Nontage

It is the end of school. My camera is not being used. I AM walking every night. . .and I need some new shoes. See the NONtage below. . .

This cat (Buttercup) was SACKED out. . .I kept waiting for her head to start sliding and pull the rest of her off the chair.

Deviled eggs to make my Momma and Granny proud. . .paprika AND olive garnish.

Victoria's swimming pool hair. A braid just gets loose, and a ponytail just gets tangled.

My family has started summer without me. . .but I am diving in on Friday!!!!!

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Ownin’ it.

So, I here willingly admit that I have spend the past two SOLID hours (except for a phone call when I was also googling to see satellite shots) playing various Mah-jong and Solitaire games on Webkinz. Seriously. I prefer their Tile Towers (Mah-jong) and solitaire to any other. My children aren’t even within 15 miles of my house. I have played mindless games and had a diet coke and listened to music and no one has asked me ONE BLOOMIN’ THING.

Why yes, I COULD have done much more productive things with the past two uninterrupted hours–cleaning up my craft room for instance, cleaning up anything, watching a movie, taking a nap, reading a book. . .but this was EXACTLY what I wanted to do. And I LOVED it.

The end.

Scent-imental

“Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years. Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.” Diane Ackerman
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Warning: This first paragraph is a big ‘ole list and some whining. . .it is not necessary to the post, but it made me feel better to write it. YOU can feel free to skip it.
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This afternoon and evening, I did many things. I attended a meeting after school, then stopped at Wal-Mart for chocolate and cauliflower and bananas, and two Red Box movies then stopped at Pizza Hut for. . .pizza, then stopped at Sonic to get a gift card for Thad’s teacher (to go with some of the chocolate) even though TODAY was his last day, then I called Stephanie (I think), then I called Carolyn, then I got home and changed clothes and ate pizza and chocolate and carrots with my family and watched Voyage of the Dawntreader and continued a letter and sat on the swing with Tony and downloaded “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper for Thad along with some Powerhouse 5,000 songs he wanted, and talked to Victoria about how lovely the ribbon was that she tied on the Hershey Bar/Thank you cards for HER teachers (more of that Wal Mart chocolate stop), and a little later I became very unhappy with my children because I asked them to help me by picking things up off the floor for 15 minutes (I set a timer when we do this) while I took a shower. . .and Thad’s shoulders drooped and he looked as though I has asked him to kill one of our cats, and Victoria picked up a paper off the counter and began reading it while I enumerated the many things I had done today that supported them giving me 15 minutes of their time and Thad wilted and Victoria read and I said, “Forget it. . .” and walked away to take my shower. I’m still steaming somewhat.
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BUT in between the last bit of chocolate news and the getting mad part, I was FINALLY able to go for a walk. Tony sat on the address sign while I walked the straight stretch in front of our house–about a quarter mile back and forth. We held a conversation in bits and snatches when we were in hearing/speaking distance.

I mentioned our dead pine trees, and he told me about the window-boarder-upper’s grand daughter (long story), and each time I got to the end of Lake where it runs into Clark, I smelled something from my childhood. More specifically, it was a scent from Nanny and Grandaddy’s house–but outside their house. It was sweet and pungent and not at all unpleasant, and it was swiftly followed by the scent of creosote–another childhood smell.

The creosote I could find immediately–it was some relatively new telephone and electric poles that had been in the 90+ degree heat all day long. That one was easy. The other scent was just as strong but more elusive to identify. I thought of the smells I associate with my Daddy’s parents–saffron rice, Chips Ahoy cookies and coffee, fig leaves, horses, Rosemilk lotion, Lava soap, and this sweet, flowery smell that was more than likely a combination of various country things like blackberry vines and gardenias and honeysuckle.

After my third pass on that end of the road, I mentioned it to Tony. I had been puzzling it out in my mind to no avail, so I said,

“I smell a scent from my childhood at the end of the road.”

“Skunk?”
“Nope. Something sweet and pungent with a kick to it–then creosote. I can’t figure it out,” Walk, walk, walk, walk, then over my shoulder. . .”though skunk wasn’t a bad guess.”
“Pig guts?”
“Ummmm. . .nope–no pig guts. . .deer guts, maybe,” step, step, step, step “duck feathers. . .” step, step, step, step “squirrel hair. . .” step, step, step, step “but this is sweet and flowery.” Out of distance.

On my last pass, Victoria and Thad had joined me (before the 15 minute picking up debacle of ’11). As we passed through the veil of my childhood wafting on the air, I asked, “Do you smell that? That sweet smell?” Both of them answered in the affirmative. . .they asked what it was. I told them I couldn’t place it. We even stepped onto the side of the road toward our neighbor’s fence to see if there were any blossoms that night give it away. But there were none to be found.

“It smells nice,” said Victoria. And it did. I did smell nice–and it pulled at my heart, and it made me think about all the ways God helps us to remember.

I am no longer steaming. The children are in bed asleep. I will go and kiss them and smell their heads–Victoria’s clean one and Thad’s dirty one.

all the small poems

all the small poems by Valerie Worth, illustrated by Natalie Babbitt is a small paper-backed book I picked up for $.50 a couple of years ago. I don’t know much about Valerie Worth, but Natalie Babbitt has written two of my favorite books of all time: Tuck Everlasting (DO NOT think the movie is the book–it is NOT) and Eyes of the Amaryllis

Back to Ms. Worth. . .these are, in fact, small poems about singular, recognizable items. Each poem, like the title of the book, begins with a lower case letter to signify the “insignificance” of the item being described–the smallness–the ordinary, every dayness of it. Some of the poems are straight forward–some are just poetic license on a random item, and some are quite simple on the surface, but if you scratch them, they bleed meaning.

Here are two of my favorites.

I know these rags of which she speaks. My Granny used them. I can also imagine Garrison Keillor reading this on his radio program. (He has a wonderful story about growing tomatoes–or, rather, destroying tomatoes.) I think he would especially shine his droll sense of timing and baritoned splendor on the final line regarding underpants.

My scanning prowess needs some improvement, but despite the wonky type, I love this poem, because I have loved a sparrow. I believe this is one of my favorite illustrations in the book. It IS what a sparrow looks like–perfectly.

So. . .if you want a book of poetry to share with a child, or just a nice book of poetry to read, let me suggest this one. There is no lofty verse or eloquent vocabulary, but the images drawn in word and in ink will make you smile.

Interior Brain-scape

I need a Sabbath–not a Sunday. . .Sundays are NOT Sabbaths. Growing up, my parents and grandparents often referred to Sunday as “The Lord’s day.” And it IS. It IS The Lord’s Day. I felt like today was The Lord’s Day–I know I spent a lot of time with the Lord’s people. I taught Bible class, and worshipped, and shed a tear or three as I listened to my husband guide our minds in communion thought. I ate lunch with my family on the way to one of our teen’s Sr. receptions where we made a brief appearance before they dropped me off RIGHT BACK at the building to help hostess a baby shower, then I came home and pretty much collapsed.

Literally.

I took off my makeup and any constrictive clothing (which I’d had on most of the live-long day), threw on an old t-shirt and “laid down for a minute.” Or–180 minutes as it turned out. Yes. When I awoke at 8:00 p.m., I was a little amazed that I had slept for three hours. I got up with that drugged late, nap stupor hanging around my head like a cloud of gnats, stumbled into the kitchen and ate the first thing I found (two chocolate covered strawberries from the shower), then downed an enormous glass of water.

My family, meanwhile, had been whipping rope. And buying plane tickets. Are you confused yet? I know how you feel.

At 9:00, the children–both of them–came wandering into the study unable to sleep. They’d been at it–the whole trying to sleep thing–for about 25 minutes by that point. When this happens, there is only one thing to do. Go and talk to them. I knew the problem–they’d not gotten to be with me any. They needed some mommy time–never mind that Thad will be ten in June, and Victoria will OFFICIALLY be a teenager in July. I started with the girl–laying sideways across her bed on top of her down comforter with her beside me. I stroked her hair and her face like I did when she was a baby. I saw her relax–she wasn’t asleep–just enjoying the attention. After a few minutes, I got her into bed the right way, pulled her comforter back (too hot for that) and covered her with her sheet, then went and retrieved the fan someone had taken out of her bedroom and turned that on too.

Next was the boy. I climbed into bed with him (nearly breaking my ankle on some errant, ever-present Legos surrounding his bed) and began removing the lumps of various and sundry stuffed animals from under my back. He said, “So. Are ya gonna ask me questions like you always do?” “Like what boy?” “Like how was my day and stuff like that?” “So, Thad. How was your day?” I asked. And he told me–we sauntered from rope whipping to Lego cars to Wendy’s. He was talking about how he was thinking about Wendy’s nuggets and fries and Frosties and I said, “Boy. Did you eat any dinner?” “Ummmm. . . .nope.”

Well, there’s your problem. This is yet another thing he has inherited from his Daddy. Forgetting to eat.

Off we went to the kitchen for a big bowl of Raisin Bran. I sat beside him at the table as he downed it and tried to make his stoneware bowl sounds like a crystal glass. As he slurped the last of the milk I said, “Better?” He nodded. “Better.” And off to bed he went. Both of them are asleep now. Tomorrow is Victoria Day. (Hope all of you Kooky Canadians enjoy your day of sloth.)

Meanwhile, tomorrow is also a Monday. NOT a Sabbath. That’s okay. . .no one but Canadians get a Sabbath tomorrow. 🙂

Two-fer

It is the end of school ’round here. We are able to count down the days on our hands. Tony and the kids have a few less days than me–but we won’t TALK about that now, because I have some BRAGGING to do. (BTW, I am using a borrowed camera, so I can’t guarantee the quality as the camera is FINE, but I am used to my own–which is elsewhere getting cleaned.)

Here are my children. They are good kids–both of them. On a daily basis you may find their halos to be lopsided and their wings to be a bit dusty and in need of some preening (or in Thad’s case, some deodorant), but all in all I am one proud Momma. Actually, I’m probably proud enough for TWO Mommas. . .

Last night Thad bridged to Webelos for Scouts and got various and sundry belt-slide thingies and arrow points and another badge. He was just glad to have more hardware on his scout belt–it’s all about the belt loops, people. He had his Daddy attach it immediately, then gave a little whoop and jump as he hustled back to his spot in the Bears Den 2 line.

Tonight was the MJH awards ceremony where Victoria was honored as Outstanding Pre-AP science student for Ms. Pruitt’s class. Her friends, Kate and Jessica, were honored as well–Jessica, interestingly enough, as the Outstanding Pre-AP science student in Mr. LANGLEY’S class.

The flowers were from her teacher. So sweet.

And it SEEMS like just yesterday that I posted about May 17th not being a popular blogging day. . .alas, it was today, May 18th, that I posted that revelation.

I got the date wrong.

So.

I think that about says it all.

(“Tupelo Honey” by Van Morrison is playing from my computer speakers right this second. . .I think I need to have that piped into my sub-conscious from now until June 3rd.)

May 17th–Not a popular blogging day

I began this blog in February, 2006. Over the course of the past five years, I have blogged on May 17th all of twice. There is a very good reason for this. It is called “end-of-the-school-year.” There is a spike in posting end of April/beginning of May as I rise to take a deep breath before the final plunge. . .then there is silence except for a few little air bubbles popping to the surface to show that I am alive somewhere under the water.

And I am. I am alive. And summer vacation will come, and I will sleep most of my first week out of school (which is, again, a week later than my family this year) and that will dump us straight into VBS which will dump us into the next thing and the next. . .and you get it. But, for right now, it’s that insane time. Below are my May 17-ish blog posts from the past few years. Enter at your own risk.

May 17, 2008

May 16, 2010

Seredipity May 12, 2010