Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Running Away: What to Pack

When I drove in from work the other day, it was pouring buckets of rain and about 40 degrees. Absolutely dismal. Sylvan came out, dressed in his rain coat, with a backpack and a grumpy face on.

[Picture the following conversation happening in the pouring rain, while I juggle my 3 bags.]
Sylvan: I'm running away.
Mama: Why?
Sylvan: Because it's raining [SUPER grumpy].
Mama: Really? But you'd have to be outside in the rain for a really long time until you got to somewhere sunny.
Sylvan: I don't care.
Mama: [Drip down my neck. Rain plastering my hair to my face.] Well, I just got home from work and it's really wet out here. Can you spend a little time inside with me and we can cuddle?
Sylvan: [Big sigh.] O.K.
The running away was forgotten for the rest of the evening. Until, after everyone was tucked in, when we looked inside Sylvan's backpack. These are the things he determined to be essential items.

For reading material:
A Alligators All Around (Sendak), in the nutshell library version that used to be my brother's. And the Sweet Dream Cards that have beautiful images and a little poem on the reverse of each one.
also pictured above: candy cane, wind-up flashlight, Chewy Granola bar,
(barely visible, lower right) travel pack of tissues
Above: Star Wars Lego instruction booklet (strangely, no Legos though)
and the picture of Sylvan and Ginger the pony

Things to cuddle:
Ducky and Hedgie.
Also some things that represent Sylvan's fondness for babies and babyhood, not to mention the little gnome pillow filled with lavender, at the back:
Two long-sleeved shirts, one pair of sporty shorts, two pairs long pants, three pairs underpants, one pair clean socks. (Not pictured: one pair dirty socks.)
I did ask Sylvan's permission to post this, since it seemed rather personal. He said yes, after I persuaded him that other children might like to know what to bring along with them when they prepare to run away. Please also note that Sylvan packed his light saber, ready for anything.
Finally, I have recently relinquished interest in the struggle to manage my other son's pre-teen personal hygiene habits. I am not thinking of it so much as losing the battle (or war) but rather taking a kind of civil disobedience approach, kind of a love approach. Do we really need to argue every week about when to take a shower? Do I really want my son to grow up feeling scrutinized by me, so that he doesn't like to smile because I might notice his teeth are dirty?! Goodness, how have I lost my way like this? The peaceful and loving way is for me to see how beautiful he is all the time, how I adore the sound of his giggle, and how I love him clean, dirty, with fluffy, flowing locks of hair or long, greasy strings. Someday, other moms tell me, it will be all I can do to get him OUT of the shower! (And he gave his permission for me to post this.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Hen in Knitwear

pizza from last night's dinner
There is a line, and I have clearly crossed it. In the continuing saga with our hen Puffkins, I noticed yesterday that she seemed to be pecking at herself, at her own sore, recently-scabbed wing areas. She kept to herself quite a bit yesterday, during her first outing from the box in the kitchen in a few days. She would wander over to the house sometimes, I guess looking for an invitation back inside. When I returned from my walk, she came right over, let me pet her, and when I sat down on the grass, she sat right down next to me. Super sweet, right?
Puffkins in her box
Being an inventive problem-solver, I wondered what I had around the house that would stop her from preening/picking back there so that her wounds could really heal. Something like those cones that dogs get to stop them from worrying sore spots. Except that wouldn't work because chickens have these crazy reptilian necks that go in and out. I realized that Sylvan's neckwarmer would be just the thing: A chicken cozy!
Her expression says so much, for one whose brain is about the size of a nickel. Or maybe she was contemplating the taste of the shiny camera.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

First, the Beautiful

March, where have you gone? How did I fall off the blogosphere? A few things have been at work to keep me from blogging. First, there was March. I mean March in Maine is one ugly ugly time of year. So I have shielded your tender eyes from that because, no doubt, wherever you are living must look better than this.
the Two Friends square:
two strands of yarn, each representing a friend
Second, we have been dealing with the death of a car and the complications that ensue from that. Lots of research, list-making, pros/cons, and a little bit of fear as we went into the car-buying process. (Can we really swing these payments?! Yikes.)

Third, school has been keeping me very busy. I have had some frustrations with misinterpreting assignments in a particular class. Which is especially hard for perfectionist me, since I am used to "getting" things pretty quickly; so this is a good moment to find compassion for myself. Sigh.
Mr. and Mrs. E.:
Green square is the Mister, since it's a pattern I used for his vest
Rainbow square is for the Missus, the Rainbow Goddess

So. What have I been doing lately? I've been knitting squares for a Knit-a-Thon to benefit The Ashwood Waldorf School, where my kids attend and my husband teaches. I will have completed 7 squares of 8" by the end of this week (the deadline). It's been a really fun way to use up little bits and balls of yarn and try out some new stitch patterns.

And I have been needle-felting some little spring friends out of some hot pink curly mohair locks that I dyed a while back. They have such a sweet mohair halo. I figured, what's to stop me from making some hot pink bunnies and chicks? Since Peeps now come in hot pink, I figured, why not?
And the other thing is that the rooster pictured above, oh so handsome, but also oh so rough with our hens, prompted us to move one of our girls into a box in the kitchen. She had significant and deep wounds behind her wings, poor thing. So we brought her in, applied some salve, played her some classical music all day, and kept her fed and quiet (and scooped out her poop and changed her water, etc.).
If you refer back to the photo of the rooster, it's a bit of a coincidence, really, that the photo was cropped in a certain way. This too is in our future, since we can't have a rooster who is this rough with our special girls. (Especially this one, my favorite Buff Cochin: Puffkins aka Madeline aka Puffy Combs).

So. Wish us luck with THAT particular adventure, and more to come soon! I have missed the blog! Happy Spring!

Monday, March 8, 2010

a busy day of owls and skiing

If you listen carefully, you can hear the announcer saying his time at the end of the run! Turn up your sound!

This Saturday was perhaps the last day of skiing at our local ski mountain. It was the culminating parade of Zoomers, the junior racers, who were decked out in their colorful finery and tooting horns. (No pictures, I didn't think I had the camera...but I really DID. I just didn't know it.)
After the parade: a family fun race, in honor of Sally Deaver (an Olympic skier whose parents left a trust to the Ragged Mountain Ski Club!). Sadly, Mom failed in procuring a "low bib number" (which, if you are a librarian means something entirely different than if you are a ski racer), so Sylvan's number was 78. He spent a lot of time in line up top, tossing snowballs at other boys while he waited for his number to come up.
Barred Owl

Saw Whet Owl
Following a beautiful morning of warm sunshine and skiing, we hustled over to the Owl Birthday Party. The birthday girl wanted to be seated on Jonas's lap during the owl presentation by Kate of the Chewonki Foundation. In a word: Cute.

We hear recordings of owl calls, we heard about what they eat (and what eats them), how they got injured and ended up at Chewonki, etc. Owls are put together so amazingly! Do you know that their ears are located at different levels on their head? One is higher than the other so they can echolocate with precision!
This sweet dress was sitting ever-so attentively in front of us. I am a sucker for these girly dresses! It was a full and lovely day and I came home with a little sun on my cheeks.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

When Multitasking Makes You A Jerk

Guess WHOOOOOOO's turning 5?
The theme of the party is owls, her favorite bird!

Sometimes I am just so darn efficient. Yesterday, upon returning home with just one boy (the other two were having dinner elsewhere), I was juggling several things: the mail, my multiple bags, etc. The Little Magpie spotted something I would have put in the recycling right away: a Sesame Street activity pack promotional thing, lots of bright glossy pictures, Elmo, etc. He hopped right into a chair to examine "his" mail, while I got started on dinner.
she and Syvan correspond, so this seemed perfect

Are you able to spell with accuracy while sauteeing vegetables for soup, make a wholesome and attractive meal, set a beautiful table, manage an unbelievably splitting headache, and balance a cold pack on your head while doing the former? I was not only spelling out the words and numbers of our address, somewhat distractedly, but also providing visual reminders of what certain letters look like. ("D is like a straight line with a half moon attached to it...W is like an upside down mountain...") This is the type of spelling bee that would get really interesting and I am sure that many mothers would excel at! (I am sorry dads, but we do know that you are not that great at multitasking but really rock at hunting wooly mammoths and playing basketball.)

she is also a button-collector,
so here is a nice vintage one that looks like an owl's eye

Later, it came to our attention that Sylvan was writing his address, name, and phone number down so he could stuff it into an envelope to reply: "YES! Please send me the Sesame Street Activity pack for $3.50 and sell my name to lots of other companies so we will receive a lot more junk mail!!!!" (Oh, junk is in the eye of the beholder, I know.)

a pattern from my birthday gift from Poppie,
Amanda Blake Soule's A Handmade Home

It was so adorable to see his enthusiasm and diligence at all that writing, and his absolute certainty that the $3.50 would be worth it. And I had totally missed all this while it was happening only a few feet away from me, because I was so intent on my pain and my plan for the meal and the evening.
interior fabric so fun, like buttons,
from (where else?) Alewives Fabrics!

I am not beating myself up about it because there are so many many many moments like these, that I am sure I will catch the next one, and maybe miss the two after that, and hopefully catch some more in the future. (Michael Chabon, oh, another geeky librarian crush, writes of this phenomenon in his latest book, Manhood for Amateurs). Was dinner that important that I couldn't stop for 5 minutes? Was my headache so awful that I couldn't show some interest in Sylvan's agenda? Actually, it really was, but still.
looks as though he's in a stiff wind
And because I do have a FEW male readers, though I suspect they are all related to me, I will mix this post up with some pics of our own Chia Obama! Picture me singing this song (just the first part of the video) to the words of "chiOBAAAAAMA" when I greet our president each morning.
I was not the one responsible for the above,
I will have you know
a little male-pattern baldness
and look at how that ear hair is coming in!