Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday Snippets

I woke up this morning after 9 1/2 hours of glorious sleep and found this note on the kitchen counter as I made my way to make a cup of coffee:

Dad or Mom,

Come downstairs and get me if you want to play Monopoly!

Me thinks we've created a monster or perhaps, a tycoon. T. Bone cannot get enough wheeling and dealing. He played twice yesterday with Grandma and Grandpa. I hope Uncle B. Bone isn't disappointed when T. Bone suggests they play board games instead of baseball tonight before dinner. I guess I know what we'll be doing if we get a rainy day at the lake.

Before I finished my first cup of coffee, the doorbell rang and I answered it in my nightie thinking it was one of the kid's friends come calling. I was face to face with a pamphlet bearing Jehovah witness I went to high school with who was almost as embarrassed as I was because he tried hard to keep his faith to himself. He blushed a little when he handed me the material and then instead of all fire and brimstone we talked about life and the past. And even though it was awkward, it was nice to see him because he may just have been THE nicest guy in my class. That doesn't seem to have changed.

Before I finished my second cup of coffee, I received not 1, but 2 campaign calls. Things are really heating up in this state as the election draws nearer.

And speaking of heating's going to be hot again today so I better get out and get my walk in before mid-day.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

It's finally the weekend. I am so looking forward to the next couple days and then a return to our regular routine next week. No more 5 day work weeks.

I saw my first Rickie Lee Jones concert last night, and it was so full of heart and soul that I considered driving 3 hours to see the show again tonight. It was worth waiting 3 decades for.

Banana cake for breakfast.

A family game of Monopoly after dinner this week that lasted not 1, but 2 nights.

Darlybird and their sweet accessories. The girls in this family are loving our new earrings and hair clips.

Tomato sandwiches that actually taste like something this time of year.

Silver. Silver shoes, belts, jewelry.

Thunderstorms and gray days.

My step-mother is excited to start a new job in mid August.

I finished The Paris Wife and I almost couldn't put it down despite the fact that we all know the ending. It really peaked my interest in Hem. I haven't read him since high school, but I have already secured a copy of Moveable Feast. Now I'm into Crossing to Safety, which I feel like I may have read already.

And this quote from the novel, which beautifully describes my favorite time of day...the gloaming and the bittersweet bonds between firsts.

Later that afternoon, Paul and I took the long way to the stream and dropped our
lines in just as the insects began to swarm and the light began to change. It
was our favorite part of the day, this in-between time, and it always seemed to
last longer than it should – a magic and lavender space unpinned from the hours
around it, between worlds. I held my reel and felt the line list, and was back
in Cologne with Ernest and Chink. Back at my first fish, knowing there wouldn’t
be any fish without this one, and no love without the first one either.

The Paris Wife

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blame It On The Rain

Blame it on the rain, or our heart-tuggingly nostalgic route to where we needed to be this morning, or the rather tough time my girl has had separating several mornings during what has proven to be another very long week. And don’t get me started on the calendar. We’ve been ushered up to that point in summer where we no longer talk about how hot is, but rather how cold it will be too soon. Heck, the way I look at it there’s more than enough blame to go around as to why I feel out of sorts and even blue…there’s culpability for the choosing to explain my restlessness and unease.

I was up with the birds again this morning planning to take a walk just me and Little Bee. The rain dashed any hope I had of starting my day off the best way I know how. I strongly resisted the urge to crawl back in my cocoon, and it was a strong one. Instead I headed to the basement for a little kenpo and for that I was grateful…as soon as I was done jabbing and hooking that is.

Miss Bit woke up dragging and a little warm to the touch. Her cheeks were extra rosy and her nose was plenty runny, yet she was quick to say she felt fine. Not long after her assurances though she admitted she was dog-tired and down in the dumps. I don’t like to see my sweet girl sad. While I was thinking of ways to bring a smile back to her face, I realized that staying home today was just not an option unless absolutely necessary. It’s been building all week: this little summer cold and the need for a break from it all. I gave her some ibuprofen and reminded her that tomorrow she would be swimming the day away at Camp Grandma. That exciting news didn’t stop the flow of tears no matter how hard she tried…it only made her try and hide them from me. She was being a trooper…a real trooper.

I watched her in the rear view mirror. She closed her eyes and wiped a runaway tear from time to time. I almost turned around to take her back home more than once, but I stayed strong, I stood firm. And although we’ve been taking some version of this route to camp most days this summer, all of its markers suddenly struck me today. Maybe it was because I was really paying attention in my quiet car this morning. Today there were no distractions. T. Bone was dropped off early for a field trip and Miss Bit was not one for words. Silence replaced our usual travel talk about Monopoly strategies or illegal aliens or stories of my old stomping grounds.

No those memories were between me, myself and I today. As we passed good ole SHS, I saw myself on the sunny lawn eating lunch many years ago surrounded by friends playing Frisbee and hackey sack. So many years, in fact, that the vast courtyard is mostly shady now. My how those Maples have grown I thought. I did the math. It makes perfect sense. After that simple calculation, I was wiping my own tear from my cheek and ever thankful for my sunglasses because if my girl saw me losing it too this morning, there's no doubt we'd be homeward bound. I'm glad tomorrow is Friday.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

No Need to Read Between The Lines

Late in the night I pay
the unrest I owe
to the life that has never lived
and cannot live now.
What the world
could be
is my good dream
and my agony when, dreaming it,
I lie
awake and turn
and look into the dark.
I think of a luxury
in the
sturdiness and grace of necessary things, not
in frivolity. That would heal
the earth, and heal men.
But the end, too, is part
of the pattern,
the last
labor of the heart:
to learn to lie still,
one with the
again, and let the world go.

Awake at Night
Wendell Berry

Early in the morning I wake after a mere five hours sleep. My mind immediately jumps to attention...such a good soldier. My head is racing with worry...rue with regret...replete with ideas for tomorrow, the next day, the next month, the next year. I open my eyes only to behold the moonbeams of the night before wax and wane as the clouds fade in and fade out. I feel the cool, yet damp dawning breeze on my exposed skin, breathe deeply, and resolve to clear my head knowing that this is my time to rest. Knowing that the only thing between me and restoration are my very own thoughts. I eventually drift back off to la la land only to wake again with the birdsong at the new day's dawn. I think how fortunate am I to hear such sweet music and also how lucky that I have a window I can close. Another cleansing breath and I sleep some more. So fast this time that I must fight my way back to lucidity when it is finally time to wipe the sleep from my eyes for good for the day. My coffee comes before my cat's food on mornings like this. What does it really matter either for Peanut is holed up on the basemant steps now that the thunder has rolled in and Tigger is busy soliciting his morning love. As I sit sipping and coming to life, I open my book of Wendell Berry poems for a little inspiration. I open my book to Awake at Night randomly, and yet I know that there is really nothing arbitrary about this morning meeting at all. Can I tell you how much I love when this happens? Do you know THE feeling...the one where you know you are doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing precisely when you are doing it because the universe is talking to you and you are listening?

Monday, July 25, 2011

two day pass

we kicked off the weekend with one last baseball last because our team did not win.
they could have if just for a couple more hits.
they played the #1 team and they played their fans proud.
the final score was 6-8.
in the previous 3 games the other team played in the tournament, they only gave up a total of 4 runs and then they run ruled every team so let's just say we saw them sweat in the 6 innings played.
now they are headed to state.
and just like that the season is really over.
there will be no more baseball.
well, not until fall ball starts in september.
oh and football starts in a week.
the boys drowned their sorrows in a teammate's hot tub during a spontaneous post party...actually they were all laughing and having fun.
so were their parents.

suddenly saturday was wide open and we almost didn't know what to do with a free and clear calendar.
i said almost.
t. bone still wasn't home from the previous night's sleepover and miss bit was partying with her friends in honor of a classmate's birthday so me and my man committed to a 6 miler in the heat of the hot day.
no breeze, not enough water, numerous deer and even a fawn later and we made it home.
home to supervise squirt gun fights, runs through the sprinkler and games of wiffle in between games of gin with the cats lounging on the patio at our feet so happy to be out in the aire libre after being cooped up all week.
there were orange slushies for the littles and cold cocktails for the adults.
hubby fired up the grill for some ribs and steak served with roasted fingerling potatoes, olive cheese bread, asparagus and fresh pineapple.
we may not have actually served dinner until 9:00 so the littles were just a little famished and there weren't many leftovers.
t. bone's friend spent the night and miss bit slept in her own bed for the first time in the few nights she spent at camp grandma grandpa.

sunday was pancakes and bacon with fresh cantaloupe and raspberries, a 5 mile walk that was nowhere near as oppressive as the prior day's, an invitation to the zoo for miss bit, a refreshing swim at grandma and grandpa's for the 3 boys, time to bake a banana cake, read and nap for me, croquet at my brother and sil's followed by a yummy dinner, too late to bed.

On My Mind Monday

Sometimes the littlest things take up the most room in your

Winnie the Pooh

Scenes From The Weekend

Friday, July 22, 2011

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Air conditioning, authenticity, accelerated math and foreign accents. (I'm intrigued by the accent of Little Bee's narrator.)
Boys so excited to play ball. To give it their all...their best.
Carpooling, chicken drummies, Camp Grandma, concerts coming up, cheering sections and cheddar aged to perfection. play, to swim, for the movies or for dinner, and dropping dew points.
Eleven: 11 fantastic boys on the team.
Fireflies, freezy pops, French tablecloths and frosted mini wheats with fresh fruit especially blueberries and nectarines.
Grandparents who come to cheer on the team even if it means long drives in the heat and humidity. Good luck charms, goodness and grace.
Heatwaves only because I'm reminded of why I don't loathe the long winter. Hospitality, honesty and humble hearts too.
Iced tea, imaginations, ideas, individuality and ice cream.
Jewelry. The gift of a new pair of earrings in the mail for me yesterday.
Kindness, kinship and kismet.
Librairies where I get me my books for free. Lakes where we can cool off.
Mosquito repellant, memoirs and memories.
Nice people. New friends.
Owls. Old friends.
People who say please and pardon me. Playing hooky...both kids did at least twice this week.
Quintessential summer days and nights. Quiet, quirkiness and the word quince.
Seven days of no video games, slushies, swimming, sleep, shade, scaredy cats and sugar snap peas especially with pancetta, romano and a bright lemon vinaigrette.
Team spirit.
Uniforms even if they always are waiting to be laundered again.
Vacation...1 month until we are lakeside. Victory, Vintage hair clips, vim and vigor.
We made it through the week. Five days of work for me...3 baseball games and counting. The team won 17-10 lastnight and now face the #1 team tonite. Walks in the early morning, wishes and wisdom.
X-tra money in my paycheck since I've been working more hours this stretch.
Zest and zeal.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Lowdown


Christina Haag’s, Come to the Edge. The voyeur in me is enjoying this memoir, but I’m finding it more tragic and sad than romantic and captivating. Clearly since she never made the name for herself she hoped for as an actress, she didn’t get the prince or the prize. Is it really telling that John John liked to live on the edge…every edge?

Thoreau’s travel itinerary, Cape Cod. I’m hopelessly nostalgic for the beach vacation we had last summer.

The Paris Wife, Crossing to Safety and Cutting For Stone are all in cue.


The Bachelorette although I cannot say I am much of an Ashley fan. I do like Constantine and Ben. My money is on Ben, but I think Constantine is better suited for the wannabe bride.

The news which is 9/10 weather and did you know it’s Dante’s inferno outdoors? I guess it’s better than recounts of fiscal disaster and non-guilty verdicts for murderous mothers.

Best of all baseball. Lastnight the team pulled off the victory they needed to advance to the next round!! 11-2 I'd say they more than pulled it off. T. Bone pitched 5 innings of the game and he threw 50 pitches. I expect the MLB scouts to be calling any day now.

Listening To...

Little Bee while I walk. I’m loving the words, the wit and the humor woven in with the raw tenderness and brutal reality. It’s wonderfully written, and smartly told.

Rickie Lee Jones’ first two albums which I will hear her play live in 8 days from my seat in the front row.

97.3 The Brew which means everything sounds alike whether it’s Bruno Mars, Black Eyed Peas, Adele, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert or Taio Cruz, yet my kids can differentiate.


Often too late and not as healthy as I like thanks to summer spontaneity and more specifically baseball.

Lots of summer fruits like nectarines, plums, cherries and green grapes.

Too much cheese.

Fresh picked produce from my Aunt’s garden and kindly shared with us.

Ice cream for dinner.


Like I wish there were more minutes in an hour, hours in a day, days in a week and weeks in the summer.

Just a little guilty for taking reading breaks in front of the fan that turn into literal cat naps instead of whittling away my to do lists.

A little anxious about our north woods vacation since it will be our first without my mom. I know I’m going to miss her terribly in a whole new way.


About my Mom. A little over a week ago I had a dream of her that didn’t feel like a dream at all. It was at daybreak and I was coming in and out of sleep. I turned to see her smiling beside me and she looked like her best self radiating beauty and happiness. I caught my breath and asked if she was really here..if this was real. She came to hug me and as we wrapped our arms around each other she said, “It’s me. I’m here. I’m always here and this is real.” I woke up suddenly and wiped a single tear of joy from my cheek. I could still smell her and I felt euphoric as well as completely at peace. It’s taken me this long to put the experience into words.

Of what it would be like to pack up and take off to spend the whole summer in a beach front cottage on the Cape.

Of where we’ll go next year.

Of enough time to read all the books I want to and visit all the places I yearn to see.


Reading as much as I can, writing a little, thinking a lot.

Looking for resolve, finding some peace and making my own happiness.

Taking time, making time, not forsaking time.

Soaking up summer and sitting with the sunshine.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


After the game on Sunday, T. Bone opted to ride home with me instead of his Dad...the coach. We traveled side by side in silence for a few miles before I asked him if he chose to ride with me so he didn't have to talk about the loss. He looked at me out of the corner of his eye clearly not sure how he should answer so I prodded, "It's OK." He then admitted, "Yeah, I guess so. How did you know?" I assured him that moms just's our job. He grinned and then his bright blue eyes turned brighter yet as he asked, "Did you see that throw I made from home to second? It was a laser!" "I sure did, but barely it was that fast," I told him. "Moms see everything," I added. His eyes softened as I suspect he realized that I'm not just any fair weather fan...I'm an ardent , all weather aficianado. Always will be.

Monday, July 18, 2011

two day pass

the word of the weekend was baseball without a single doubt.
the days and nights revolved around this good old, all american pastime we love so much.
our team was victorious friday and should have been sunday as well.
if only we'd remembered the lucky lanyard...if only the ump would have worn his glasses...if only one of the better players hadn't been pulled from the game at a critical time due to over-hydration...if only we'd had fewer errors and a better groomed field.
t. bone may have had his best game ever...his best game yet...friday.
now the team just has to win under the lights tomorrow and should.
no pressure at all.

whatever the's been fun and i'm proud of all the boys - big and bigger.

after much time spent on fields, in dug outs and in the stands, there was plenty more summer goodness to be gotten.
always...always time with family and friends.
friends new and old.
enjoying sugar snap peas straight from my aunt's amazing garden and fresh-picked lettuce so soft and sweet it's hard to believe it's good for you.
and a pig roast even if we opted for the less identifiable and equally as tasty roasted chicken.
my girl ate 3 whole chicken drummies lickety split!
time for reading, walking and talking, and swimming.

the weekend ended with a splash in my in-laws pool.
the water was as warm as the air.
that'd be 95 burning hot degrees.
what can i say...we're in the middle of a wave here.
yet we had fun playing marco polo, having diving competitions and keep away.

the van was unusually quiet during the ride home.
t. bone and miss bit were zapped from the activity and the heat.
the littles surprisingly refrained from a game of i spy as we passed many a field full of life on the way home at twilight.
all i could see were fireflies flickering and then fading away...
just like the last two days.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


So very proud of this team of 11, but especially my 1...#13! He had the winning walk off single of the game with 2 outs so it was pretty much their last chance. I think you can see the joy in their faces, and I love how they flocked one by one to the camera all eager to to capture the moment...keep it alive.

Game 2 is on Sunday. They play my old rivals. Of course, I played soccer not baseball. No question who I'll be rooting for.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Yves Delorme soap. The scent of it is the very definition of clean.

My man's dedication as a coach and his commitment to the team. The tournament starts tonight and I cannot wait to see how these boys have come together as a team.

When T. Bone saw that homemade cinnamon buns were for breakfast the other morning he said, "NNNNICE!!" And then he pretty much ate the whole pan by himself despite the fact that they didn't rise to meet my expectations.

Uncle B. Bone treated himself to his dream car last week. When he pulled up early Saturday morning, I went to the door to see what the noise was. It was his powerful Porsche engine. T. Bone proved he was only a little impressed when he inquired, "Why didn't you get a Ferrari?" He didn't hear the part about T. Bone borrowing it for prom some day. Miss Bit proudly refers to it as Uncle B. Bone's "Posha."

One of Miss Bit's favorite times of the camp day is "chill" time. She had a great time at camp yesterday and was excited to go back today.

Back on track this week. Back to life...back to reality.

An early morning walk to start the day today. I had the sweaty streets all to myself as I listened to Little Bee.

Winnie the Pooh is in theaters today. T. Bone wants to see the Silly Bear more than Miss Bit, but I know she's going to love it...him too.

I finished Water For Elephants the very minute my walk ended yesterday. I wasn't expecting the story to end yet. I liked it, but I wanted more. I will be seeing the movie.

This budding young actress.

This all-American athlete.
Plenty of new reading if only I had the time that it really deserves.

Close-knit teams huddled together on one half of the bench, and legs so little they don't quite touch the ground.

My other slugger.
My other artist. Camp Crafts. T. Bone made cat's eyes for all of us. Pink just for me.

Miss Bit caught a grounder and threw it to first. She's thinking about signing up for fall ball with the Little League.