Thursday, October 23, 2014

Marking a Moment

Today was Big Lad's last day of American high school.  He ate lots of celebratory cupcakes and just generally was the Man of the Hour.

His mythology teacher wants him to read American Gods and then discuss it with the class in December via Skype.  His Spanish teacher wants him to film himself promenading about his new town, identifying key features -- in Spanish. (Yesterday she threw him an epic junk-food party and made the whole class take a British slang quiz.)  His physics teacher wants him to keep studying physics.

It's not all over yet -- he will play one more soccer game next week, and will march with the band in the Halloween parade.

But for the most part, he's a free man.  At least until I need some brother care and heavy lifting.

(both photos by Little Lad, taken after soccer practice recently)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Parenting a Teenager

Exhibit A:  Delivering the Goods.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Holding Pattern

When Thursday rolls around, I get ambitious.

Thursday mornings are when Little Lad spends 2.5 hours at the public school.  I am alone.  It is quiet.  No moaning about having to do math(s).  No Asking for Things.  No lively renditions of "All About That Bass (No Treble)" or "Bang Bang" on the piano.  No small action figures (or the odd Barbie) whizzing through the air on a homemade zip wire.

I plan activities -- more de-cluttering, some packing, catching up on correspondence, a little leaf-raking, maybe.

But 2.5 hours is a surprisingly tiny slice of time, it turns out (especially when one factors in travel time to and fro).  Hardly enough time to start a project.

So today I just let it all go and took pictures of the leaves and the frisking squirrels outside my window.  And possibly one red-bellied woodpecker.  Because this is one view that I'll never see again.*

*unless nobody wants to buy our house

Relocation update:  Having driven 232 miles round trip just to be fingerprinted (?!), we submitted our visa applications, passports and other documents to the British Consulate in New York a couple of weeks ago.  We should know by the 27th if we have been okayed.  Meanwhile, I continue to clean rooms/closets and give things away.  It's going well, except that I have become the hag who delivers ever more strident lectures about Picking Up Your Messes and NO PILES, dammit!  (This in addition to the quotidian favorites such as "Would you please consider using toothpaste when you brush your teeth??" and "Would it be possible for me to utter ONE sentence that you didn't interrupt?") (Mama might need a tiny attitude adjustment.  Although to be fair, the "dammit" tends to be silent.)

Also, why oh why do we have so many books?  No realtor yet; I had a joyous epiphany upon waking one morning that it made no sense to list the house until we had assurance of visas.  Meanwhile, the folks in Scotland have yet to find a house for us anyway.

Finally, Papa S. has been chatting with his new friend and mentor-to-be Reverend S. about wardrobe options and clerical fashion statements.  I believe that there might be cassocks, Geneva gowns and a "preaching scarf" in his future...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Anybody Out There? and Some News

Kwan Yin, Our Lady of the Clean But Wrinkly Laundry

I'm here to find out if blogging is like riding a bicycle.  Can I hop back into the saddle after a year and a half away (almost), and happily cruise along?  Or will this end in tears and skinned knees?  I guess there is only one way to find out.

Here is the deal:  I am a bit preoccupied at the moment, and a bit heavy-laden with work.  For one thing, the Spirited Child who Needs a Great Deal of Stimulation (and patience) asked to be home-educated after three years in the public school system.

We are seeking a balance between the boring things I think he should do and know about and the things that light his fire (roller coaster research, zip line construction, skating lessons, and elaborate projects involving TP rolls and craft sticks).

O thank ye gods for a husband who loves to do this sort of thing
Meanwhile, we don't see much of the firstborn.  He is busy with early-morning marching band practice, school, soccer games, sleepovers and the odd bit of work now and then at the ice cream parlor.  I tend to catch up on his news during late-night post-game drives home from the high school and at an occasional shared evening meal.

The stilt thing went terribly wrong but I love the photo

But I digress (some things at this blog never change)!  I was telling you why I was busy, right?

Well, it's not just the return to home-based learning.  Or the all-hours taxi service or the game and band spectating.  It's that I suddenly need to clean and repair and (deep breath) sell my house, and store or discard pretty much everything in it, and get going on a whole lot of paperwork...

Because in two short months we are moving.


I promise to blog about the whole process if you promise to hold my hand.

P.S.  I have the uneasy feeling I've used that weird/awkward bicycle-riding analogy before.   If so, I apologize/apologise.  Mental faculties at the moment = slightly dodgy.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


It is cold, gusty, dark, wet and unpleasant, and I have been breaking with my green smoothie lifestyle to eat a lot of waffles.  And variations on porridge.

(Semi-gratuitous shot of oatmeal with chia seed and goji berries because Coffee Lady commented at the other blog that I seem to be getting even weirder.  Yep!)

Not that there haven't been pretty moments.  See what it looked like last Saturday?

When I talked Little Lad into taking a walk with me?

And we passed a sidewalk sale at the thrift shop?

And once home, he made us a flower tree?

Also, there was one hour yesterday when the sun came out (and it got HOT), and I frolicked in the woods and saw things like this...

...and then we had a couple of wonderful proper thunderstorms.

 And now it's winter again.

Ah, well.  Perhaps I will take my peevish little self and fire up the waffle iron, beg my neighbor for coffee, and settle in with something nice to read.


P.S.  Personal to Coffee Lady:  Salad with hempseed and chickweed flowers.  Nacho "cheese" made from cashews.  Pinto bean/flax tortilla chips.  Buon appetito!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Birthday and a Petting Zoo

I have failed as a mother.  On Big Lad's fifteenth birthday I took not one photo.  Zero, zilch, zippo!

In my defense, it wasn't an especially photographable birthday.  But it was a fantastic one, according to the lad himself.  A sleepover with his good friend C., a lavish breakfast produced by Papa Speechless, gifts of money and vouchers from his favorite shops (including a certain fast-food taco joint), an all-day eating/shopping/eating spree with said friend and me, a quick bite of pizza at the annual church Easter egg-dyeing fest (yep, more eating), and another gift fest at Grandma's.

And then Easter happened, and a little brother with a cold, and the excitement of helping Grandma find a fab new house to live in...and, truth be told, a little bit of frolicking in the woods...and here it is, more than two weeks later, and I'm just now talking about it.

Ah, well.  It was good, he had a fine time, and he doesn't seem too traumatized by the fact that his parents are in no hurry to sign him up for driving lessons (even though fifteen-year-olds in Missouri are indeed eligible for a learner's permit).  Phew!

But in case you need reassuring evidence that my Tall Teen still exists, here he is bonding with a yak.

And a camel.

All for now.  Except for this photo for Barb, who is under the weather.

Also, my sister and brother-in-law are flying to Norway day after tomorrow.  Feel free to wave at the sky if you see them!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Equinox Eve

Please enjoy this snowflake while I continue to recover from the flu that felled me a week ago.

Back soon...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Day Whatever: Whatever

Clearly I am a Quitter.  Or at least perpetually bad at following other people's rules.

I did give quite a bit of thought to yesterday's topic ("Fear"), but ended up just feeling discouraged at the realization that motherhood and too many emergency room visits (for my dad, not my children...knock wood) have made me an anxious little person.  Must work on that.  And trust me, you don't want to see a photo of me being fearful.

Today's prompt is "Favourite," but that just makes me cranky because I like/love a zillion things and nothing is my favorite.  Well, roses, maybe.  Which look like this at the moment:

So adieu, Photo Challenge, and thank you for kicking my backside into blogging again.

Now, to turn to pertinent current events.  It is Green Eggs and Ham Day at school, and here are the ingredients for Papa Speechless's vegetarian offering (Beet-Dyed Pink Eggs and Fakin' Bacon Polka Dots), pictured alongside fortifying travel mug of tea.

And here is a person observing both Hat Day (yet another facet of Dr. Seuss Week) and Maybe Finally Warm Enough To Wear My Jaunty New Spring Jacket? Day.  Mighty stylish, don't you think?


(The other kid left before I woke up this morning.  Early drum ensemble practice.  Followed by school.  Followed by tennis.  Yes, we're revving up toward spring all over the place...)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day Six: Chair

Before too long, all of our dining room chairs will look like this.  I wonder, if my grandpa had lived beyond my teens, would I eventually have asked him to show me how to cane a chair?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 5: Under

The Mystery Inc. gang went undercover as a band called Missing Link, to solve the mystery of the theater ghost.

And the two of us had a blast, both at the production (a Christmas/birthday present for Little Lad), and at dinner beforehand.  LL enjoyed quesadillas, a cherry almond cookie...

...and a Strawberry Manilow.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Days 3 and 4: Key and Lucky

The key to a successful birthday celebration for an eight-year-old is to let him choose the menu.

But some of us were lucky enough to get a whole separate feast of our own.


I think I might be bombing at this Photo-a-Day thing -- no photos of car keys (or keyboards or pianos) or four-leaf clovers.  But then you've all come to expect quirky from me, right?

Saturday, March 2, 2013


 As I mentioned over here, I am easing back into blogging by doing a photo-a-day challenge.

Today's prompt:  I made this!  Well, here's one of the best things I ever made, on his birthday today (the hearts were his idea).

It was such a happy day.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

All Souls' Day

On Friday, the Dia de los Muertos, my dad ate a good breakfast and sat down to watch some TV.  Shortly thereafter, without fuss or fanfare, his heart just stopped beating.

We are surprised that the end came so soon; relieved that it came so gently; joyful that his spirit is no longer shackled to that malfunctioning depleted 120-pound body; and of course sad that he really and truly is gone.

And if I am honest, I'm a little nervous, too, because I know that now he probably can see every little grammatical error I make here.  My spelling seems to be going to pot, too (sorry about that misspelled place name I failed to catch in the obituary).

Be kind with thine angelic red pen, Dad, enjoy the pictures, and (fingers crossed) I'll see you in my dreams.

Love always,

I took the first four photos in this post while gathering cypress cones at the cemetery, moments before Dad unexpectedly passed away.  The last photo is of Dad and Big Lad, from New Year's 1999.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012