Archive for August, 2012

In which she praises “staycationing.”

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

It’s a horrible neologism, but I’m loving the concept. I’m smack in the middle of nine straight days off work. Look, I made this:

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It’s a child’s T-shirt (made by the underpaid garment workers of Old Navy), decorated with the help of my trusty digital cutter & my iron. The tree trunk is a freezer-paper stencil, the leaves & deer are flocked iron-ons – drawn with the drawing program on my iPad, cut with the digital cutter. The deer is heavily based on an image from the endpapers of a children’s poetry book I had as a child, still floating around just barely in one piece. I wouldn’t sell something that closely based on another artist’s image (unless it’s from pre-1923; then all bets are off), but I will happily use it for gifts. Which this is. I made three, actually – one for the Bean, one each for two little girls who turn five this summer and fall, and whom I regard as extended family. (more…)

In which she reflects upon her daughter at age 2 and 3/4.

Monday, August 13th, 2012

The Bean is rapidly closing in on 3. Right now, as I type, we’re deep into the bedtime routine. I’m monotonously singing her old, many-versed folksongs and lullabies, and she’s having lengthy conversations with the animals in bed with her – tonight, a stuffed baby doll and a white cat. (We’ve been talking a lot with Zag about who is and is not the dog handler, with respect to training the puppy. The Bean just told me, “I am the cat handler.”) Or she’s quietly singing her own song selections: the Imperial March, various Hallelujahs, a sort of chant of “Dance, Dance, Revolution,” and other songs all her own. She is quite Frances-like in her habit of making up little songs of things – it’s delightful in the daytime, less so when the endgame is to get her to sleep and successfully extract the adult from her bedroom.

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In which she muses on change.

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

We’ve had lovely cool weather the past few days – very Septemberish, not August-ish at all. Downright chilly when we first wake up, crisp by mid-morning, warm verging to hot at the afternoon peak but easing off again quickly to a pleasant evening. I’ve been dressing myself in jeans, and digging out a few items from the Bean’s fall wardrobe to dress her warmly enough for the mornings.

As recently as two weeks ago – late July? – I was still counting up how many weeks of summer were left to us, reassuring myself that there was still a solid month and more before school starts and I return to my full workweek and we fold up summer and put it away for next year. And now we get this little foretaste of fall and – it tastes good. I kind of want more. I love jeans and apples and sleeping under blankets and cool mornings. There are things to anticipate and appreciate about sending G back to school in a few weeks. The end of summer no longer feels dreadful.

I’ve long been fascinated by the slow alchemy of emotions. The way, so often, we’re ready for things by the time they come around. The end of a vacation. A change in season. The end of a school year, even a great one. Weaning my children – I never thought I’d be ready, and then I was, gracefully and gratefully, with only a few tears. Accepting that our old dog is, in fact, old – I fought off that idea for a couple of years and now, well, there she is, our creaky old lady. Letting my little kid begin to become a big kid, and my baby begin to become a little kid.

Not everything works like this, of course. But the kinds of changes and losses that are somehow within the scope of normal human existence, of an essentially happy and blessed life… so often, seen on the horizon, they seem a great and threatening shadow, darkening the whole landscape; but as you approach it becomes clear that all that was only a trick of perspective and light. The looming shadow turns human-scale and ordinary, a kind-faced stranger or even a friend, and you greet in passing and walk on.

In which she forms a new resolve.

Monday, August 6th, 2012

I woke up sometime in the wee hours of last night needing – well, needing to wee, as it happens. And quite out of the blue, during the course of that four or five minutes of consciousness, I thought, I should start blogging again. It was hard for a while because I didn’t really have a computer at home after my old laptop became crippled, but now I have a lovely little Macbook that frequently comes home with me and is easy and pleasing to pop open and use. And life is rich and full and lovely and challenging, and blogging was good because it encouraged me to record and reflect on some of the best and most important moments, and to actually finish my thoughts, sometimes.

As my head hit the pillow I thought, OK, if I actually have this thought again when I’m really awake, maybe I’ll actually do it. Maybe I’ll resurrect my blog and start trying to toss off an entry somewhat regularly again. And then I went back to sleep.

Well, I had the thought again by daylight, so here I am.

I make no promises. I could add a reminder to my reminder app on my iPhone – Blog! it would tell me, insistently, once a week or so – but I already have too many of those reminders; my phone runs my life and don’t think there isn’t some resentment there. So: no reminders, just an intention. We’ll see where it leads. But I’d like to try.

If anyone’s still reading, hi.