fiercer than I thought - I shot this photo and he tromped all over R to get down, shame-faced and wagging his fool tail all the while.

I'm sure if she sleeps again he'll scoot up there. Just to keep her company, you know.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

budding conservationist

We were loading up in the car tonight, ready to go to Cass's Literature Night, and there was a lump? something moving? on the road across from my neighbors' house...

and damned if it wasn't another turtle.

Ever since a few years back when the our returning grande dame was squashed we have been turtle defenders 'round here - holding up traffic and standing boldly in the road, prodding the beasties across to grass and safety.

Something about their funny gait and obvious uncomfortable movements out of the water makes me feel tender towards them, like children learning to walk. They hitch and bob from side to side just like the chilluns did, spreading their feet wide and blinking owlishly to determine if you're fish or foe.

(Not that my kids can catch fish with their mouths. If they could this blog would be *all kinds* of different interesting, and feature the circus prominently.)

We talked about how their (wicked) stubby-sharp claws work hard to pull their big bodies back to the reeds and pools of the riverbank, where they dig happily in the mud and use those same claws to gracefully propel themselves through the water, and how we feel at home on land and the turtle feels at home floating in the current.

Then Cass's voice turned slightly wistful and he mentioned the old turtle and how much bigger she was than this one.

(It astounds me that no matter how hard I try to shape my kids' lives with happy experiences, the negative ones -and all they learned from them- linger on so completely, ready to be recalled at a moment's notice.)

And I hugged him and told him that maybe, just maybe, this turtle was one of 'our' turtle's babies. That turtles return home to the site where they were hatched, and lay new eggs. (And now I've got to go google turtles, as I have no idea if they all do that or if the homing instinct is only apparent in sea turtles.)

We left the new turtle contemplating the flowers in my neighbor's yard. It's a short push from there to the river, and she should be fine there, as long as she doesn't go back across the road.

When we entered the gym Cass ran over to his friends and told them 'I saved a turtle!'

(I'm buying him a red cape later.)

Monday, 16 June 2008


R was happily playing with her Barbie dolls, enacting some huge thing about two dogs and who got to feed them and the fluffy cat whose water bowl the dogs weren't allowed to touch. (Really, it's amazing what goes on in her head.)

I decided to play. 'What are your dolls names?'

R put her finger on the redhead. 'Moya.' The brunette. 'Nadoila' The blonde 'Linka.'

I tried to think if I had any old termpapers buried in my room. Or if we had a pop-up version of The Brothers Karamazov. All I could come up with was a tattered VHS of Anastasia, and she hadn't seen that in months.


There's a corner of our yard where the wildflowers grow rampant. We've never planted seeds or moved plants in that area, they just flourish there. I found out why today. It seems the ash pile (that lump behind) leaches into the ground with the rain, and the wildflowers looove them some increased ph levels.

Pretty, no?

I'm getting really excited about the BFF trip. It's coming up in 32 days!!!!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

sugar bombs

I fall for the supermarket arrangement scam every time.

Each time, I turn into the vegetable/fruit section, spend some quality time sniffing lemons, picking out the best mushrooms, the crispest apples, the plumpest ears of corn, all with the jet-speed help of my little farm hands, who think we're running a race and move accordingly. By the time we're done there and I've done the detours into the bread/deli area and the butcher section, the kids are beginning to show signs of strain and tiredness and an obscene fondness with the blood pressure machine in the drugstore. By the time I drag them off that, the whinging and carrying on isn't too far off. We stump through paper products, pet food, canned goods, household products, (while maintaining that the toy aisle simply isn't there) and arrive at the cereal aisle. By now, I've shot the Mom-glare six times, hissed 'Stay with the cart!' twelve gagillion times, and am unenthused and heartily sick of the whole operation. I mean, eating is over-rated, really.

Which is why we tend to end up with the bad cereal.

Oh, I used to fight the good fight about this. Back before I was outnumbered (and back before the boy realized marshmallows existed) we had Cheerios. Rice Crispies. Granola. The basics. He didn't care.

Now we have a girl. Who is programmed (are they all like this?) to be hyper-sensitive to pinks and purples, so any bright colored box catches her eye and screams her name.

So while I'm busy veto-ing Lucky Charms (otherwise known as the repository for ALL the food coloring numbers*) Cass is eying up the boxes for whatever prizes are hiding inside the waxy paper insides. Score! Indiana Jones!

'Mo-om? Can we.....' I swung around and eyed the box. Wheat. Good. We'd had this before. Oh look, a new flavor! Okay.

Then, this morning....

'Mo-om? This doesn't taste good.'

I lifted my head from my coffee cup. Why can't the kids sleep in? Not even once??
Huh? What? Who said that? Oh, the Boy.

'It's too...sweet.'

Blink-blink. You - think it's too sweet? Let me have a taste.
He obligingly brought me his bowl. I dipped, spooned, chewed.
And winced as my tongue went into spasms of sugar shock.

Toast, anyone?

From now on, I'm going to the cereal aisle first. Best to get that battle over with.

Public Safety Notice: Do not EVER EVER EVER buy Vanilla Flavour Mini-Wheats. Despite the (weakly) healthy sounding name, actually putting a biscuit in your mouth will cause the greasy, curling sensation of licking out an icing container.

You're welcome.

*Red Dye #7, Blue Dye #3, etc. A clunky reference.

Friday, 13 June 2008

brief and to the point

So sad about Tim Russert.

His voice added a richness and a clarity to this crazed, twisted political mess we've got going on.

He was one of the first political commentators that I'd ever seen having fun with the process, grinning as he explained things, looking amused and enjoying himself.

May 7th, 1950 to June 13, 2008

Thursday, 12 June 2008

growing up isn't easy for parents to watch

I was aware she was growing up. Really. I was. Last week we started the no-diapers-at-night-anymore thing (and holy God, I think I'm done with diapers!!) and she's getting taller and more beautiful all the time, and she tests out at a 4.5 age level with her speech and comprehension (From these humble beginnings) but she's still my baby on so many levels.

And then yesterday there was this:
First bike. The tricycle is no longer.

and then today there was this:
Cass started t-ball for the summer. And damned if

Rosey didn't want to play too.

So now I have two kids in tball. TWO KIDS IN T-BALL.

Now, aren't I right in assuming there has been some breach of contract here? She was supposed to stay little a whole lot longer, right? RIGHT?

Tonight, my big girl threw the ball back. She walked (not quite getting the concept yet) around the bases, and hit the ball. I was so proud. And oh yeah, she's hooked.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go find some baby socks and babble about 'but she was so small!' to Bear for awhile.....

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

six centimetres is about three inches

I still can't make this stuff up....

but Holy Jumpin' Jesus.

*UPDATE* A lot of people have expressed skepticism over this - however, they had the guy (and the nail, eww, and his x-ray, double ewww) on CNN last night. I'm thinking this one was legit. Although didn't I have a post on Sunday that says that I trust things too much??


Monday, 9 June 2008

spring has sprung, summer is here

How do I know?
Well, yesterday the chillens took their sidewalk chalk and decorated our doorstep
Kids live here.

And today we not only broke out the air conditioning, the two played with something I couldn't believe the grocery store was selling - I was incredulous that they're still being made...

a Slip 'N' Slide.

And while there wasn't a whole lot of sliding (C couldn't make his body bend the right way and would end up with his knees in front of him each time, and R really just didn't want to) there were lots and lots of grins and shouts and 'chase me!'s' and general summerish horseplay.

So I sat outside in my big white chair and watched my colts frolic and couldn't imagine a better way to spend a summer afternoon.

Hello, summer. We've missed you.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

old meme, new twist

Stole this from TX Poppet (now in her new digs!) This made the rounds originally as a list from a men's magazine, and people originally posted about their husbands, but now it's mutated into things I can do....

The Rules: Bold the things you can do and you leave in normal type the things you can’t. Sarcastic comments in parenthesis are encouraged.

  1. Give advice that matters in one sentence. (One sentence? Are you kidding? Unless it's something like: Date everyone. Be good. Or Don't Eat the Yellow Snow, the one sentence rule means I'm screwed. I babble on and on and on and on......)
  2. Tell if someone is lying. (My kids? Quake before me. Everyone else? Not so much.)
  3. Take a photo. (I'm pretty proud of the pictures I take, actually. Less thrilling, though, is the way I cannot understand Photoshop.)
  4. Score a baseball game. (Little man slides into home plate. Check.)
  5. Name a book that matters. (Oh, yeah, baby.)
  6. Know at least one musical group as well as is possible. (Now if you had asked me back in high school I could have written you a dissertation on several groups.)
  7. Not monopolize the conversation. (Me? Monopolize the conversation? I have the bhlaaag for that.)
  8. Write a letter. (Email. Not so good on the postal thing. Ask my mother, who is pretty convinced I'm secretly aphasic and/or going to hell for never writing thank you notes.)
  9. Swim three different strokes. (Isn't that a Billy Squier song? See, that high-school music knowledge coming back to me now....)
  10. Show respect without being a suck-up. (Uh-huh. Your worship.)
  11. Throw a punch. (I can never remember the thumb thing. Is it tuck it inside, or leave it out?)
  12. Make one drink, in large batches, very well. (I can pour you a nice glass of wine very well. But I didn't make the wine, so I guess that doesn't work)
  13. Speak a foreign language. (Does High School French count? It really shouldn't...)
  14. Argue with a European without getting xenophobic or insulting soccer. (I've got nothing here. Can I insult the rain in Spain?)
  15. Be loyal. (I am incredibly loyal, to the point of being ludicrous.)
  16. Know his poison, without standing there, pondering like a dope. (I suck at names. Faces I'm pretty good at. Drinks I can nail.)
  17. Cast a fishing rod without shrieking or sighing or otherwise admitting defeat. (Um, defeat? The first fish I fished for was a catfish. If seeing that slimy bottomfeeder didn't put me off fishing, why would a pole do that??)
  18. Play gin with an old guy. (I can!)
  19. Play go fish with a kid. (I do. (big sigh) I have also committed the Stupid Sin of buying Candyland. But I think I have 'lost' enough pieces now so that I can make a case to toss the damned thing.)
  20. Feign interest. (My kid loves Dora. 'Nuff said.)
  21. Make a bed. (Prettily. And teach my husband to make it as well.)
  22. Describe a glass of wine in one sentence without using the terms nutty, fruity, oaky, finish, or kick. ( I can! And I can look knowledgeable and wave the cork under my nose too.)
  23. Jump-start a car. Change a flat tire. Change the oil. (I can also change the filters, unstick a valve and tie something down on top so it won't fly away.)
  24. Make three different bets at a craps table. (I don't understand many card games. I never learned to play poker, so that basic knowledge just isn't there.)
  25. Shuffle a deck of cards. (No fancy tricks, but...yes.)
  26. Tell a joke. (A man and a collie walk into a bar....)
  27. Know when to split his cards in blackjack. (Not a clue.)
  28. Speak to an eight-year-old so he/she will hear. (Damn, I hope so.)
  29. Speak to a waiter so he will hear. (Wait. Is he deaf? Is this a trick question?)
  30. Talk to a dog so it will hear. (Wait. Is he deaf? Is this a trick question?)
  31. Install: a disposal, an electronic thermostat, or a lighting fixture without asking for help. (I don’t do wiring, period. Plumbing, yes. Painting, yes. Electricity? unh-uh.
  32. Ask for help. (And read the manual, and find the right tool to install it with.)
  33. Break another man’s grip on my wrist.( Prolly not. I can scream and bash him in the head with my (heavy) handbag, though.)
  34. Tell a woman’s dress size. (I'm better at men's sizing than womens, despite years of retail.)
  35. Recite one poem from memory. ( I think that I shall never see....)
  36. Remove a stain. (The Boy is in Grade Primary. They play soccer a lot. Grass stains and I are fighting looong battles.)
  37. Say no. ( To what? That? well, yeah....)
  38. Fry an egg sunny-side up.(Not often, but yes. Plain eggs don't get on the menu much here. )
  39. Build a campfire. ( I was a Girl Scout.)
  40. Step into a job no one wants to do. (Official Vomit and Poop Cleaner, right here!)
  41. Sometimes, kick some ass. (Yeah. Because walking softly and carrying a big stick doesn't always work)
  42. Break up a fight.
  43. Point to the North at any time. (Seriously? Is there a trick to that? I have no idea.)
  44. Create a play-list in which ten seemingly random songs provide a secret message to one person. (Not since high school.)
  45. Explain what a light-year is. (I like getting all science geeky with the boy, who has a sponge like brain for that sort of stuff.)
  46. Write a thank-you note. (I'm lazy. A slob. Rude to the point of...rudeness. I just don't write thank you notes. I loved your present, I did, and when I called to tell you I did, could you not hear it in my voice?)
  47. Be brand loyal to at least one product. (Oh, at least one.)
  48. Find his/her way out of the woods if lost. (Probably. And I have good, well-developed lungs if I can't.)
  49. Tie a knot. (See the rabbit? Now where does he run?)
  50. Shake hands. ( Firmly. Looking the person in the eye.)
Considering this meme's origins, I just might make someone a good husband someday......

Too bad I'm already a wife.

at least I'm not selling the silver to make book, right?

88%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

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Saturday, 7 June 2008

sometimes the news is funny

Today I was curling up to the internet, checking out the on-line newspaper...

Then I spit out my coffee on the screen and guffawed until the kids abandoned their Weetabix and came out to see what was the matter.

The main headline:

The next story's headline, directly underneath: (in smaller type)
Clinton urges supporters to unite behind Obama

After I stopped laughing, I realized that Big Brown, of course, is the racehorse (who didn't win the Triple Crown, alas) and Hillary would never use racial slurs - even in a semi-funny way.

Not today, at least. (Snark!)

Friday, 6 June 2008

remember Caroline in The City?

Oh, my God, y'all.....

read this.

when I think of the VCR tapes I've tossed over the years....

Kinda makes you weep, doesn't it?

Like those Precious Moments commemmerative plates (waaaaay back when) that were given to my mother and I that somehow ended up at Goodwill.


Thursday, 5 June 2008

what sweetney wants

A Moment In Time

Really not as pissed as I appear. Low on coffee and kid-whining-about-having-to-take-bath tolerance. Did, however, crop the picture so you can't get lost in the giant pores in my nose. (Must get facial.)

Want to do one too? go here.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

things you don't want to know

  • When washing clothes, remember son has had a snuffy nose for (well, ever) and look for Kleenex in pockets, or else you will spend a long time weeping over your dark shirts.

  • Dog poop is funny when you put it on a shovel and chase your sister.
    It's less funny when you trip and whack yourself in the head with the (stick part) of the shovel and then your Mom makes you clean your shoes.

  • Puzzles aren't any fun when pieces are missing. It is still NOT acceptable, though, to sob and toss pieces around like confetti while shrieking, and then kick the dog.

  • Meatballs do NOT go well with mushroom alfredo sauce.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

here kitty kitty kitty

This is our new foster kitty. Her name was Minette when she got here, now she's Minou/Cookie/Patches/Kitty-Witty/ the little one/Squeak. (We do our best to make sure all foster animals leave with a complex and aren't quite sure who they are.)
She's not shy at all and is usually squeezing her eyes shut and purring.
Here she is snacking on small boy. NOM NOM NOM NOM. Ice cream fingers= devoted kitty.
Isn't she a beauty? Now she needs a forever home. Fostering is something we like doing - the kids get to meet and pet and play with all sorts of animals, and we get to help nice cats and dogs be adopted.

Local? Call 902-350-2444 for information on Minette, or to inquire about fostering. The SPCA brings you food. They bring litter. They will pay for any medical problems and to have the animal spayed. And you get to have a lovely, purring kitten on your lap for a little while.

Monday, 2 June 2008

the crazy place

this page outlines what all the buildings were used for (also scroll over the map and click to see lots of other pictures) don't miss this, either

Flicka asked:

Why the insane asylum? I'm not asking that facetiously, I really want to know.

And I may give a longer answer than she needs!

I could swear I've written about the State Hospital before, but darned if I can find the post...suffice to say one night a friend and I had a ghost siting there...

Hmm. The State Hospital. When I was growing up it was acres of crumbling gorgeous buildings, beautiful trees, lots of spooky, eerie stories and a magnet for angst-ridden teenagers. My mother worked in a building across the street (the old nurses residence) and in the basement there was a tunnel leading across the street to many of the major buildings. It was rumored the grounds around the hospital complex were riddled with those tunnels, and searches would be made by flashlight at night, trying to find a way into the boarded-up stately place.

I've actually been in the main building (with permission! honest!) - the last part of it closed down in 1989, and I remember a pervasive smell of mildew, a room with crumbling wall paper, and chairs that looked like they'd been there forever.

There were so many stories! Although there was a general feeling of healing, of the drawing up and scarring over of an old wound around the huge trees and little courtyards, there were still tangible reminders that this had been a place of suffering not too long ago. I've been to the graveyard where many of the patients were buried, and I've seen dusty rooms with old stretchers stacked against the wall, restraints hanging drunkenly off the sides. There was a gorgeous building with a two-storey balcony - astoundingly beautiful, if you ignored the metal grid that kept people in.

When I was older I used to go for long solitary walks there - there were miles of trails - and I used to soak up the quiet and wish someone could find a way to bring life back to all that gorgeous architecture before all the buildings rotted to the ground. The (modern medical) hospital began to encroach upon its borders, and ominous noises began to be made about bulldozing the lot and using the space for a (sacrilege!) parking garage and perhaps a heli-port.

I moved to Canada while the debate was still raging, but I miss being able to grab my music player and stroll through all that space, all that healing, going-back-to-wild acreage in the midst of suberbia.

And from a crumbling eyesore that noone wanted to destroy but was too expensive to rebuild to this a place where the gracious old buildings live in harmony with rehabbed spaces. I haven't been there (I haven't been back!) but I can't wait to see....

Sunday, 1 June 2008

ten places that feel like home

You don't have to live in places to feel like you're home.

Which is a very good thing, as my ten places include a long bridge, a county courthouse (a symbol of the town it's in) a waterfall, a falling-down insane asylum, a historically accurate tourist attraction, a city, a wharf, a racetrack, a simple front porch and a museum.

These are a few places where I feel most like myself, where things are simple and I'm happy just feeling the sun on my face and listening to the thrum of my life as it goes along.

As different as they are, I love them all - for the way I feel around them, for sweet memories and vacations snapshots kept in my mind. For long walks and time spent alone, for friends and laughing and journeys with loved ones by my side. Remembering the chuckle and burble and sweet slapping waves, the sound of the wind sighing through the trees. Echoes of days gone by.

Not pictured, but dearly loved too: My great-grandmother's kitchen, my best friends' front deck, the swimming hole at the lake access right off of M-72, the veterans cemetery in Holland, and the little dam behind the old theatre.

L to R, top row:
Ontario County Courthouse, Niagara Falls,Traverse City State Hospital, the horse statue at Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky, Innisfree's front porch
L to R, bottom row:
Leland's Fishtown, Chicago, The Canso Causeway, The Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, and the Coast Guard Station at Glen Arbor, Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Yarn over and over

Someone, an old babysitter maybe, taught me to crochet when I was six. I remember making long braided loops of yarn and thinking how pretty ...