"Finally" For Feel Good Friday

July 30, 2010 by Rieshy
We've never hiked on the Natchez Trace.  I have to admit it was a childhood holdover from reading too many Louis L'Amour westerns.  The Trace, in L'Amour novels, was always fearfully mentioned as a place inhabited by murderous outlaws. 

Which of course it was during the L'Amour's novels, when the Natchez Trace was briefly terrorized by a family of psychopaths.

But I digress.  My Feel Good Friday memory is the fact that this morning my family plus my in-laws (otherwise known as grandparents extraordinaire) finally toured through part of the Trace.  Nothing like playing the tourist in your own neck-of-the-woods.

We threw rocks in streams, hiked, fell face-first in at least one patch of poison ivy (the 2 year old), ate snacks, enjoyed the scenery, and were home by lunch time. 

Nothing like getting to spend some low-key time with my kids, my husband and my parents-in-law.  A miniature vacation. 

My mother-in-law served an important service on the outing as an... anchor.

What's a family outing without a little adrenaline rush?

The Girl Next Door's Feel Good Friday is being hosted by 29 and Holding this week.

Hot Geeks Unite

July 28, 2010 by Rieshy

It was 90 degrees in the house last night at 2:00 A. M. when I got up to give my son his night feeding, thus completely explaining why I was lying on my bed in a half-awake discomfort when my alarm went off, instead of snoozing in my normal coma-mode.

My 11 year old, who was also too hot to sleep,woke up and watched a movie with me until 4:00 A.M.  It made sense at the time.

I'm pretty sure 90+ degrees inside, despite the air-conditioning running, is a bad thing.

I'm a geek, so when I called the heating and air company and couldn't explain anything about our unit beyond, "it's hot in my house," a line from an old Star Trek- Next Generation Episode kept going through my mind.

It's the episode where our jaunty Enterprise heros stumble across a derelict ship crewed by people who can only respond to questions about their mechanical difficulties with a phrase something like, "It won't go", or "Our ship is broke".

As a geek- since I can't remember the exact quote, I googled it.  Evidently,  I'm such a geek that no other geek out there has bothered to post such an insignificant quote.

My husband gets back from about 2 weeks of business travel later today.  He's a geek too.  He'll remember the quote.

And if the unit isn't fixed by the time my husband gets back, we'll be hot geeks together.

Buuut, calling all blog-reading geeks.  If you can remember the quote and the episode please leave me a comment. I'd enjoy greeting my husband with the correct line.

**** Update****

A friend's husband came through.  The line is from the episode Samaritan Snare.  Thanks Clay.

Even better, a repairman got out here (when he said he would be here) and fixed my air.  Wahoooo!!!  With my two youngest boy's metabolic condition a cool house isn't just a comfort issue, it's a health and safety issue.

Btw, when you are frizzy headed, drenched in sweat, and smell like comet and vinegar from scrubbing bathrooms, and are wearing a trashy tank top , do not- I repeat, do not open the door to the air conditioning repairman and exclaim excitedly, "I'm so glad to see you, I am soooo hot."

Because if you do, not that I did, the repairman will have to concentrate on blinking several times to keep from bursting out laughing.

Conceptual Cognates That Are False-Friends

July 27, 2010 by Rieshy

Or: Beliefs That Must Be Outgrown With Toddlerhood To Avoid Possible Ridicule And/Or Failure

  • If your eyes are covered no one can see you.
  • Everyone wants to see your new underwear.
  • Dr Seuss is a cat.
  • The computer printer makes drawing paper.
  • Dogs are boys, cats are girls.
  • The ATM gives out free money.
  • Making a face and snarling is cute and flirtatious.
  • Friends are made and people influenced by sweaty tic-tacs dispensed with dirty hands.

Good Will Towards Boys

July 22, 2010 by Rieshy
My husband found this motorcycle helmet at Good Will.  We do not have a motorcycle.  I would not have seen its possibilities because I do not have enough testosterone.

Our 8 year old son understood immediately.  

Works For Me Wednesday- even if on a Thursday.

Penciled In

July 19, 2010 by Rieshy

Again, again I had to explain while showing a photograph of my sisters and me that I am, in fact,  the youngest sister.

It's kind of like when someone asks how far along you are in your pregnancy and you have to explain that your baby is now 6 weeks old.

In other words, annoying.

It doesn't help that my oldest sister could probably kick me around a racquet ball court within seconds. She runs half-marathons for fun and is the kind of petite and dainty woman I always wanted to be.  She turns 50 this year.

My middle sister (also older) is the pilates queen.  Svelte, tall, graceful. "Older, thank you.  Yes really, she's older than me"- I had to argue this with my 11 year old who was most unflatteringly positive I was mistaken.

If my sisters would just stop coloring over their gray it would help.

So I've penciled in a mid-life crisis.  I'm just giving myself a few days to cope with the fact that I'm 43 and neither tall and graceful, nor petite and dainty.

I'm neither rich nor poor, brilliant nor stupid.

I think way too much but never deeply enough.

I have more than I deserve yet am arrogant enough to be petulant when I don't get even more.

Sometimes I'm angry with the universe for my life's mediocrity. The universe?  The Parable of the Talents most unfortunately prevents me from running too far with this idea.

At the end of the day, the Creator knit me together and Christ thought I was worth dying for.

Worth dying for.  That's big- it means I don't really technically have a mid-life.  This is just a prelude to eternity.

Bring on the gray.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

"That Kid"

July 18, 2010 by Rieshy

The smell is back.  The smell is back just in time for July's heat and humidity.

My 4 year old is carnitine deficient and takes a medication to supply his body with the carnitine necessary to help his body metabolize fats.  The medication comes from fish oils; it can, "sometimes cause an unpleasant body odor".

Taking riboflavin helped get rid of the smell.   For two years now he's been smell free.

Riboflavin tastes terrible.  I mean body shuddering, stomach roiling terrible.

For a long time I got him to take the riboflavin anyway.  But it is more important that he enjoy eating so we slowly stopped the riboflavin.

No smell.  No smell for months.


Now- the smell?  Old tuna.  Old tuna left in a parked car.

My child is, "that kid".  The one who inexplicably smells.

We've re-ordered riboflavin gummy bears from a special compounding pharmacy.  I'm hoping it will work again.  I'm hoping he'll like the taste.

I kiss my son's head and try not to inhale. He takes many baths.

I suddenly wish I could go back to the 6th grade and have compassion on the weird kid that sat on the row behind me.  The kid everyone avoided.  The kid that stank and picked his nose as a side show act.

Did he stink and pick his nose, or did he pick his nose because he stank?  A literal thumbing his nose at the universe?

Suddenly, this is a vitally important distinction.

My 4 year old is doing great.  He's glowing with  health.  He's strong, enjoying summer. He has more energy than he's ever had. This winter when he was doing poorly, and I was despairing for him, this was all I wanted, all I prayed for, all I thought I needed for him.

I was wrong.  I want everything.  Everything, minus the smell.

That kid in the 6th grade?  I bet his mom wanted everything too.  I wish I could hug her.

As Time Flies

July 16, 2010 by Rieshy

Short and Sweet for The Girl's Feel Good Friday.  Not short and sweet because I'm economical with my words (just ask my husband) but because I haven't had more than 5 minutes of time to myself lately.

5 things that made me smile this week?

  1. My van ride home from Michigan.  Actually I didn't just smile,  I laughed out loud at my 18 year old.  Poor thing, throwing up in front of non-family members while your mother laughs at you.
  2. My flower vase full of flowering mint and zinnia from my garden.  (What is the plural of zinnia, because I definitely have plural zinnia this year?)  Flowers always make me smile; flowers I've grown from seed make me practically maniacally happy.
  3. Watching my children swim at night, under a crescent moon, while chatting with friends.
  4. Watching my teens play a game of night-ultimate frisbee (with a light up frisbee)  in a pitch black field with their friends wearing glow stick necklaces and bracelets to mark teams.  It looked surreal.  
  5. Looking back over our month with our visitor from Switzerland.  I took her to the airport this morning with a genuine sense of sadness.  How could a month already be over?  

July 13th Daybook

July 14, 2010 by Rieshy

FOR TODAY: as part of The Simple Woman's Daybook 

Outside my window... wet grass, wet mulch, wet bushes.  It's been raining everyday and night for 5 days, with sunshine and humidity in-between showers.

I am thinking... that my 2 year old is attempting to corner the market on whining and fussing.

I am thankful for...
the unusual July rains.  I can practically hear my garden grow.  

From the learning rooms... We visited the Frist museum and saw an exhibit of "The Golden Age of Couture".  Perhaps not the best choice considering the teenaged boys I had along with my daughters.  They did survive- even the girdle display.  My girls are glad to have missed the "Golden Age".  However, I could stand a bit of elegance.

From the kitchen... I hear the last of the hot cocoa being dished up.

I am creating...
I am attempting to create a loving, whine and fuss-free home environment.  I'll have to read my 2 year old's daybook entry to see what his plans are.

I am going... swimming or slightly insane.

I am hoping...
that I can manage to pull off the surprise going away party for our Swiss friend.

I am hearing... the New Moon soundtrack, multiple times.

Around the house... my husband re-arranged the furniture while I was in Michigan.  What a treat, he even vacuumed under everything he moved.

One of my favorite things... we found Lego shaped candies that actually fit together. How cool is that?

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Saying goodbye to our exchange student.  She will be missed! Then something just for (gasp) me- Spinning guild on Friday, where I hope to finish plying a two ply sport-weight shetland/angora yarn.

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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

July 13, 2010 by Rieshy
Otherwise known asMy Summer Vacation

The Good?

We drove to Grand Haven, Michigan a day late.  It's beautiful there.  Seriously beautiful.

The beach was postcard perfect.  The water was heavenly.  Just cool enough to avoid being a bathtub, just warm enough that the kid's lips never turned blue.  The waves were gentle, the sand... the sand was fake.  It had to be, it was clean and soft and identical-  curving down the beach into infinity.

The town of Grand Haven is populated by gardeners.  I think you have to have pictures of past successful flower gardens before they allow you to buy property.  Just walking to the beach was a treat because I got to ogle beautiful houses surrounded by flowers while walking in the shade of gigantic beech trees.

The locals thought it was a hot weekend.  I can only wish for such "hot" weather.

Poppa and Oma were a treat to get to visit.  They fed us well and took us on tourist outings.  Their dogs enjoyed us, their cats (barely) tolerated us.  Now that I know that Oma is a perennial flower junky christmas gifts will be oh, so much easier and fun to purchase.

sleddy_rainbow.jpgWe walked to the center of Grand Haven where my 8 year old discovered Nirvana- a toy store that was all things wonderful.  Wooden machine guns that fire rubber bands- cool!  $49?!?

I think not.

I did discover a new toy that was (much) less than $49 and almost as cool- it's a kite that fits in a small pocket sized zip-up bag.  Even my 2 year old was able to get it to fly.  It doesn't have any sticks or rigid parts so the whole thing just folds up.

I love kites.

Poppa and Oma had a wagon for the little boys that Poppa pulled everywhere we walked.  I hope I'm that fit when I'm Poppa's age.  It was perfect.  My 4 year old was able to save and expend all his energy playing in the waves and running after Poppa's dog.  In fact all weekend my 4 year old did an amazing imitation of a child without any health problems.

The Bad?

My 2 year old.  My small Master of the Universe did not spend the weekend behaving in a way calculated to win friends and influence people.  Oh, and he decided that while in the state of Michigan sleeping at night was superfluous.

Not to mention that unlimited access to grapes is not the best thing for a 2 year old's digestive system...

The Ugly?

Stomach virus- part II.  Sunday morning in the wee hours my 14 year old got sick.  She seemed better by van loading time.  We absolutely had to leave that morning- my 18 year old had to be home for his work.

And then?  and then...

Well let's just say that more than one member of the van became ill.  Pass the bowl.

I've lived for 43 years without being in a moving vehicle with ill people.  Wow!  What a blessing I now consider that 43 years.

 A 10 hour drive with vomiting people and the only other driver too sick to drive.  At one point I started laughing.  What other viable choice did I have, besides insanity?  Insanity wouldn't have gotten us home.

I'm glad our exchange student got to see more of the country.  Only think of the valuable cultural lessons she learned: extended families and how Americans behave while sick.  I wonder how her summer vacation essay will read.

Gary Indiana, Gary Indiana and the Stomach Flu

July 8, 2010 by Rieshy

If you've ever seen the Music Man you might understand why we were so excited to be driving to visit my Dad in Michigan; we were all revved up to sing as we drove through Gary, Indiana.

Big fun.

Remember my penchant for weird dreams?  Well, I dreamt that our exchange student had a stomach virus.  She doesn't... but both my 8 and 11 year olds do.  Ughhh.

Not big fun.  (Why, oh why, can they not aim? )

Trip to the Lake cancelled.

I feel particularly bad because we wanted our Swiss exchange student to see a bit more of the U.S. before she has to return home.  O.K. the fact that I'm going to miss out on my Dad's grilling, card playing, Kathryn's quirky humor, and the fact that I'm not going to get to see the beaches of Lake Michigan for the first time makes me sad too.

Letdown by comparison- somehow going to the Rec. Center, can't compete when you thought you were going on a road trip to real water.

There's always a bright side, right?   I am quite grateful we didn't find out that we had a stomach virus while on the road.  Just me and 8 children driving for 9 hours with a stomach bug, in a 12 passenger van...  The thought makes me shudder.  Horror mobile.

Consolation by comparison: whoever else wakes up sick today and however many times I have to clean the bathroom floor, it still has to be better than having sick children on the road.

Blurred Athena

July 7, 2010 by Rieshy

Yesterday's Parthenon visit.  Nashville.

It looks cool and mysterious.

It was "cool" but very, very hot. And big.  Did I mention hot?

 The Parthenon as a gigantic jungle gym.

Small camera and incredibly big statue = blurred Athena.  
Medusa's head on Athena's chest wowed the toddler set.  Wish it was visible.

Twisted torso.  
Poor Iris.

Wilting and Watering.

An hour well spent. 

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Long Day

July 6, 2010 by Rieshy

Ever have a day where you have so many unrelated conversations and unrelated tasks and unrelated activities that your brain never quite catches up?  When you go to bed you just know your dreams are going to be paced like a Jason Bourne movie in order to process it all by morning.

It doesn't necessarily mean it was a bad day, or a sad day, or a mad day.  (Whoops, I think I may have swallowed a Dr Seuss book.)  Today was such a day for me.

Perhaps part of my sense of dislocation was squeezing in a visit to the Parthenon- in Nashville.  Nashville has the only full sized replica of the Parthenon in the whole world.  I mean, doesn't that make sense?  Music city.... Parthenon replica... o.k. it makes no sense at all.  But it is sorta cool.

The nude statue in the museum under the Parthenon wigged my 4 year old out.  Which was amusing.

Many of the oil paintings at the Parthenon Museum were framed with glass over the oil paintings, which wigged me out.  Glass over oil-on-canvas plus a little glare from spotlights pretty much obscures all brushstrokes.  You might as well frame a print from the gift shop.

I also found it a tad odd that the Parthenon Museum's collection seemed to be mostly comprised of 19th century American painters.  I guess going with a antiquities collection would be too obvious?

Standing in the museum, sticky with sweat from wrestling my 2 and 4 year olds and their stroller around the site, did remind me of something.  Beauty and how little time it takes to see some, and how you can forget what quality really is if you never stop long enough to look for it, and gaze at it.

Shame on me- I've lived in the area 17 years and have never been to the Parthenon.  It took only an hour to stop there before a doctor visit.  Even oil paintings under glass with poorly aimed spotlights can be breathtaking.

So tonight, I'll probably dream of a car chase around the acropolis with guitar playing, nude statues who are all wearing stethoscopes.  It'll be grand.

Then I'll wake up and start yet another action packed day just a little bit worn out from all the dreams, but I will close my eyes as I sip some coffee and re-see the amazing colors of the paintings and the twisted torso's of the pediment casts.

Who knows what I'll dream about tomorrow night.

July 6th Daybook

by Rieshy

FOR TODAY as part of The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...
I can see new mulch.  Beauty to any gardener's eye.

I am thinking...
of how I'm slightly sore from loading and unloading a 16 foot flat bed trailer with mulch, twice.

I am thankful for...
free mulch from the city and a friend who shared her trailer and her muscle!

From the learning rooms...
a list of German-language books to read from our Swiss visitor.

From the kitchen...
bagels being toasted.

I am creating...
a rough draft of a story that I've daydreamed about for years.

I am going... to a doctors appointment for my 4 year old.  Can there be a worse timing for a downtown appointment than 4:15 p.m.?

I am reading... Bis Zum Morgengrauen
as soon as it comes.

I am hoping...
that I won't need a dictionary when I read the above. But I will.

I am hearing...
my two Littles playing with lego-built spaceships under my desk.

Around the house...
is a lot of unfolded laundry and dust.

One of my favorite things...
working with a shovel and hoe.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
we are trying to play tourist this week with our Swiss guest.

Here is my "picture for thought" ... Digging mulch can be family fun, right?

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Things That Threaten To Put A Dad Over The Edge

July 4, 2010 by Rieshy

Having to reconnect our Littles' car seats into the van is one of my husband's least favorite activities.  Especially when he's already spent all morning fixing things that the Littles have broken.  Let's just say that the 2 year old in particular has not mastered the concept of, "gently-does-it".

finding this.....

stuck between the van seats while connecting car seats is a bit much. This is a 5 inch bolt from the boys bunk beds.

Watch my poor husband sputter in an attempt to not throw a tantrum.  Which leads us to, "Why?"  Why would a small child pry a bolt out of their bunk bed and carry it outside only to lose it in the van seats?


Taxi-ing Teens and Feel Good Friday

July 2, 2010 by Rieshy
This week has flown by, it's Feel Good Friday time at The Girl Next Door Grows Up.  My 5 feel-goods seem to all involve my van, a 12 passenger van, in one way or another.  

  1. I started this week keeping extra gas in the van because our 4 year old was flirting with metabolic de-compensation and we had to be ready for the 45 minute drive to our hospital.  I'm ending the week with extra gas in the van because my son bounced back so quickly and so vigorously that my husband and I are planning on a date tonight. A real date: uninterrupted conversation, flirting with my love, and greek salad.  A week cannot end better than that.
  2. One night my teens met a bunch of people out at a friend's very dark pasture and played ultimate frisbee after dark with a glowing frisbee and glowstick necklaces and bracelets.  Between the pitch black darkness of the country, the glowing colors of the glowsticks, the amazing number of stars, and the fun of racing around like wild people they had an incredible time.
  3. I was driving and chatting with our Swiss exchange student. She commented that American mini-vans were much larger than European mini-vans.  I realized that she thought our 12 passenger van was a common example of an "American Mini-van".  I'm still getting a kick out of her thinking that anything about my family is a common example of... well, anything!
  4. In my "minivan" we picked up a full load of my daughters' friends and went to see Eclipse last night. Late.  My brain is still fuzzy, either from all the cinematic hormonal angst or because we didn't get home till well after midnight.
  5. The great thing about teens is that they introduce you to new people (which of course involves driving).  My son's girlfriend's mom is a someone I would have never met in a teen-less life.  She picked up a book of poetry while on vacation and gave it to me yesterday.  Picture Poems for Young Folks, by Marian Douglas (1872).  One of my favorites has the most amazingly wonderful title.  The title alone begs to be read aloud:
The Egotist Blossom

Waking the blossoms as it passed,
The summer wind went by;
A flax flower opened at its touch,
And looked up towards the sky.

"A royal thing am I," it said;
"Though earth my light receives,
The very firmament reflects
The color of my leaves!"

Ah, foolish little egotist!
When fell the evening dew,
It only bathed a flowerless stem,
And scattered leaves of blue!

But still, as calmly over all
Looked down the glorious sky,
As gayly whispering to the flowers,
The summer wind went by;-

As sweetly sang the joyous birds,
As fragrant was the air,
As brightly bloomed its sister flowers,
As if it had been there.

Have a wonderful weekend!