Saturday, December 31, 2011

Say yes

That's my resolution for 2012, and I'm starting early, today in fact.  I know we're all supposed to resolve to do less, take better care of ourselves, lose weight and the rest; and I've got my list of those types of things too, for sure.  But for Liam and me what I really want is to make space in my head, and my heart, and within my responsibilities to say yes a lot more.

Yes, you can go outside and scrape the car at 8:15 on Saturday morning even though we're not going anywhere. . .just because you want to, and there's no reason, really, to say no.  Yes, I will go with you.  Yes, you can feed the birds. . .stir the worms. . .play your music loud. . .leave the couch cushions like that overnight. . .peel the carrots. . .unpack the dishwasher. . .fold the towels all by yourself. . .put the laundry in the dryer even though it takes 100+ years. . .pour the water. . .watch Dinosaur Train on TV while we eat dinner in the living room (every once in a while).  Yes, I will crawl up to the top bunk and read you a story even though you refuse to sleep up there and I wouldn't let you anyway because every night at 1:00 AM you still crawl into my bed and there's no way I think you could safely navigate the ladder while half asleep.  

Yes, I will look. . .listen. . .watch. . ..  Yes, I will play "go fish," again. 


What will you say yes to this year?


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Christmas

Well, I didn't intend to be gone for so long.  We had a lovely Christmas; made better because I decided to just say no to a big complicated dinner and made two soups, two salads, and a bunch of things to snack on instead.  Perfect.  We will definitely do that again.

Before Christmas (and before a quick trip to California to see Auntie Chris graduate, more on that later) we made yule logs for all our neighbors.  It was quite a process but we enjoyed every step.  Here's how it went.  First we went out to the vegan's house where he very kindly cut the logs and drilled the candle holes for us and let us gather cedar and hemlock and even wild holly in his woods. 


Then we cut the greens and stapled them to the logs.  Liam unwrapped the candles and put them in the logs.  We made tags and got them organized. Then we delivered them.  I am amazed at how much people like these.  This is something I remember from my childhood, my sister and I used to deliver them to all the neighbors in a wagon.  We will definitely do this again too.

I hope all visitors to this space find themselves surrounded by love and light during the holidays and always.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Conscientious Objector

I shall die, but
that is all that I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall;
I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.
He is in haste; he has business in Cuba,
business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle
while he clinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself:
I will not give him a leg up.

Though he flick my shoulders with his whip,
I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where
the black boy hides in the swamp.
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death;
I am not on his pay-roll.

I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends
nor of my enemies either.
Though he promise me much,
I will not map him the route to any man's door.
Am I a spy in the land of the living,
that I should deliver men to Death?
Brother, the password and the plans of our city
are safe with me; never through me Shall you be overcome. 

Do students still learn this Millay poem in school?  

It has been ringing in my head lately, a poem that Will always reminded me of, in a way; his refusal to aid or acquiesce in any way to his fate or to even buy in to the idea that what would come might come soon.  He was always steady as he went, always thought the next day or so would bring a new plateau, some new kind of stability, stabilizing treatment, a new routine, and we'd go from there, make that world as big as possible.  Steady.

Although not in the intended meaning, to me this poem always has a little bit of a "live every day for the living" flavor to it.  The idea that you could be a spy in the land of the living by serving death in any way, including by not living your own life.  And there is a little bit of the cheating death altogether idea to it, too, for me.  At any rate, I can't explain exactly how Will reminded me of it, and perhaps it makes no good sense to anyone except me, since those meanings are certainly not born out by the poem's context.  But it's a useful poem, I think, all-the-same, and topical these days, and I've been thinking of it, so here it is.  Never through me shall you be overcome

We miss him deeply today.  One year on, and forward into the next because, after all, what else is there but forward.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


It can be odd to parent an anxious child.  I resist orientation towards labels, but I know what the counselor has said, and I see the obsessive wanting to know, know, know exactly what will happen next in Liam.  I hope he'll grow away from it, or learn to manage it better.  At any rate.

Yesterday we were reading a book about a kitten which was "small and fluffy and had an air of confidence about it."

I said: Liam, when do you have an air of confidence?

What's confidence?

When you're not worried at all because you know you can do it.

(Voice full of wonder and incredulity) Never.

(Trying to redirect) Well, I think sometimes you do, like when you put on your shoes, or when you draw pictures.  And, if you haven't felt that way too much yet, you will more soon, as you get older and learn more things.

I haven't felt that way yet.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Good bye to Mollie the dog


I feel so sad writing this -- we've given Mollie to a new family.

When I first met Will I remember being surprised, and relieved, to learn he had a dog.  I remember thinking, okay, this shows he knows how to love something and take care of it.  Good.  And he did love Mollie.  And when he was well he took her everywhere and walked her all over the place.  She is a crazy smart dog, knows hand signals, whistle signals, can "ye" and "haw" like she actually might heard sheep.  But she was just too much for me.  Without walking she goes crazy -- digs enormous holes in the yard, tracks dirt everywhere; can't stay inside because she just paces and whines; can't be outside because she refuses to go into the dog house Will built her.  I can't walk her and Liam at the same time because he dawdles and she pulls on the leash and races around and knocks him down.  I'm gone all day at work.  I believe a new home to be best for her, and I know it's best for us.

I hope and pray I didn't promise Will I would keep Mollie forever.  I can't remember. 

The person who owns the kennel Mollie sometimes stays at know someone who does dog rescue and she found the new family for Mollie.  A big fenced yard; dog door; daily walking routine.  We met in the rain up at the elementary school.  Mollie was leery at first but I had brought dog treats and the leash and the tennis ball. So they walked her; gave her treats; tossed her the tennis ball.  I gave her a scratch behind the ears and told her we loved her, and she jumped in the car without a backwards glance.

Liam is doing fine, as far as I can tell.  Maybe he's suppressing it.  We talked about how Mollie needed a house with a big yard and a family that could walk her every day.  He cried a little, but also thought that Mollie should have a big yard.  Then I explained (on the advise of his counselor, since I never would have thought of this myself) that if we didn't have a dog to take care of maybe we could get him a small pet of his own, like a fish.  He helped pack up her stuff.  While I was introducing Mollie to her new family he and the babysitter made her a card "Dear Mollie -- I hope you have fun in your new home; I will miss you but I will get a pet fish. Love Liam."

Today I got an email from Mollie's new person. She took Mollie on her "daily 3-mile walk" and Mollie "did great on the regular leash and could have gone 3-miles more."   Thank you.

Lantern Walk

I go outside with my lantern my lantern goes with me,
Above the stars are shining, here on earth shine we,
So shine your light  through the still dark night,
La bimma la bamma la boom boom boom
‘neath heavens dome, till we go home,
la bimma  la bamma la boom boom boom.

Lantern walk at Liam's little school begins with a story inside and ends with a fire in the back yard.  In between the children and their people walk to neighbors house and sing songs to brighten the dark night and remind neighbors to warm one another through the long winter.

There are 11 children.  If I'm very lucky he can stay here through the second grade.

A big moon brightened the lantern walk tonight and even though the west wind brought cold and rain all day we had a break from the weather that lasted just long enough.  Perfect.

*Edited to reload video

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Two boys

Liam is making friends with the boy across the street.  It is so very sweet.  On Friday afternoon they made the pizza dough.  This is them measuring flour into smaller bowls to dump into the big bowl.  Important to have many and equal jobs when doing projects with 4-year olds.

Monday, October 31, 2011


The little owl had a good Halloween.  Small parade at school -- lovely.  Then a walk up and and down our street with the neighbors (cat and falcon).  I'll post on making the costume some time in the next week, it's a keeper.  Thank you to GoGo and Grandpa for walking around with Liam and me and to GG and Grandma for staying home and handing out candy and cleaning up the kitchen!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stand back . . . pumpkins are being carved

Pizza Friday and pumpkin carving.  Pretty fun.  Three pumpkins down and hopefully no more to go, although Liam has his eye on one of the gourds decorating the porch.

Tonight Liam said to me "Oh Mommy! Thank you, thank you for this pizza.  It is double not yucky."  Double not yucky.  Umm, thanks, I think.  (For some reason this reminds me of Sidney Morgenbesser -- whose name I just had to look up -- and the joke/story about the linguistics lecturer and how in English (Or was it all languages?) a double negative is a positive, but there is no such thing as a double positive meaning the negative; punchline: yeah, right.)  

Photos of the finished pumpkins to follow.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I think I've done more sewing in the past week or so. . .than in months, years maybe.  Cat and mouse masks, owl costume work, and now this felt birthday crown for Liam's school. . ..  So nice to have the office/guest/sewing/spare room torn apart with fabric and pins allover and the sewing machine out. 

I do love to make things.  The crown pattern is from here, of course.  In the Creative Family book.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cat and Mouse

Liam has been struggling lately, again.  Talking a lot about Will's death; easy to anger; clingy and difficult.  Not sleeping as well.  Acting out.  The babysitter is about at the end of her rope and God help us if she quits. 

Two steps forward one step back, that's what someone reminded me on Friday.  Never straight ahead.

But I do see it, sometimes, little parts of his future.  He fell* and cut his ear badly today.  Blood everywhere and one look tells me it needs stitches.  So off we go to urgent care.  And he can pull it together.  Can listen, can understand what is going to happen, can trust.  When he said "I will hold still, please don't wrap me in the blanket," I said, "Don't wrap him, he will hold still."  And he did.  Sank deeper into my lap, took some deep breaths, stopped crying and whining, and sat still for at least 5 minutes while I sang quiet songs in his good ear and showed him pictures on my phone.  Turns out they could glue his ear back together instead of stitching it, which I think hurt less, but required the doctor to hold the two edges of the cut together (firmly) while the glue set.

By all accounts so far he will be fine.  No permanent damage.  He now thinks it's hilarious that his ear was fixed with glue; although he still doesn't want to talk about how he hurt it. 

We came home, watched some TV, made pumpkin bread, made the jam, and finished sewing our cat and mouse presents for the little boy across the street's birthday party tomorrow.  They are a total rip off from here and I will make these again; now that I've got a template cut and worked through it a few times they will come together quickly.   Worked a little on his owl costume for Halloween.  Stay home day but for our one unexpected excursion.

He feels fragile to me these days, but I know he is strong; little, still very little, but strong.

*He fell while jumping from one couch to the other (which he knows he is not supposed to do) while I was outside for less than 2 minutes getting a box of plums from the car to make jam.  I heard the crash as I walked up the porch stairs, but still can't quite figure out what he cut himself on.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Advances in CF drug therapy

Hello Universe -- I respectfully ask that you give a little power and attention to this; Gods and Goddesses please guide and inspire the scientists and researchers, help these medications to work -- really work -- and get them to the people who need them quickly and at a cost normal working humans can afford.

First drug ever, as far as I know, to treat the underlying salt transport problem that causes CF to be so deadly goes to the FDA with a request for accelerated review and approval this week.  Thank you God for letting it get this far.  It's a start, it's a start, it's a start.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Liam tells me a story

After dinner Liam asked if he could play "lost kitten."  When I had asked him earlier today what he had played at school he told me "lost kitten" so I had been wondering about the game.  "Sure," I said.  Here's how it went.

Liam crawls around on the couch mewing; and speaking "Mommy...looooook....loooook...a little lost kitten, it's a lost kitten."  More mewing and the kitten crawls into my lap so I can pet it and Liam tells me it's story.  
Mommy, this kitten, this kitten, see, its owner has died.  He died.  The owner had a big, big sickness and after a while the sickness got so big that his body totally stopped working and he died.  But while he still had a big, big sickness, but before he died, he let the kitten outside and the kitten got lost.  And when the kitten came back he looked for the owner all around the world and he looked everywhere in the whole universe, and he came home and looked everywhere and everywhere all around the house, and all around the yard, and all around everywhere, again and again, but no owner.  So the kitten sat down and said 'hmmm' and 'think, think, think' and on the last think the kitten said, 'oh, I know, I think my da . . .my owner. . .has died.'  And now, Mommy, this kitten has come to live with you.  What do you think?
Then Liam said "Mommy, I'm really talking about Daddy, you know.  Even though it was a long, long time ago I still remember snuggling with Daddy on his hospital bed, when his hospital bed was right there, next to the tv cabinet, where the blue chair is.  I remember that."

Yes, small one, I remember that too.  Your Daddy loved to snuggle with you and talk with you and read you stories more than anything, and we can always remember exactly what that was like.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Birthday Girls

We are so blessed and lucky to have these two women in our lives.  Happy Birthday Grandma.  Happy Birthday GG.  Thanks for everything you do for us; I hope you both have great years ahead.

Here they are both looking at Liam doing (yet another) inappropriate thing at the table.


A note on the cakes: cake #1 is from here.  These recipies are always so perfect; every instruction is easy to understand, all questions answered, and they always work out just right.  Cake #2 is from here.  Also very easy to follow and who can resist something called Southern Strawberry Cake.  The frosting roses were made by a local bakery and frozen on waxed paper for me to take home.  At less than $5 for all these roses I think it may be the last good deal left on the planet.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pizza Friday, Cashew Cheese, and Birthday Saturday

Pizza Friday -- again.  I have to say that compared to when we first (re)instituted pizza Friday we are much better at it.  Practice does improve things.  We generally get the pizza on the table by 6:00 (or earlier), and the kitchen is not destroyed at the end any more.  One thing that helps is I curb the ambition.  Liam prefers just cheese anyway (he also likes prosciutto, but we generally at least make the effort to eat veg when the vegan is in the house for dinner).  Mushrooms and olives work for the rest of us.  Fresh basil if it is around.  Garlic.  Pizza sauce from a jar.  It comes together quickly.  One must make the dough the morning of, or the night before, or buy it (unfrozen) at the store.  No messing around with dough making with the job is to get the pizza to the eaters.

The vegan makes cashew nut "cheese" which is so much better than it sounds, it really, really is. Also completely and totally healthy.  You should try it.

Gather up about 1 cup raw cashews (Raw; not roasted, not salted; this is an excuse to visit the food co-op in your town.), 1 cup water, 1-2 tablespoons food yeast (Another trip to the co-op!), 1/4 cup or a little bit more lemon juice, about 1/3 cup onion chopped fine, and a clove or two of garlic.  Put it all in a blender or a food processor.  Mix it up until it is really smooth.  As you mix, add enough more water so it will sort of pour out, like a thick sauce.  You don't want it too gloppy.  Sometimes basil is added.  That's it.  Spoon or drip it over your pizza and bake away as normal.  Don't use too much -- it's not real cheese for Pete's sake.  Liam's job is always to squeeze the lemons for the lemon juice. Let me know if you try this and what you think.  It also gets used on bean and rice "haystacks" around here.  Very versatile, that cashew nut cheese.

Now that pizza Friday is put away, I am deep in preparations for Birthday Saturday.  All four of Liam's grandparents have birthdays within about 8 weeks of each other.  End of September, mid-October, and then two early/mid-November.  And then we rest.  No, actually, we make Thanksgiving, but whatever.  This year we're combining the grandmothers' birthdays.  This means, because I am crazy, two homemade birthday cakes and three kinds of lasagna.  Yes.  I thought about it carefully and that's what I decided to do.   A progress report: two lasagnas are made and the fillings for the third are made but the sauce is not made and it is not assembled.  One cake is made but it is not frosted and the (Two!) kinds of frosting are not made.  The other cake is not started.  But, I have almost all the ingredients and with a quick trip to the store in the AM, I think I can bust it out.  Photos to follow, I hope.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


The days fly.  Work.  Work is so busy right now, grinding me down with long hours and travel.  Liam.  He is moving through many transitions -- potty training (Done!), pre-school (I am so blessed and lucky to have him in his little school.), new babysitter (Because preschool schedules are apparently written for the independently wealthy, 9-2 anyone?).

We find our way.  Where do I give today and where do I take.  Where do I go fast and where do I hang on to slow.  Can I turn over the right leaf, see what is barely hidden, almost in plain site.  On the last hot sunny Wednesday morning of the season do I really have to work, or can I sit on the porch with the sun on my face and just talk.  Cook a slow lunch before I go get Liam at school.  Uncovering, if I am lucky, a little more of myself every day. And today, in the deep forest, far up the steep hill, in the mist and rain, mushrooms.

I am trying to look at the face what will be undoubtedly be a rough few months.  The anniversary of the day Will went into the hospital for the last time; came home for the last time; after that.  And then, into the second year; no more days of "the last . . .whatever it is. . .Will was alive."  We make our way ahead -- forward, choosing the best of what is all around us.  So, belated autumn blessings and welcome fall rains that bring returning salmon, early nights, and mushrooms.  I will try to be in this space more often.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Our Saturdays

Saturday is "stay home day" at our house.  Which means no day care, no going to work for me, we get to stay home.  Except sometimes we go out -- today to the Harbor fest to tour the tug boats and eat ice cream for lunch.  Followed by a bus ride up the hill and mac and cheese for our second lunch.  (Mommy! A backwards lunch!)

This is what it looks like. Breakfast on the porch.  Walks into town.  Lunch on the table.  Many loads of laundry. Art supplies and trains everywhere.  Sticks and pine cones from the yard.  Stay home day.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Early bedtime

Liam fell asleep on my lap tonight during downstairs snack/story time, our nightly wind down before wash up, teeth, PJs, upstairs story and bed. 

He had a changeable day.  Started off even; went way south when the babysitter arrived at 8:30 and I went upstairs to work (deep sobbing; had to be pried off me), stuck there for a while.  But by 11:00, after checking in with me for a try at the potty, he was even again, "I love you Mommy --sniff-- see you in an hour."  As good as it ever gets. 

He has been struggling so hard lately; I see the worry, I see the fear, I see him trying and then getting lost.  And when you ask him, after a while, he usually can tell you: I'm afraid mommy will never come back; I'm afraid mommy will die; I'm afraid I will die. 

He is trying so mightily to be toilet trained so he can go to preschool; but, is so concerned about the change.  In the very quiet voice "Mommy--it is a new school, I might cry; What if I cry?" Leaving aside that he still cries every single day when I leave him at the "school" where he's been going for over two years.  Regressing.  Calling me mama again for the first time in over a year. 

He will come out of it, of course.  He is learning various tricks to use when his mind and body start to run away from him; just little things he can say in his head to push pause, help him regroup.  And he is getting good at it; buying in.  ("Mommy--I was mistaken, I thought I was too sad to use my trick today, but then I tried and it worked; Mommy? it worked.")  He is so exhausted.

I am that person.  The one he cries, not to leave.  The one he clings to.  The one who, when I sit still enough, lets him know it is safe to fall asleep. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This is what happens when you throw your shoes in the pool

You have to dry them with the hairdryer or else you cannot go on the steam train excursion planned for later in the morning.  (Thank you GoGo! He had a great time.)

Liam was pretending that things were fireworks this morning and throwing them around; I said, please take that outside, fireworks are not for inside.  And, before I knew it, the kiddy pool was full of plastic animals and shoes.  Liam does not have a lot of pairs of shoes, and really only one that are closed.  We haven't found any sneakers he likes; these little Land's End shoes are his favorite, so when they got wet, he had to fix the problem.

Shoes in the pool.  I haven no idea what he was thinking.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


There are still some things in the closet that I haven't worn since Will died;I brought one out yesterday.  This keeping track, I guess, is one of my ways of remembering.  The day (finally) I changed the sheets on Will's bed.  The day I (finally) washed the last tee-shirt that smelled exactly like he used to smell.  The last time we cooked outside, ate ravioli, picked blueberries, ran through the sprinkler, drove this way in the car, I'll think, Will was alive.

The driving ambushes me the worst; there have been times, usually on longer drives when I'm by myself, that I'll just stop the car and pull to the side of the road and tear and stare and concentrate on breathing and wonder: how did I do all that; how can we go on.  Watch the sky.

It is his birthday this weekend.  He would have been 43.  Same as me in December.    

Sunday, August 7, 2011

It's been a long time

Summer, or what we're going to get of it this year.  Sun some days.  The garden.  Very busy at work.  Trying to get Liam out more to practice being with other children.  (He is doing better at this; he did eventually try out this fountain and loved it.)  Potty training (for Liam), he must learn by fall, it's required for his new school. 

Family visits and more to come, which we are looking forward to.

One successful canning project (strawberry jam) complete; a second total failure (apricot butter which failed to set and is good for nothing but pancake syrup for people who really like apricots) also done.

I'm back from a lovely weekend away, still feeling the calm of about 48 hours of no "Mommy!, Mommy!, Mommy!"  (Thanks Mom and Dave.)   And on Tuesday I am invited to go rowing, and have said "yes" for the first time in about 5 years.  And I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The start of summer

Auntie Chris is visiting, going on her second week.   How wonderful is it to have another adult in the house to complement the 4 year old?  Well, it's pretty darn wonderful.  That it's Auntie Chris makes it beyond words.  So, we're busy with projects.  Fence!  Finally!  Books to be sold. . .sold, finally!  Bunk beds for Liam!  (Not sure this is a good idea but here we go.)  Pizza Friday! Etc.!

More soon.

Monday, June 20, 2011

From nothing

Liam and I went outside this morning to find a small daisy chain on the door.  From the neighbors across the street.  Made with caring and love; left for his birthday.  I know just where the daisies were picked; down the hill in that funny small green patch by the circle at the busy road.  Before they built the circle it was a bigger patch, with some benches and trees; huge peonies.  Now the circle takes up a lot of that space, and we have a bigger park moved to the other side, nearer the water, where there's more room and more to look at.  But this old patch, smaller now, still grows these white daisies like no one's business.  And the peonies still can be found too, or what's left of them, if you tromp in there to the back and look.  Mostly leaves now.

More than anything I want him to learn from this.  It is not presents (Although those were lovely; thank you everyone!), it's not the running around arranging the dinner and getting things done (Although that is among my core competencies and I do it continuously, much to my annoyance with myself.).  It is the slow weaving of a flower chain, the kind where you have to get down into the grass and find the long stems, so you can tie the knots.  Taking time.  Small things.  Connected to other people.  That's what I want him to learn.  I know where the daisies are, just exactly; but we haven't gone in weeks.  Too much rushing.  Busy.

Thanks neighbors for the reminder and the love.  Happy, happy birthday Liam; not so small any more but always still our tiny, little baby.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend driving

At the beach in Pt. Townsend.  The weekend.  Yesterday we messed around at the house and then went to my parents for dinner (Thanks mom!).  Today a driving trip to Pt. Townsend to visit an old friend from high school if-you-can-believe-it and her family.  Lovely.

Things said to me this weekend that made me laugh:
  • Yesterday, from the vegan: you're not hungry, that is one of your body's many cries for water.  This may sound obnoxious but it is uttered with (a) such conviction and (b) such affection and good humor that it is truly priceless.  I drank the water.  (This while driving to my mother's house. Vegan drinks about a gallon and a half of water a day, so even though I'm pretty reliable at between 40 and 64 ounces, I still pale in comparison and am therefore worried about.)  
  • Today, from Liam: Mommy, my favorite kind of bean is the jelly bean, did you know that Mommy?  Can we cook jelly beans?  (This while driving home from Pt.T after I said out loud to myself that we needed to get a pot of beans on the stove or we'd have nothing for dinners this week.  I said, Liam do you know that jelly beans aren't real beans -- they're candy? L: Oh, no wonder I like them.)
Also memorable: stopping for ice cream on the way home; and singing in the car with Liam most of the way to and from Pt.T and having him request this song over and over until we both learned all the words.  (That's kind of a bad recording, but the best I could find and they do get it together in the end.  He also loves this one.  The whole album is great.)

So far behind at work it's not clear how or when I will catch up.  Liam slept in the car on the way home for about 45 minutes.  Dread bedtime, although it can't come soon enough because he is still crazy tired.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blocks from sticks

I told the vegan that I thought it would be nice to have some of these natural-style blocks for Liam.  (Actually, I think I might have said: Would you make them? I can't figure out how to turn on the chop saw.  Which is true, I can't; but I will learn some day.)  So today he stopped at the house on his way home from working and chop, chop: 100-year-ish old azalea wood from the bush I cut out in front of the house last weekend is now a bucket of blocks.  

Liam picked through the branches to find the ones were big enough ends for blocks, and he watched (from a distance) the operation of the chop saw.  Tried to catch the blocks as they were tossed out of the garage.  Was thrilled to wear his own hearing protection.  And he occasionally offered instruction on whether the blocks should be big or small, and how many should be cut from any given stick.  Said "Oh. . .thank you!" for virtually every block.  At the end, he also wanted some blocks to paint, so a 2x4 was cut up. 

Then all the blocks came inside and Liam made a forest. 

I had thought blocks like this would be a nice birthday present for Liam, but now he's going to receive some beeswax or wood oil or something like that, and a little tin and a soft rag so he can finish his own blocks.  (I have been told by the block maker that they are "just fine" the way they are, but I like the idea of Liam being able to finish them.)

See Liam's open hands in the picture?  So relaxed.  He gets that from his father.  I am a fidget-er and tend to have something in my hands always, or close them and put them under me.  Liam has this easy way of being still that came with his wiring and I hope he keeps forever. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Reading stories and

We generally read about four stories at Liam's bedtime.  Three downstairs while he has a small snack (generally ak-mak cracker, one of the best foods ever, with peanut butter and a glass of milk), and the last story upstairs when he is tucked into bed. 

Liam always chooses the stories.  Last night three of the four were about families with only a Daddy.  Pinocchio (which I hate and was given to Liam and is one more reason that I should be on top of my game on Christmas to get the crap out of here before he notices it), a Disney story about Nemo (how these things get into the house, I'm not sure), and then a story called Interrupting Chicken (about a chicken who puts her Papa to bed with a story).  On the way up the stairs a tired, snuggley Liam said "now I only have a mommy; I only have a mommy because my daddy died."

Today he was up at 5 and refused to go back to sleep.  Big day ahead, play date at a park with a friend from his school/daycare (which may get moved to our house on account of it looks a lot like rain), then family-dinner at my mother's.

Memorial Day -- in my intentions today are all the families, so many more now, whose fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers have been killed in our country's wars and those returned from service, may time bring healing; and for those serving now a prayer for a safe day and soon, soon, soon a time of peace.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Outdoor Play Kitchen

Stay home day today -- so when not trying to shoe-horn in work, Liam and I:
  • Picked up the dog at the kennel, because I got stuck at the office late yesterday and forgot, that's right, forgot to go get her after work.  When driving home Liam was nattering about moving his railroad track to somewhere where Mollie wouldn't knock it over and I said "crap, I forgot to get Mollie" and pulled over and called the kennel.  No harm done.  She loves it there; they take her on trail walks every morning.  I guess we're officially looking for a new home for the dog.  She's just too much for me. And I'm not a dog person.  I'd like her to have a family that is more dog-oriented.  Hear that universe? 
  • Oil-changed the car.  Finally.
  • Grocery shopped, except I have already thought of things I forgot.
  • Went to the old house (now rented) and checked things over since the renters are moving out, and measured two of the windows that had lost their seal and are still under warranty from the great house remodel of 2002.  Sent the measurements away to where they needed to go. 
  • Had the neighbor boy over to play for about an hour -- trains, airplanes, garbage trucks, cranes! 
  • Made this small, mud-pie outside play "kitchen" and broke it in.  No sawing required (or at least none done).
  • Made cinnamon rolls (unrelated to the above and inside, in the real kitchen); still working on perfecting the whole wheat version.
  • Got Liam's hair cut -- at the neighbor's, she cuts his hair (and mine) she's great.  (Photos are from before the haircut.)
All I can say is: Ta-Da!  Day over.  Back to work tomorrow.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A small weekend away was had

I unexpectedly had a work meeting take me to Friday Harbor in the San Juans last week.  On Friday.  So, Ann and Doug were kind enough to keep Liam an extra few days so I could have a small weekend away.  On the beach. 

My family spent so much time on the beach and in the islands when I was a kid, it's always like going home.  Waking up to the water going crash, crash is the best sound ever.  And the late, low (almost) summer light is magic.

This is approximately half (or maybe a third) of what you end up with when you ask a 6 foot 2 vegan to please be in charge of food.  For pity's sake.  I see, hummus, tofu something, beer, kombucha, chocolate nibs, lentil sprouts, grapefruit, garlic powder (for the popcorn), popcorn popper. . . ..   I guess the actual vegetables were already back in the car with all the other stuff getting ready for the ride home when I took this picture. . ..