Friday, July 23, 2010

Girl's Day Out

Not long after we got home yesterday afternoon, the skies got dark and then noticibly darker with a friendly green tint to them. Shortly after the ominous skies moved in, there was thunder and lightning, wind and blinding, driving, relentless rain and sirens sounding from numerous surrounding communities. In a couple short hours we were deluged with 7 or so inches of rain. Streets and freeways became rivers and low lying areas became lakes. There were sink holes, sewage dumps into our "great lake" and stranded commuters throughout the metro area. Our sump pump that never turns on was running nonstop throughout the night and for much of the day today. We are lucky though...we are dry.

When I got up early this morning, the skies were somber gray and the world still soggy, but I thought I could sneak in a walk before the next round moved in. By the time I was dressed and ready, the rain returned so I decided to kick box instead. I wasn't about to let a little storm derail me and actually felt like I was off to a good start to the end of the week. Then the phone rang just before we were going to head out for the day and my day got even better. The news was no camp for Miss Bit...that meant no work for me and we took absolute advantage of the free day.

Me and my girl decided that a rainy day was a perfect day to spend in the catacombs of the public museum, and so that's just what we did. That is after we dropped a shunning T. Bone off at his slighty soggy camp.

Our first stop was the butterfly exhibit, which was a HUGE hit for my insect loving little lady. She was discouraged immediately when she couldn't get one to land on her hand. I promised her that one would. When one did, she was beside herself, "Mom just like you promised," as if I had myself walked on water. A very large butterfly perched on the top of my head for a few minutes much to her delight. The other highlights were the taxidermied animals, "real live" mummies, bare breasted pygmie women ("He he he...look at her boobs!"), the shrunken heads ("Are those necklaces?"), and the journey down into the depths of the sea ("Will there be sharks like that great white in Cape Cod? Are we going to Cape Cod tomorrow? When are we going? I wish we were going tomorrow!") After a few hours exploring the exhibits, we got some popcorn for lunch, shared a soda and found seats smack dap in the middle of the theater at the tippy top for Under the Sea at the Imax. We were both wowed by the garden of eels, awed by the leafy sea dragons, and ready to adopt every one of the sea lions although we did not want to cuddle the cuttlefish.

It was such an enjoyable few hours. At the end of the day, I have to say that I am rather fond of these rain days!

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

The singing of the National Anthem before the tournament games, and for my sunglasses, which hid my eyes as they teared up and over with love and pride.

Fresh Michigan blueberries, and tart Door County cherries perfect for baking.

Ina's blueberry cake. Despite the fact that I messed up the recipe, it still tasted good. Note to self, do not bake before having a cup of coffee in the morning after 5 slim hours of sleep the night before.

Girl talk. My Aunt and I stayed up gabbing long after the kids and boys went to bed.

Dates with Grandma and Grandpa...the movies, lunch and swimming two Wednesdays in a row.

Boys in uniform.

Dinner out at a local Italian place with my Aunt and Uncle who were in town visiting. Yummy spaghetti and meatballs for the kids and seafood and pasta for the adults, wine and conversation.

T. Bone and Miss Bit dancing together, and having fun moving to the music. So much fun that when I was tucking her in last night, she said, "This is the funnest night E-V-E-R! I wish it would N-E-V-E-R end!"

T. Bone for noticing and making sure to inform me too that he has more friends on Facebook than I do.

A new summer playlist.

Juicy black plums and crisp Ranier cherries.

Miss Bit saying, "I think {insert name of expensive boutique} has much cuter clothes than Justice." That's music to this mama's ears 'cuz they grow up way too fast.

A date with my hubby to see Jack Johnson this weekend.

Impromptu sleepovers...Miss Bit went to spend the night with Grandma and Grandpa last weekend with just the clothes on her back.

Spontaneous rain days. It rained so much last night that Miss Bit's camp was closed so I stayed home from work and we girls are headed to the museum instead. T. Bone chose to go to camp because they are going to the movies. So what if it is his third flick in as many days, and the second viewing of this feature film.

It's sunny for now.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

de ja vu

It's Tuesday morning and I'm enjoying the quiet of my house alone with my coffee, cats and computer. It's just like old times. T. Bone and Miss Bit are still catching up on sleep so I'm thinking I may see them around dinnertime tonight, although the phone just rang threatening to cut their slumber short...wrong number. I gave the lady on the other end a piece of my mind, and usually I'm cordial to and forgiving with errant dialers. I guess not when I'm protecting my babes and their REM. Shhh, but I may have a slight tendency to go a tad commando when my AWOL time is jeopardized as well.

I've missed my blog time something awful. I just don't feel right when I'm short on time to write. Good things have come from being "off the grid" nonetheless. I've been connecting to places other than the WWW, and yet I'm forever in search of the ever elusive idea of attaining balance. I know the fact that I struggle with it every day puts me in some capable company. It's been occupying my thoughts more often than not lately. Probably because I'm noticing how I've been prone to extremes: walking the distance of a marathon in one week, or not taking a single step; picking up yet another fast food meal, or spending the better part of the day in the kitchen making a four course meal; reading three books at once, or not even bothering with a quick magazine article; wanting summer to last forever, or wishing away the horrendously humid days that have hung over us; feeling invincible one day and defeated the next; wanting to go and do, or needing to stay and be. I need a road map to navigate these twists, turns and detours.

And I guess that's what I miss most about writing: the sense of direction it affords me. Expression is my inner compass, and without it I quickly find myself lost. Recognizing the bypass, realizing the roundabout is the first step to finding my way out. The good thing is that I've already seen this and I know what to do.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Time on Tuesday

Miss Bit and I were lounging in my bed this morning gearing up to start our day. T. Bone was already up, and both of them were more eager than I to make a precise plan. I confess that I was happy to putter the day away around the house getting ready for company coming for the weekend and then take the long walk alone over the river and up and down the hills, but I knew my choices wouldn't get the majority vote. The phone rang and in a matter of moments my girl had a much coveted invitation for the afternoon. Soon after my boy got an offer he too couldn't refuse. I am thankful for this time to myself to recharge and refresh so that when we reconvene this evening, I will fully receive the gift of togetherness, and rejoice in the frenzy of our busy family again.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Perching our chairs in the cool, refreshing water. Miss Bit was off and diving before long, but I lingered between trips to the raft and games of frisbee with my book.

I lingered so long that I was able to finish The Glass Castle. Walls' gripping memoir was nothing short of inspiring because the odds were triple stacked against her and her siblings to succeed, and yet they did.

Weeping willow trees. When Miss Bit was little she called them Survivor Trees. I never cognitively knew why, but intuitively I understood. She also used to call Parmesan cheese Carmage.

Journaling. I was able to catch up on both T. Bone's and Miss Bit's journals this week. Then I found the travel journal I started a few years ago when I was cleaning out a random drawer. The last entry was Lake Winnepisaukee in 2007. Shortly after we returned from New Hampshire, my Mom was diagnosed and life changed forever for all of us. Yesterday I tried to pick up where I left off: Powers Lake, August 2008. The pages were stained with my tears. It was the last vacation we took with my Mom, and we knew that short of a miracle, her time was running would be our last. That made for a beautiful, yet bittersweet week.



the hot dog

the Polish

the Italian...not pictured are the brat and the chorizo.
Dogged determination displayed by cats. We haven't been turning on the faucets for these two since our water consumption went from 13,000 to 27,000 gallons last quarter, but they still wait for the fresh flow.

New pillows for the family room with the perfect combination of colors to complement the room's new paint job.

My girl's got her Grandpa's (and her Daddy's) brilliant blues. Beware she's got her Mama's pout.

Happy Birthday America... birthday cake ice cream with gobs of red and blue frosting. It only took 200 some odd years to figure out this most delicious of flavors.

Miss Bit lost her first tooth over the weekend. She finally let her Daddy yank it out and then she proceeded to tell anyone she encountered for the next few days that the tooth fairy left her $5.50 because she's 5 1/2! My Gramps tied a string to my first loose tooth, tied the other end to the door and then slammed it. That's how I lost my first tooth.

B. Bone made yummy Harp burger sliders on the 4th and served them up with a side of Hooly's hot wings. Nanny would have been...was surely proud.

My Dad is feeling well enough after his procedure to run the bases (he's on first here) and play golf again.

Tigger. He is such a love bug even if he does lounge on the kitchen table.

Quesadillas with black bean and corn relish and hubby's homemade salsa.
A short, sassy summer bob.
T. Bone is impressing his new coaches with his skills and it looks like he'll be starting come game time.
Miss Bit came home from camp yesterday and when I asked how her day was, she said, "AWESOME!" That's music to a mama's ears.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

4th of July Weekend Retrospect

It may already be the eve of the eve of the next weekend, but yes, it's true: I'm just now saying good riddance to the last holiday weekend. You should know there's a good reason for this dear readers (I mean, faithful Jess). You see, we just officially ended the 4th of July celebrations here at Casa Wags today so according to that confession, I'm actually rather punctual and pretty darn prompt. Life has not allowed much time for the art/act of blogging and there's just something so sweet about having so much fun that I don't have time to capture and record the moments and memories at the end of the day because I'm just too plain tuckered out and punch drunk ( and maybe, just maybe, captivated by a good read before bedtime).

The long weekend was stingy short. It flew by, but that seems to be the relative cadence of this muse we call summer...ever elusive and tempting to leave us before we've taken in all she has to offer, give us, teach us. And yet I find myself intoxicated by the refreshing cocktail that was equal parts family time and time with friends garnished with sweet tastes of time alone too.

On Sunday, we donned our red, white and/or blue (except in my hubby's tye dye and please forgive him for he was at the Rush concert the night before), our stars and stripes, patriotic tiaras, peace sign necklaces and tattoos. Then we biked down the parkway to the parade, which has been our tradition for almost a decade now. Wow! We have ourselves a ten year tradition! We found a place in the shade to park our rides, wave to our friends, collect cheap, stale candy and celebrate America's birthday.

After the parade of mascots, veterans, vintage cars, clowns, dogs in dresses, scouts, horses, Harley's, cheerleaders, politicians, and fellow Americans, we made our way to the neighborhood festival to have some lunch and a little more fun. T. Bone was mildly disappointed that Grandpa wasn't around to ride The Zipper with him like last year. He braved The Magic Carpet and The Hang Glider alone instead while Miss Bit white knuckled the Bumble Bees and the Teapots. They went in the fun house together and the following pictures are proof of that certain feat!

Oh, and maybe then they conned us into letting them play a game or two so they could win the had to have prizes that are already in the garbage.

That afternoon we were invited to a gathering at my brother and sister-in-law's. This is their new dog, Rover. Rover was a wedding gift, and Miss Bit is still trying every trick in the book to make him her's. Just for the record, I was the lone holdout that he should not find a new home. He is, after all, the perfect pet for them...he doesn't shed, need to be walked or put in the kennel when they travel.

Grandma and Grandpa joined us for Fourth of July festivities. The fun included a steamy game of wiffle, an impromptu water war welcomed for the relief from the heat it offered, delicious food cooked perfectly on my brother's mini Weber, savory conversation, cool cocktails and backgammon by flashlight. We heard, but did not see fireworks, much to Miss Bit's chagrin. Call CPS...I almost turned myself (if you must know) and I'm still guilt ridden although I am not mosquito bitten.

Monday the kids swam the morning away at Grandma and Grandpa's with their cousins, and then we spent the afternoon with friends in the neighborhood bbqing before baseball. Tuesday we woke up with plans to head to the lake, which didn't seem at all promising given the dreary, foreboding forecasts. Thankfully, the weather people were as off as can be as usual, and we, in fact, enjoyed a beautiful afternoon beating the heat. It was serendipitously sublime.

On the way home, we stopped for ice cream...the perfect end to the perfect summer day. The kids couldn't thank us enough for the whole day the whole way home. It was the best of the weekend, and it was up against some stiff competition. Tomorrow we kick off another weekend. Happy Friday!