Monday, June 27, 2011

Random Is as Random Does

Summer has officially started and we have house guests.  I'm finding it hard to keep up with everything, get the kids to their respective activities AND write on my beloved blog. I'll try to get more organized.  After 13 years as a mother, you'd think I would be prepared for the Summer Chaos, but it sneaks up on me every time.

One really wonderful development is that it looks like Ana (13) is going to be attending the same academically advanced private school that Jane (10) attends next year. I'm so excited for Ana; she's THRILLED, and although we may be eating cornflakes for dinner as we pay for two kids in private school, I LIKE cornflakes. It's a win all around. We're going through the application process now, but it looks like everything is good to go, barring any other economic disasters. I'll keep you posted.
Yeah, she really is THAT beautiful.  And THAT smart.

It turns out that my husband and I are not the only ones with a Mixed-Towel-Ethic Marriage. Check out this post by The Bloggess. It made me realize that my husband and I are very formal and serious when we argue. I have never once called him names, nor bought a five-foot chicken in retaliation for anything. (Although I confess that now I kind of want one. Wouldn't be hilarious if after all I did to remove the freakin' roosters from this house, I now replaced them with CHICKENS?) (Well, hilarious in a Mental Illness kind of way, I mean.)

Edward has taken to lying on my computer desk when I'm working.

As you can imagine, I hate this --NOT.  Although, it's really hampering any kind of production, and I really didn't need any other distractions.
Look!  How smart!  Edward caught a MOUSE!
I know it's a slippery slope and I am probably becoming one of those sad cat women, destined to die alone in a studio apartment, surrounded by my 125 cats, but holy COW, I so love that cat. I was thinking the other day that if more people behaved like Edward (not the catching chipmunks thing, but the sheer single-minded devotion he displays to me, his Person), the world would be full of happy, purring people. His entire attitude is, "Why yes, I am the most gorgeous creature on this planet and many bow down before me, but I choose YOU.  I will now follow you around and curl up in the crook of your arm any time you lie down and I will purr my Mighty Purr only for you."  Because of this attitude, I am willing to forgive an awful lot. I could forgive him a giant chicken, I really could.

I am very fortunate this year to have my enthusiastic co-Farmer in the form of one Jane Cooper. She's primarily in charge of harvesting and she takes her job VERY seriously.

I would love to tell you that Jane goes out to garden before she's even changed out of her pajamas but the truth is that during the summer, every day is pretty much Pajama Day in Jane's world. I'm fine with that.

First cucumber and carrots.
Snow peas!
In other Jane news: Jane played softball for the first time this year and it turns out that she's fantastic at it and she LOVES it. Now she practices all the time in the back yard, which means we have to bring the dogs inside because they keep fetching (and slobbering all over) her softballs.

Here's a little slide show from yesterday:

Earlier this week, an enterprising spider built a web between my car and the lamp post.

I totally understand the impulse and the futility.  I'd like to build a huge spider web to catch these fleeting days.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Building Skyscrapers of Gratitude

Yesterday was Father's Day.

After the traditional breakfast (breakfast tacos):
Jane Cooper is in SUCH a Daddy Phase with her father these days. It's adorable, even if it means she would throw me under the wheels of a bus for a chance to sit next to him.

he opened presents. (For those of you keeping score at home, I managed to keep my streak of giving Coop "Near Gifts" completely intact.  Once again, I got him a present that was ALMOST what he wanted. Some day, I will manage to give him something that he won't actually have to return.  I remain hopeful.)

And then, because he is Coop, we packed up and went to the beach.
We're so lucky that we always set up camp outside the lifeguard zone and then, within about five minutes, the lifeguards move the sign and extend the zone to include us.  I don't think this has anything to do with Fearless Jane Cooper, but I'm not ruling it out.

and something miraculous happened.

First, a little background: This is our fourth summer here in New York.  The very first summer, we discovered a private beach through one of Coop's co-workers when we figured out that I couldn't manage the trek from the parking lot to the beach due to the FULF. This beach we found has a shuttle service --a little truck that loads people up and drives them across the sand to the shore. This is good for us, not only because of my foot, but also because the Coopers are what you might call Gear Intensive.  We take a lot of stuff with us.

So, yesterday, we didn't use the truck shuttle.  I just didn't need it and we couldn't wait to get to the beach.

And then?

(Hold on, I'm getting all teary again...)

(Okay, I'm back.)

I took a walk down the beach.

For the past three years, I've watched my family walk down the beach together and I've been unable to go with them.

I wondered what they saw and what they talked about.

It turns out that they saw this:

It's a boot.  On a stick.

It's about the most beautiful damn thing I've ever seen.

Except for this:

Look how far I walked:

Because, you know, I COULD.

Walking back, I got a little choked up, just feeling the gratitude for this miracle of healing that I am living. I'm telling you, the gratitude I feel is almost tangible-- it's an enormous, enveloping cloud all around me.  But not heavy, you know.  Uplifting and substantial at the same time.  I should be able to mold it into huge skyscrapers of hope for the world.

That's how it feels.

That's how walking feels to me.
Not such a FULF anymore.
 I know it was Father's Day but I just have to tell y'all--it was a heck of a wonderful day for this Mama.
Life from down the beach. Pretty sweet.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Remember this?

It's coming along:
Look how calm I am.  "It's coming along," I say.  But what I really mean is SQUEEEEEE!!!! (Ahem.)

And remember...well, this entire post: This is Totally Not My Fault (Maybe)

Why yes, that's a tomato.  Yes, it is. I'm totally calm about it (and its brethren) because I am so Zen about these things. You'd never, for example, catch me jumping up and down and squealing.  (Especially if I'm the one holding the camera.)

In other kinds of progressions, our auxiliary dog, Scout, turned seven this week. He is still the worst dog I have ever had and we love him dearly, despite his many, many, MANY character defects. (When no one is looking, I can sometimes be found kissing him on the nose.) (Very gently, though, because of the whole submissive urination thing.) Happy birthday, Scout.
It's okay, buddy. We have far too much invested in you to ever give you away.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I am NOT a Communist. (Much.)

So, I've become increasingly ...I wouldn't say MILITANT, ENTHUSIASTIC about organic foods and feeding them to my children.  It seems like the more we learn about how we're poisoning our food supply with pesticides and additives, the more dangerous it seems to feed my girls meat and produce and dairy that isn't organic.

Really, I draw the line at saying I'm MILITANT about it because...well, there's ice cream.  My husband has his own edict about not buying ice cream if it has high fructose corn syrup in it, so it makes it hard to find ice cream that meets all of our standards without tasting like wet cardboard. Non-organic ice cream (without HFCS) is a staple in our house.  (We'd buy organic ice cream exclusively, but we have to balance that with the fact that we have private school tuition to pay.)

At any rate, during a recent Hamburger Night at the Cooper's, I insisted on making my own French Fries from organic potatoes.  I bought a curly fry cutter

and I peeled almost five pounds of potatoes (!) and spiral cut them. My husband fried them up (Classic Quote: "A man needs to know his place. Mine is in the garage with the deep fryer.") and I salted them with organic sea salt and served them.

They were delicious.

Jane Cooper, 10, refused to even try them, other than an obligatory nibble when she saw the homicidal look in my eyes.  She doesn't like change of any kind and if Ore-Ida fries were okay for every other Hamburger Night we've had (there haven't been many since my kids only discovered they LIKE hamburgers within the last year), then she saw no need for change.  Clearly, I am the MAN, always trying to keep her down.

So, um, then I got a message from the Universe.


I can't quite tell if this means I should stay the course in my organic obsession, or if maybe "MILITANT" is the appropriate adjective after all...

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Blocked Blocked Blockedy Blockedy Blocked -and a Song

I am struggling.

My book about my experience with chronic pain just isn't coming together. In fact, the effort I am putting into fermenting it has caused a total drain on every single creative aspect of my life. I've never felt so...dry.  I can't even knit. I can't even COOK.

I never understand my own creative process, and each project seems to have it's own gestation period but, as with yoga, I keep practicing on faith that I will have some kind of break-through.  Or break-down.  Something will HAPPEN.  I am ready.  I know what I want to say--I just can't find the plumb line.

Meanwhile, though, my lack of production has not been mirrored by my amazing children.  Here's Ana singing the Periodic Table of Elements, set to the music of Sir Arthur Sullivan by the immortal Tom Lehrer.

She learned it over the past ten days on a bet with her science teacher. (I actually learned a little bit of it myself as she was practicing.  It's an odd experience to find yourself walking through the aisles of the grocery store singing the Periodic Table of Elements but there ya go.)

(Plus, um, not to brag even MORE, but isn't she just so beautiful?)