Tuesday, 29 September 2009

light saber, anyone?

Cass has fallen in love with action figures.

Last year it was Bionicles and Transformers - close, but not quite: Funky robots aren't little men.

I kind of thought he was going to skip that stage all together - he's been heavy into the science experiments and soldier/soccer/running everywhere, but it began and now he's heavy into it.

I was sort of excited - after all, I was the (cool) one who sat and watched the Star Wars trilogy with him - it would be nice to be in the know about one of his obsessions! Piece of cake.

WRONG. Wrong wrong wrong.
See, times have changed. It's a whole new galaxy out there.

Now Star Wars is all about the Clone Wars. (It's an animated thing that stars 90% new characters and situations.

Whimper. I never thought I'd miss Vader.

Monday, 28 September 2009

teachable moment

I froze.

Look, look! There! See the porcupine?

He was gorgeous. Shyly peeping around the corner, fat and bristled with fawn-ish fringed quills, he paused near the woodshed and considered his options.

The kids oohed and aahed, then stood on tip-toes, watching our glimpse of wild kingdom in our backyard...

Bear strode past me, his arms filled with things to put away. 'Hey! Are you all taking a break?'

No, wait! You'll scare him!

B peered. He followed my pointing finger. He narrowed his eyes.
Then he sighed.

'It's a piece of wood, Jess, you foolish thing.'

I did it again. Unbelievable.

Monday, 21 September 2009

how do you solve a problem like maria

I have a....friend.....who is exasperating me beyond belief. This person, who has flipped their political ideology completely since I first began having opinions about world events, (last presidential election was a good time, believe me) has newly re-found religion and is busily hectoring me with it.

I have nothing against religion. I believe, after my own fashion. I even sometimes wish I was better versed in the religion that I grew up with.

But this - this sudden 'the world is going to end! In mid-December of 2012, when the earth will be covered in fire! Get your children to a church so they don't spend eternity in a burning hell!'

is batshit crazy. And scaring me.

Cutting this person out of my life would be akin to slicing my own arm off - it would hurt that badly. It would bewilder my children, who have never heard the ranting and would not understand.

But where is the line between loyalty and distancing yourself?

I may have to find out. And it kills me to think of it.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

frontier girl, I'm not

Gorgeous, full-bellied sunrise up over the trees, a fresh breeze crisping up the air, just a few leaves beginning to skitter upon the ground....

B had been hard at work all day, splitting firewood (Jess, meet Mount MustStack'EmSoon.) while I was at work, and the kids helped a bit in the morning and then got all dressed up and went to a party.

So when I rolled in, I had just enough time to fix my hair and check my teeth before B and I went to the same function, which was lovely. And the kiddles had been good while B and I weren't there. It's amazing how proud I am when someone compliments the kids. I mean, I know they're awesome - but it blows me away when other people notice it too.

After the party, B started splitting wood again while C and R went off to play with balloons in the breeze. And it wasn't long before I got called off the slopes to go and rescue the balloons, which were firmly trapped in the woods. Wedged between a (thorny) rose bush and some (thorny) raspberry canes. Of course.

Juuuuust out of reach. Of course.

Well, maybe I could get to them if I tromped through the underbrush and the fallen growth and made a path through the trees.

Well. This was a bad decision.
I fell down.
Lost both my shoes. (I may never get all the pluff* mud off my toes.)
Turned the air blue with cursing. (I tend to do that when my ass is wet.)
Thought seriously about having one of the kids go find B and have him get a rope. I was trapped in a thicket of young maple canes, stepping on broken bits of downed branches, on an incline.

I gasped and swore and fumbled my way up to the top, finally breaking out of the trees nowhere near where I thought I was - of course.

The damned balloons are still there.

Then - then! we were all stacking wood and B gave C something to show Rosey.

It was a termite.

Have you ever seen a termite? Lord love a duck. So after R saw it and I (shudder) saw it, Cass dropped it to the ground and stepped on it.

And Rosey burst out sobbing like we'd torched her Barbies. "It was my friend!"

Aw, crap.

*According to Dictionary.com, this isn't the right word for what I want - but I grew up calling that rich, dark swamp mud - you know, the stuff that smells like you should be able to watch things grow out of it? - pluff.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

two and a half hours

I looked at Rosey this afternoon and realized that Half-Pint lived at my house.

Time photo taken: 4:32 pm
(in mid-wilt - school is tiring on a young'un!)
(can you see the sloppy ponytails?)

So R and I went to town. And sent that Ingalls girl back where she came from.

Time picture taken: 7:09 pm
(with restorative licorice)

Bye-Bye, Walnut Grove.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

mind like a steel sieve

I am quite possibly the world's worst record-keeper.

Cass is going to be eight in a matter of weeks. (Crap, really? He's that old?) He has a lovely filled-out baby book that I can't find and an album jammed with pictures from birth until three.

The rest of his life resides on various hard-drives and letters to grandparents.

Rosey, on the other hand, in true second-child tradition, really got the shaft. Her pictures never made it to a baby album and instead exist solely on the computer.

At this moment (although I'm SURE I have this written down somewhere) I can't really remember their birth weights. Wait. Weren't they both over nine pounds? No,wait.* They weren't. Cass was seven something and Rosemary a few ounces less. Then R dropped weight and all the foghorns of alarm started to blow in the hospital and......yeah.

This is not to say I've forgotten everything. I remember holding Cass for the very first time - where we were, the medicinal smell in the room, my mom's joyous, happy tears, how the air was rarified and still when they brought in my boy, and how lovely and wizened he looked.

And Rosey - how we ended up far from home and unpacked in a room where it seemed our cameras and videocam took up most of the available tabletop space, and how the first night my roommates baby cried most of the night and I (baby-less by way of the NICU) swallowed most of my tears and shook silently, so afraid that the spark of a girl I hadn't been able to see yet would be gone before I could hold her.

It's not the big stuff I forget. But the dates and numbers and minutiae of their sweet lives? They're just...not...there. They sift themselves silently out.

I didn't start blogging as a way to record their babyhoods, although it's been a useful tool for that, and reading the old entries (Ladies and Gentlemen, for your viewing pleasure - most of my girl child's life! Cast your eyes upon the archival dates at the left!) helps when I need to recall something. So today I'm using this power for good.

September 8th, 2009.
Rosey's very first hot lunch at school.

*Ahem. That was actually me.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

einstein he's not

Drippy dusk, and I was outside with Jasper the Empty-Headed.

He was doing his usual circle-circle-circle-slow down- whoops! -circle circle circle, and I was gazing vacantly out into the trees, noting the colored leaves (there are a few now!) absently, thinking about sugar cookie dough and ticking off the Monday morning checklist in my head (lunches...check! Next up: showers!) and suddenly I noticed Jasper was sucking in his breaths, great inhalations that ballooned out his sides like bellows, head down, serious eyes and trembly whiskers.
(Although he was drilling holes with his eyes at a lawn chair, so I don't think he had a clue)

I peered around, slowly, dipping my head a little to look through the trees. Nope, all's quiet here.

C'mon, Jas, you crazy thing. Do your business so I can get out of the rain, and

....and there was a cough. From the woods.

Jasper was still huffing and intent on the lawn furniture. I swung around and caught just a blur from the corner of my vision. One...no, two...no, there was a baby!
A family of deer were grazing in the watershed, and were discreetly commenting to themselves about the fool human and the even more foolish dawg who were hanging out in the rain getting wet. Disturbing their dinner. For shame.

I watched them for awhile, wondering if this was the same family group that hang out in our side yard early in the morning and wake the cats with their soft snuffle-snorts and sproings up on their hindlegs into the apple trees at first light, then gathered the now uh...emptied dog and walked toward the house.

Jasper tugged at the leash and dragged me almost into the quince bush, where he beat a path underneath and began to root for something while I did a hoppy-dance of my own and tried to avoid the very large and very green frog in our path that Jasper had almost run over as he ran to wrestle....

an apple.

It's a good thing I kinda like him. 'Cause he's just...not...swift.

Or, you know, observant.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

early harvest

I came home from work clutching some fat ears of corn on the cob and a ten pound bag of apples. Gravensteins, actually, red cheeked and shiny, looking like an advertisement for Fall. B met me at the door, a bit sweat-stained - he's been trying to get all our wood out of the forest for next winters burning. Next week he's renting a wood splitter and cutting it into manageable lengths, then begins the long (freaking long)process of stacking and piling.

Last year we didn't get it all done and had to get our wood out from under a tarp in the yard most of the winter. That sucked.
So this year he's determined to just get 'er done.

I brought my groceries in only to pull up short at the wealth of apples already spread out in baskets all over my kitchen. It had been a beautiful day, and Cass and Rosey had gotten a head-start on one of their favorite autumn things to do....

apple-pick in the side yard.

This is approximately half of them. I tossed the marble sized and obviously wormy ones.
Stealthily. So no feelings were hurt.

There they were - a love note from my kids (and a hint, I think, for apple crumble and apple pie) shining up at me.

It was a great pity most of them aren't ready (by a long shot!) yet.

I spread them out in a sunny windowsill and we'll see if they ripen any more - and tonight I'll pull out the Gravensteins and make an Apple Crumble.

It probably won't taste as good (things picked with love are infinitely sweeter) but it'll be acceptable, I think.

Especially if I pair it with ice cream.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

walking the stones

With both ruffians in school, I had something I very rarely get - a day off. Not that I've been working a lot lately, but every day seems taken up with minutiae, daily living is-the-bathroom-cleaned and do-we-have-any-flour kind of stuff.

Today? Today I struck out on my own.

Early Fall (or is this technically still Indian Summer? I wonder.) here is gorgeous. Everything from the last petals of the beach roses to the browning but still pink as a maiden's blush hydrangeas compete with the blue, blue sky and the deep green of the leaves to catch the eye.

It was tempting to just trek through the woods and meadows, but today I had a purpose. I had my camera with me, you see, and time. What else could anyone want?

There have been places beckoning to me for awhile now, little corners and spaces that I've wanted to walk through, and today......today I went to them willingly.

It was a good day to walk through the graveyards.

The cemeteries around here are mostly set on slopes and hills, with achingly beautiful views of the river or the sea and surrounded by sun-dappled sentinel trees.

They are gentle places, places to be introspective in.

Some graves are so old the stones themselves are returning to the earth.

A few are never forgotten, even after fifty years or more:

Nay, someone always tends the flowers.

I've always loved cemeteries. The places I grew up in had paths and walkways built around the stones, so it was possible to meander along and see the monuments, the statues built through the years. It gave us a sense of continuance, and more firmly rooted us in the history of the town. While the smaller graveyards here don't have the imposing monoliths and chipped stone angels dominating the scenery, they're still beautiful and worth a quiet, reverent walk through.

They're lovely.

Really lovely.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

jeepers creepers

We haven't been in the pool lately, so I had a lot of scooping to do before the kiddles could get in and splash around. Our pool is under the spreading branches of an old oak tree, you see, and it merrily drops acorns and bits of leafy debris.

My pool is also the place caterpillars and dragonflies go to die. It seem every time I use the net or vacuum I find a sodden little body - usually it's the striped furry crawlies that decide life in the trees isn't worth living and plunge to their watery graves below.

So there I was, raking the acorns out of the pool, keeping an eye out for any suspicious shadows on the bottom. I like to get them before happy little feet turn them into squishy spots that must be scrubbed off.

I worked my way around the pool, and had just reached the pump when I spotted a bright green fir cone whirling in the bucket of the intake of the pump. I almost reached in with my fingers - what in hell? We don't have any pines right here! - and drew back when I saw something that looked like

(Credit card offered for size comparison. As far as we know, it didn't off itself over its credit limit. BUT WHO COULD KNOW FOR SURE?)


It was the size of my thumb. It was the size of cat poop. It was...it was a Pixar character come to life. It was horrifying.

I didn't want to believe it. I wanted it to be a plastic toy.


Nova Scotia is a beautiful place, with no poisonous snakes and lots of gorgeous wildlife.

And apparently, bugs that will KNOCK YOU OUT if they fall on you.

**We're flummoxed by this - Bear has lived in Nova S his entire life, and has NEVER seen one this big. We also don't live near any power plants and our neighbors aren't mad scientist types.**

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

fly high

Summer ended with a swoosh of wings.

And some very neat vantage points.

School starts tomorrow. And while I'm not freaking out (well, not yet) that both my darlins will be going out on the big yellow taxi to begin new chapters in their growing-up, I am very aware that the house is...well, very quiet tonight.

This was the song for one of my proms, I think.

let's dance in style, lets dance for a while
heaven can wait we're only watching the skies
hoping for the best but expecting the worst
are you going to drop the bomb or not?
let us die young or let us live forever
we don't have the power but we never say never
sitting in a sandpit, life is a short trip
the music's for the sad men

can you imagine when this race is won
turn our golden faces into the sun
praising our leaders we're getting in tune
the music's played by the madmen

forever young, i want to be forever young
do you really want to live forever, forever and ever

some are like water, some are like the heat
some are a melody and some are the beat
sooner or later they all will be gone
why don't they stay young
it's so hard to get old without a cause
i don't want to perish like a fading horse
youth is like diamonds in the sun
and diamonds are forever
so many adventures couldn't happen today
so many songs we forgot to play
so many dreams are swinging out of the blue
we let them come true

forever young, i want to be forever young
do you really want to live forever

And while the lyrics now seem perhaps a bit - melodramatic? - the music still catches in my throat and gives me shivers, just like it did waaay back in the eighties when I couldn't possibly dream that one day I'd have two kids old enough to go off to school.

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 ...