Wednesday, February 08, 2012

I love the soft sound of sleeping that greets me at home when I've been out. Gently breathing children, a purr from a cat or two, the groan of the dog as he settles back to sleep after giving me my arrival lick. Kissing foreheads in the moonlight, a grumbled hello and smile in my bedroom. Now, on to tea and a tub... All alone in my own silence.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Moonlight Over My Valley

A bright round light, ghostly white over the vale, ribbon reflecting upward, almost unreal.... A wonder. A painting. A fairytale. Seen from a moonlit nursery window, a taste of Peter Pan. Surrounded by flowered curtains, a taste of Spring in the depth of Winter.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Let there be light!

And she saw that it was good!

A little light on it.

We began our day yesterday tossing firewood.  Seriously.  Wood... from the back end of the truck, trying to put it in the wood pile at the edge of our property.  It was all round maple, so it rolled... and it had snowed over night, so I slipped across the truck bed... tossing the wood to the end of the truck bed, hoping I wouldn't spill over backwards, imagining landing in the pile of trash bags at the inside end of the bed.

As luck would have it, I survived, and we survived th unsanded, unplowed trip up Foster Hill Road toward Hardwick, and enjoyed a warm, delicious, filling breeakfast at the Hardwick Diner.  I know there are other options nowadays in Hardwick, but nothing is ever as satisfying as a plate full of offod made by someone who cares if you come back, and who knows your name.  Well, Colin's name.

We had a family trip to the hardware store.  (Well, four of the six of us, as it is the weekend).  We picked the stain color for the porch woodwork, the wood putty, a few more boards for a few last pieces of trim, and looked at doors.  Doors?  Yes, doors!  Eventually, maybe, we will replace the horrifying, tortured, remains of doors on the bedrooms in this house.  We've had a few changes of mind and heart about the subject, but yesterday's musings didn't bring us any closer to a decision.  Someone will have to just bring home a buttload of matching doors someday.  (Buttload being a technical term, of course).

But the amazing and satisfying piece of the day was... dun dun duhhhhh.... LIGHTS!  LIGHT LIGHTLIGHT!  Each bedroom that houses children NOW has on its ceiling a really and truly covered light fixture.  No more dangling lightbulbs. No more wires.  No more bases without glass.  No more rusty bases.  Just honest to goodness light fixtures.  AND we replaced that hideous lantern thing that greeted us as we came home every day.  Now... a simple black steel jar light.  Which, by the way, is bright enough (light bulb pointing down and all) to actually light the deck and door way. One little light!!  LET THERE BE LIGHT, Momma said, AND THERE WAS!

"That's good!  That's Reeeeeeal good," Big Momma said (Paraphrased from my favorite version of the creation story... Big Momma Makes the World, by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.  If you don't own it, you should, even if you're grown. Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Mass, 2002, my friends).

*disclaimer... I am inordinately attracted to light.  Although Colin was pleased by our work, he was not moved to tears as I was.  No huge life-vision changes resulted for Col as we turned on the power and saw the light... me... I am a whole NEW person.  But then, my first word was (wait for it...).... "LIGHT!"*

We also bought huge roles of coil for phone lines, and phone jacks, because we are indeed in the process of removing cordless phones.  As the research has amassed... DECT phones are out for us, but retro phones are in.  So, scour ye yardsales while ye may, and buy me some phones!  I have one all picked out on Amazon, but I keep hoping I will find the phone of my dreams in a thrift store.  *Mommy!  Hit up them estate sales!  Pushbutton corded phones!  In interesting colors, or not!  Princess phones, wall phones, desk phones... 60s, 80s, 50s... well... okay, probably post-rotary!*  Aidan has patiently horded his thrift store find of a Bart Simpson phone, awaiting a phone line in his room.  I am actually thinking we'll go for it.  We're running one to our current room and one to the Living room.  I'd also like one in each bedroom.  Buuuut, I also want ethernet jacks everywhere.  Because why, you ask?  Because as soon as we have ethernet cables running everywhere, NO ONE will use wifi in the house anymore.  Well... maybe.  But it turns out you can turn your wifi boxes down, and the research is far less damning for wifi than it is for digital phones.

We also made one major life decision.  OK, so it's not really major, but it is a question we have been living with for quite some time.  Wedding related?? No.... Last name decisions??... No... College? Career?? Life fulfillment?? Nope!! (Milo's new favorite word).

We.... picked a color for the kitchen!!!! YIPPEE.  And the hall!  And the trim!!  And the entry way! (well, okay... I made that choice, and I am just gonna do it one day in the spring). The kitchen and hall will be.... uh... I can't find the color strip.  However, it is the same color as the light wall in the living room.  WE decided to go for using that color as a continuous "neutral" throughout the whole house.  I found a kitchen on Pinterest that had the same celery-ish, pale chartreus-y color on it, and I realized This is it.  This has always been it! So, we have committed.  Colin must've taken the paint strips with him to work today.  And we are really really happy.  (And that color will mean you have to be happy!! Really!!)  And I will post my inspiration picture to FB, since I seem unable to do it here.

On more personal, less trite, news, Mr M is talking up a storm.  We heard a word with "ing" attached to it!  Flying!! Flying!! Butterflies flying, and cars flying... Indeed.  New words all the time, and often two words in a row.  And now he is patiently repeating himself, with a stronger and stronger voice, until we understand, especially when it is a new word.  Signs seem to work better than visuals or slow speech for him, and it is really satisfying to watch his brain speed ahead.

Ms. N has a new obsession with records (supplemented by Mommy's buying sprees at thrift stores.  Who can be 10cent vinyl??) and she is listening to a hippy dippy "players" version of Wizard of Oz, and an old library discard of Little House in the Big Woods over and over.  Next up?  I'm looking for filmstrips!  Keep your eyes peeled at library sales for records and filmstrips.  I will take them all!  We're going retro 'round here!

Miss S is trying out for a play called Who Killed Elvis, and is very excited about it.  But nervous, too, and sometimes her nerves get the better of her.  We'll be practicing a lot before this week's rehearsal.  In Burlington, she is playing basketball, and doing really really well.

Aidan blew them away as Grumio in his Language Arts cover of Taming of the Shrew.  HILARIOUS!  I'll post a video of that, too.

And now, alas and alack, I must be but a vision.  A fire, good Curtis, tis but a block of ice out there.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Cold night

You know those cheesy Christmas scenes all covered in glitter? Well, tonight that is what the world looks like here. Cold. And all the trees look dusted in glitter.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Object permanence

This was written last fall... and never finished... but I thought it better to publish than toss.

Must be fall.   Er, well, almost.

Yellow taints many of the tree leaves here, and the mornings are cold and damp, even when it reaches 80F by early afternoon.  Despite the warm weather onset of flies, I long for a wood fire in the furnace (a wood stove would be better), and the smell of woodsmoke in the air.  Sometimes, I get a whiff of it rolling down the valley from one of my neighbors.

And still, we swim and play outside and take walks and get hot, while the task list for the impending school year expands and multiplies and seems to explode all over my brain every time I get to thinking about it.

Yesterday, as I dug through piles of laundry, I began to think about our relationship to stuff.  I know that some of us are find it easy to ignore possessions, although most of us retain a thing or two that brings a state of nostalgia to our hearts.  And others of us hold on to things for some inexplicable reason.

As a child, I clearly remember thinking that all I owned had a spirit, a set of emotions, and that they keenly felt it when I left them out.  I obsessively kissed each of my dolls and stuffed animals the same number of times every night, not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings. Although this didn't transfer to books or clothes (much), I often felt overwhelmed by the sense that there were feelings floating in the air all around me, some animate, some inanimate, and that I was responsible for how whether those feelings were sour or sweet.  Seems crazy, now, when I think about it, but as a child it was completely logical.  If we are responsible for someone's feelings when we hurt them, we must be responsible for the feelings of everyone/everything around us, right?

Yet, I was barely old enough to be responsible for or understand my own emotions.

I must put forward the background note here, that I recognize that as an adopted infant it is likely I had some hypervigilance  and trauma-based senses at work here as well.  Attachment to objects beyond what is reasonable as a substitute for biological family... blah blah blah.

Yet as a society, we recognize object permanence as a stage of childhood development.  At some point we begin to recognize that if we hide a toy under a blanket, it will not go away.  As we age, we begin to recognize that if our beloved adult walks out the door to go to work, they are coming back.  Unfortunately, this sometimes burns us when our beloved doesn't return, but most usually, it is the beginning of trust as well as an understanding the objects do not cease to exist when we no longer keep our vigilant eye turned toward them.

But where does all this connect to the ideas of desire for objects, need for nostalgia, deep connection to things, the need to gather and hold and retain consumerist pieces of "stuff", come from?  Why do some of us feel responsible for our objects, rather than these objects holding some responsibility towards us?

I haven't been to Blogger in so long the format has completely changed.  *sigh*   Sometimes, you just get sidetracked.  But I decided the time had come to stop using the internet for mental masturbation, and to get to it, write write write.  Or something.

Post-New-Year-Winter always wears me to the edge of my nerves.  My bones feel raw and exposed.  My heart thumps irregularly. I feel expectant.  I feel restless.  I feel bored.  I feel... as if  spring will never ever come.  And this year's Farmer's Almanac is not helping.  Forecasting a cooler but drier spring here, and a colder and wetter spring and summer "back homes" (Up and Down State NY) have me wondering what it is I am expecting.  Rain?  Cold?

With Colin moving to a full time position at work, and one that has little to do in the summer, we are at least expecting he'll be able to be around a bit more come May.  And that will leave us time to work on the gardens, yard, and outbuildings.  This late winter restlessness always brings some summer planning.  Seed planting.  Thinking about baby chicks, piglets, lambs, and calves.  Who will join Solidarity Farm this summer?  Only time will tell.

And that is the hard part.

Despite all the planning... you can't actually DO anything.  My kids are little enough that even a real walk is unlikely.  By the time you have everyone loaded into snow clothes, someone is usually crying.  I feel this year that it is hard to remember what I must have done to lure the big kids outside when they were toddlers and preschoolers.  To avoid going completely insane, I have done something I never thought I would do... I bought exercise equipment.  I hop on, looking like a crazed middle aged housewife, albeit playing punk or funk or ska, and "walk" until I can barely breathe.  I am hoping for some serious toning by spring.  Er, at least, by wedding day.

As the bones of the trees sit, expectantly, seemingly covered in nerves themselves, waiting for buds and blooms and sugar, I also realize some of this year's angst comes from the loss of two young friends, one barely in her 30s, and one 29 and a father of a 7 year old, who couldn't see through the post-Solstice fog to make it another day.  One death is shocking.  Two is horrifying.  To have been dorm mother to both of them feels like failing... and makes it terrifying to parent the glowing, but growing into adulthood, children in my home who have yet to face the depth of winter as a sad post adolescent.  I worry.  I fret.  I feel those nerves.  I see them reflected in the upside-down lung patterns of the trees.

The sun is brilliant today, despite the cold.  Sunny summer bright.  The kind that promises the warmth of wet soil and lake swimming. There is the promise of tomatoes and lettuce, spicy nasturtiums and mustard greens, kale and spinach, green beans and peas.  Purple carrots.  Summer squash.  Growth in my mouth.  Earth in my belly.  Dirt on my toes.

That is a promise I am holding this sun to, cooler than normal temps or not.  We're going to shake off the raw nerves and eat right from the vine.  Me and Sun and are going to dance across the water, the sand, up the hill and into the cool woods, sugar snow on my tongue and fire in my veins.  I won't need to listen to the weird, pneumatic pumping of my walking machine... I will run in the sweet grass and eat violets scattered across my lawn.  And I will shock these nerves into soothing cold spring waterfalls... and then bathe it every day in the lake.  We'll numb our minds and hearts to the difficulty of January.  We'll feel our feet firmly planted in the earth...

Oh... and today has seemed full of babies about to be born, babies just born, babies here to remind us that the world goes on, and love really truly just grows.  And in my house, puppets and records and little children spin, and I wait... for my big kids to fill my arms one more time before they are off on their adventures for the weekend, and I will lift my pen again.  To put shape and meaning and forward thought to this crazy winter business.