Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Carrie, Carrie, quite contrary...

How does your garden grow? 

Just kidding. She actually took the picture for me. 

My sweet friend Karen Autumn posts excellent and fun pictures on Facebook of older objects which she breathes new life and love into. I was thinking of her as I grabbed this basket which belonged to my great grandmother Frances before I headed to our garden. I love when pretty things are functional things and fun things! 

It makes me smile to think that my amazing Grandma Frances used this in her gardens- I am old enough to remember her cherry trees and her riots of flower garden patches- and now here it is, making my life easier so that I don't have to try to lug everything back to my house in my T-shirt.

Not that that would ever happen as we adults possess the skill called planning ahead. Ahem.

That would be our first watermelon, a sprig of basil which I accidentally snagged off, cucumbers on the top, multitudes of tomatoes including a Cherokee Purple one on the right, and zucchini in the foreground. We also have extraordinarily tall lettuce (I didn't know lettuce grew up but these ones do), golden beets, carrots, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and holy cow basil and tomatoes out there. 

I must must must get back to blogging as my phone is out of storage: can't take any more pictures until I clear some stuff off, and the garden is CRAZY. 

Hungry? Come on down!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Super. Just super, I say.

Monday, August 14, 2017

And we have liftoff in 3...2...1...


That would be the sound of ultimate suffering, breathed and/or vocalized by the majority of kids and parents in the immediate area. School begins in three days. 

I wonder how many parents are channeling Tinker Belle's panic from "Hook": And I only have three days- three days!- to make him bangarang! 

Three days which should, by rights, be spent soaking up every blissful second of summer vacation. The three last weekdays the city pool will be open. The three last chances to sleep in. The three wide open afternoons to fill with being outside, not at a desk, not lugging a backpack stuffed to the gills with supplies, to be reading the books you want to read, taking the naps you can take (it's generally frowned upon once you're sitting at a desk), to spend hours on Legos, to be free. 

Instead, I'm waking the kids up earlier each day to adjust them to the godawful fact that the big kids will have to be on the bus just after seven o'clock in the morning and if one is getting up at six one must not be cruising towards thinking about getting ready for bed at quarter to eleven in the evening...

I'm working out and feeling acid slosh around in my stomach because there is no physically possible way to fit a workout in which will overlap with getting them up to get them moving to get started eating to get dressed to finish eating to quit fighting to finish up that breakfast to hold me back someone anyone or I am going to be on the news!

Because who doesn't love a side of panic with their workout?

Some of you are rolling your eyes and muttering, "so get organized."

Can you feel my icy glare from there? I hope it froze your bum to your seat. 

Some of you have self-motivated children. Some of you have people you live with who you can simply say, "get ready for school" and it happens. 

You do not live here, with These People That I Live With. These People need told, "did you pee?" and "pour the cereal into the bowl," and "do you have a spoon yet?" and "take your meds. Please take your meds" and "leave your brother alone" and "whaddayameanyoustillhaven'tpouredyourcereal" and "dear Lord, don't give me strength or there will be beatings."

I find myself remarking to anyone who will listen that I'd be a MUCH better camp counselor now that I've been a mom than I probably was at the time. At the time, I simply said, "get ready for bed."

Now I am much wiser. Some kids just don't get that the umbrella of "get ready for _________" means you do the bullet points under the umbrella. Somehow it gets lost in translation and turns into, "just show up." Yikes.

Three days. 

This is where you all come to our rescue and overload me with freezer meal recommendations, streamlined homework strategies, bedtime routines, school morning routines, and breakfast ideas.

And then I lower the boom to reveal that none of the kids like the same foods, so while oatmeal works for two of them, one won't touch it. One needs more fiber than the other two, but it has to be a certain kind of mini wheats or they'll not get eaten until maybe the End Times. And by then, one has certainly missed the bus. 

We already lay out our school clothes the night before so that there's no wardrobe changes in the morning. Once the boys  come downstairs, there should be no going back up. Their clothes, toothbrushes, breakfasts, shoes, jackets if needed, and backpacks are all on our ground floor for "easy" departures. Backpacks are generally filled the night before as well, so in theory lunches would be the only additional thing to grab if they are packing. Shoes and jackets are stored on their way to the door.

In theory, there's no reason they shouldn't be able to be completely ready in an hour.

Guessing there will be more posts coming about the reality. I predict a relatively easy first two days as they are a Thursday and Friday and the kids are kind of excited to go back. Two of them are starting at new-to-them schools, which means we now cover three buildings, three lunch menus, two buses, an endless amount of paper, dozens of pencils which still need sharpened and a partridge in a pear tree.

The real manure will hit the windmill next Monday...

Saturday, August 05, 2017

How shall I kill thee, let me count the ways...

"Let' go for a bike ride." He says. "It'll be fun! There will be hash browns. Pap will watch the kids." He says.

"I don't wanna ride my bicycle. They'll be closed because everyone will be at the fair. You watch."

"Ohhh, come on. Yoooouuu waaaant to riiiiiideyour biiiiicycle, you waaaant to riiiiide your bike..."

The sign says, "Gone fishing! See you August 7!" 

Dada's impending doom in 3... 2... 1...

You better be faster on your bike than your hashbrownless wife is on hers, buddy!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Timing is everything.

I have a story that some of you have heard snippets of already, but first- lilies! These gorgeous flowers grow a few streets away from us. I pass them all the time when I'm driving and never get a chance to stop and see what they were for sure. They are indeed lilies, orange with brown spots. There is an older gentleman whom I see puttering around amongst them sometimes, but as I'm always driving, I never get to talk to him. Our friend Sally from our neighborhood two houses ago had poppies like this, so when I saw they were finally open, I knew I had to stop on this bike ride. I've never seen lilies bigger than me before!

Dada took Monday off to recover from vacation (more about all that later) so of course we had to have a bike ride. We had the bike trail mostly to ourselves since everyone is either on vacation or at work on a Monday, so we got to see our usual friends belonging to the flower, bird and bunny varieties. 

We're cruising along and we notice purple morning glories are growing all throughout the soybeans and were musing about how they got there. I have some which I let Grandma Barb babysit for a summer; they took over her entire front porch area, climbing their way up all her trellises and posts and other plants. As purple was her favorite color, she was delighted! I got my potted plant back and have spread them around at both this house and our previous one. Are they helper plants? Are birds spreading the seeds? Planted in with the beans? What in the world? I want to know!

Then further down the path we noticed pinker ones growing along the edge of the corn field, behind the fence, which is behind the rather fluffy and overgrown evergreens of some kind. We'd noticed on previous rides that the shrubbery trees and thistles had been reaching out over the bike trail to grab unsuspecting passerby, and had commented on the 6+ feet of cleared, mowed land on the other side of the trail. At some point in these musings, Dada cracked about the morning glories being a distraction to waylay the unwary so that the children of the corn could grab them. Having read that particular Stephen King tale, I got big-eyed and mentioned that I didn't like that idea very much...

...and promptly ended up riding into the embrace of the evergreens. 


I didn't fall off, but wobbled back out, laughing about needing to watch out for evergreenery and not corn. Didn't even get scratched up, and should have learned a valuable lesson about bikes having brakes for a reason.


Further on down the path, we then notice an older gentleman walking a big, furry, pink tongued, unmistakable ball of fuzz that could only be a Newfoundland. With huge smiles on our faces, we sail by, calling out our hellos and good mornings and have a good days. I can't speak for Dada, but generally, good things don't happen when one is not looking in the same direction in which one is riding. I face forward after ogling the adorable dog, notice immediately that my bike is way too close to his bike, shriek something softly about "eek, move" or something. I then try to veer right to where there is plenty of room. At no point did the stupid idiot brain which takes up residence in my head remind me the evergreeny lesson about bikes having brakes. 

I clipped his rear wheel with my front tire and crash over onto my right side. The Newfie looks back at me and keeps on walking as we were just far enough out of earshot to not be noticeable. Thankfully I was wearing gloves, so my hands were not scraped up. My right shoulder is sporting an abrasion (I can't decide if "abrasion" or "road rash" sounds scarier...) even though my shirt didn't tear. As of two days later, it looks almost like a patch of sunburned skin peeling off. 

My knees, though. Some of you saw the Facebook picture already and expressed your sympathies. My knees could match any eight-year-old's who has spent any time on a bike this summer. I am going to have shiny, glossy knees that most certainly are not going to match the rest of my tan until next summer. You know how, ladies, when you're shaving in a hurry and cut too hard with your old razor and see white and think, "oh yep, that's gonna hurt when the water hits it"? Yeah, that. Nice, shiny white whatever is under the epidermis. I suppose that'd be my dermis, dummy. Ick.

Dada hopped off because miraculously I hadn't upset him by wrecking into him and sluiced my knees off with his water bottle. We walked our bikes a little ways and then rode the last tiny bit to our halfway point where we could sit down and stretch and get fresh gum and assess the situation. I was afraid sitting and stopping would make everything stiffer, so after our rest we got ready to head back. Lo and behold, here comes our fuzzy friend again, on his way home!

After some chit chat and love and pats and croonings, we all went our separate ways. Please only look at the adorable dog in the above picture, not at me. The one you want to see is below this.

Yep. That one. Left knee, on top, has one boo boo. Poor right knee, bottom, has two ewwy ones. The kids, who did express much sympathy at first, have been laughing at me about my "Bandidos" on my booboos.

The positive to come out of this whole thing is that Liam, who until this summer has moaned and complained about riding his bike just about every time we brought it up, has ridden two nights in a row and been confident and delighted. He even tipped over last night in the middle of a tight turn and scraped his left knee, got back on, told Dada about it, and just kept going. This is huge. Before this, he would have been in orbit about falling over or off, and as to getting injured? Fahgetabouthit!

Instead, he came home, clomped inside and announced, "I match you, Mama!" Proudly displayed was one skinned knee. And he wanted a Bandido.

So. Important life safety lessons here are:

1. Exercise is hazardous to your health.

2. Evergreens, like haystacks, are not as soft as they look.

3. Consider somehow attaching a first aid kit to your bike when riding with someone who forgets bikes have brakes.

4. Don't attempt to operate a bicycle on 4.5 hours of sleep. Surely that has something to do with reflexes and decision making skills, and not in a good way.

5. Most importantly, get off the dang bike before ogling cute dogs!

6. And most, most importantly, those things attached to your handlebars are called brakes and you can use them to stop yourself before running into other objects. Magic. Imagine! 

*Disclosure: No matter what you may have heard or thought, I solemnly swear that Dada did not push me over or into any evergreenery. I am perfectly capable, apparently, of causing all my own disasters, thank you very much. Take it easy on him. He really is doing his best.*

I didn't know praying mantises shot hoops.