Thursday, May 12, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

I've been reminded once again, of the wild imbalance of the {pretty}, {happy}, {funny} and {real} in my life.

First off, there is a vast profusion of {happy} in it. I won't deny that for a second. But I would like to specify that I prefer to think of it as joy. Happiness is fleeting and found in one's circumstances. Joy is long lasting and in spite of our circumstances. I don't worry too much about happiness anymore. But now I'm splitting hairs...

Second, though the pessimist in me doubts it on a daily basis, I know that if I wait long enough, the {funny} will show up. We are quite good at finding the humour in our lives over here. And if we can't find it, we make it.

As to the {real}, well, I've got that in spades. Maybe too much. I'm always tripping over it.

But the {pretty}...ahhh...she is elusive. Perhaps I'm just too much of a perfectionist (Daria says that's my problem with art appreciation; I expect too much perfection) but I do have a hard time detecting the beauty in my life. Unless I'm looking at my children. And no one but my sisters and mother would really want to see photos of them day after day, week after week.

And I think this week's edition reflects all of that. You'll see what I mean (if you're still reading, that is)...

This is probably pretty only to me and only in real life. I could not figure out how to improve the quality of this shot. This is (duh) my kitchen sink. I like the faucet, the tiles, the English tea tins and the Palm Sunday crosses (way up top, you have to look closely) The Viking made for me. I think it's pretty.

My Mothers' Day gift! I began dropping piano-sized hints about wanting one during Soup Week, specifically after making Tomato Ravioli for the first time. I've been using it to make myself smoothies right in the glass every morning! Less mess! Easier clean up! No more heavy appliances to haul in and out of the cupboard! Hurrah!

Today, Man-Cub is staging a Crash Course Combat with his vast collection of matchbox cars in the living room. He keeps coming in to update me on the latest crashes and eliminations. I am also called on occasionally to officiate when the judgement is unclear ("If one wheel is off the track, does that disqualify the car?"). I snapped his photo during one update to catch both his excitement and the blue substance stuck to his left cheek.

*Edited to add: it's gum, Drooble's Best Bubble Gum (a Harry Potter product), to be precise.

He figured out what I was doing and began to dodge...

...and the scuffle began...


Redheaded Snippet straining her tea. She is sick at home today. I haven't liked how rundown she's been looking the past few days so when she complained of a terribly sore throat this morning I kept her home. She made herself a cup of Throat Coat tea but in her sickly stupor mistook the dirty mugs in the dishwasher for clean ones. And since she had used the last Throat Coat tea bag, she couldn't make herself a new cup. So she strained it into a clean mug. That's some good tea!

Finally, I figured it was only right that I show you the flash drive I've been using to upload all of these photos. Can't get any more real than this, can it?

Monday, May 09, 2011

It's dumb but I'll go with it...

I think Mothers' Day is rather dumb.  Oh, sure, I was all excited on my first Mothers' Day after Redheaded Snippet was born.  And then again the first one after Man-Cub was born.  I also enjoyed the excitement of my sisters', Dharma's and Lobelia's, first Mothers' Days.  But the Mothers' Days after our sons died, and then after Dharma suffered many miscarriages, and then after she suffered for so long with infertility and THEN after her twin girls died, were gut-wrenching, pain-filled days when we hid in our houses and wished the stupid day would JUST END already!

When you have no more fervent wish than to be a mother and that wish seems to be stolen from you or denied you, Mothers' Day is an incredibly sorrowful day.  It seems the whole world is conspiring together to rub your failure as a woman in your face.  I know there is no one that sets out to do that, but that's how it feels.  And I can't even say I've had it the worst.  I've been able to have children.  There are many out there who never do.

Our family has since healed from our suffereings.  And I won't pretend that that healing hasn't been helped by the arrival of new children.  But while I may not still feel the pain of our sufferings, I still remember it.  Vividly.  Never more so than on Mothers' Day.  And so Mothers' Day is a bit different for me.  I don't demand or expect anything.  I would be perfectly happy if we just ignored MD altogether.  Let's just have a nice Sunday together.  Don't go through the trouble of picking out a card or buying flowers.  Don't spend money on taking me out to a restaurant.  Just honor, respect and love me all the time I'll be just fine!

This flowering vine has suddenly sprung up this year.  We have no idea what it is.
This bothers The Viking, however.  He wants to set aside a special day to thank me for being the mother of his children.  He wants to bring me flowers and find me treats and pamper me and make me rest.  And I have learned not to argue with him!

I was woken today to my handsome husband standing next to our bed bearing a tray laden with a homemade breakfast such as only he can make!  Sausage and an omelet with green peppers, feta cheese and olives accompanied by a cup of my favorite Lavender Earl Grey tea and a vase of wildflowers from the backyard.  Man-Cub was standing expectantly beside him, waiting for my rapturous response (Man-Cub LOVES breakfast in bed and thinks it's the luxury of luxuries--probably somehow related to all those meals I had to eat in bed whilst pregnant with him)!

Another surprise.  Wild strawberries, perhaps?

When I came downstairs after having eaten and dressed, the entire place was tidied, swept and vacuumed!  It was heaven!  I felt a little ashamed at how easily he seemed to have been able to whip the entire place into shape, but I stuffed those thoughts back into the murky folds of my mind and simply relaxed.  I fiddled around on the computer a bit.  I uploaded some photos.  I did a few crossword puzzles.  And then I wandered around the yard for a bit, taking in the gorgeous weather and snapping photos of the springtime glories all around me!

Then I ran out of ideas and into The Viking pushing Man-Cub on the rope swing.  He asked me what I wanted to do.  I said I should take a shower.  He asked, "Do you want to?"  I said I didn't.  He said, "Then don't."  I then said I should dust-mop the bedroom floor since the rest of the house looked so wonderful.  He asked again, "Do you want to?"  I didn't.  So again he said, "Then don't."  I thought for a moment then said, "I should put those plants into the planters on the porch."  He sighed and said, "But do you want to?"  I said, "Actually, I really do."  The Viking nodded, pulled Man-Cub to a halt and said, "Then let's go."

We went to Home Depot yesterday and bought all of the plants for the window boxes and the two new planters I found on sale at Shop Rite of all places.  About ten minutes into the trip I suddenly remembered how little fun we have trying to pick out plants together so we decided to divide and conquer.  I took the planters and he took the window boxes.  We tried making it a contest and giving ourselves just ten minutes to meet back at the hanging baskets of lobelia with the plants we had chosen but we both took so long trying to decide that we wound up wandering around together anyway and eventually went right back to helping each other pick stuff out.  The moral of the story is we work much better together when we're not trying so hard to do so.  We are so silly.

Ooooh, bacopa!  Bacopa-bana!  The hottest spot north of Havana...

Now, usually I lose interest in gardening as soon as the plants are purchased.  I am very good at pointing to buckets, baskets and flats and saying, "Oooooh, they would look nice around the house," but that's about where my gardening abilities and interests end.  The Viking is the one who plants, fertilizes, waters, mows, weeds and prunes.  So he wasted no time in gathering all the things I would need to pot those plants!

Of course, I made a nice mess.  And did I mention I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing?  Incapability Brown, that's me.  I may have killed one of the poor plants I was manhandling today and I think the planters look like a four-year-old did them but they're DONE!  And I did have the good sense to sweep everything up and clean up after myself.  The Viking was so pleased.

There was just enough time after my gardening debut to read all the nice things Redheaded Snippet wrote about me on Facebook and have a delightful, little, grateful cry over them before it was time to clean up and gussy up for dinner with the rest of the family at my favorite Irish pub!  I wore my fancy hat and split shepherd's pie and a whiskey chicken boxty with Redheaded Snippet and even indulged in a Guinness chocolate brownie as a reward for doing so well on my low-carb diet this week!  And afterward, Daria and a family friend came back to the house where The Viking built a fire and we closed the day circled around it's warmth swapping stories and laughing.

All told, it was, in spite of my wariness, a very special and thoroughly enjoyable day.  I am one very blessed woman...

Saturday, May 07, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Tennessee edition

*Sorry I'm late. As you may have noticed if you tried to visit here earlier, my blog was somehow hijacked and spent an entire day or two instantly redirecting everyone who attempted to visit to some hotlinks page. I think I have fixed the problem and I sincerely hope no one has suffered any adverse effects of their own from stumbling across the mess! So...And now, without further ado...

I suppose it might be cheating to submit photos from vacation for an entry intended to capture the context of contentment in everyday life. But can I help it if, for one glorious week, our everyday lives were far from everyday?

Cheating or not, here's what was captured...


Rosebud and Fidget in matching pretty pink dresses smelling the pretty pink roses after church. What could be prettier than that?

I'm tickling him in order to get a real smile. She's laughing at him. I love this shot!

Bumper boats, cool shades, ganging up on the cameraman, happy times!

Man-Cub feeling totally boss on the go-cart track.

Rosebud having fallen asleep while eating her dinner. She just kept nodding and nodding until Redheaded Snippet finally put her arm under her cheek.

Fidget's footprint on what was left of an anthill.

Being consoled by Papa after being stung by dozens of vengeful ants! Poor little dear!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Back at home

Any guesses where we were?

Now that we've returned and our property is no longer vulnerable to attack, I can share with the world that we decided to use Redheaded Snippet's Spring Break to take our first extended family vacation in probably five years. We all needed it so badly and are realizing that we're running out of opportunities to do so as Redheaded Snippet gets ever precariously closer to graduating from high school.

We threw around a few typical vacation ideas at first: Florida weakly flitted across our radar and we felt we should at least look into it but we came to same conclusion we always come to concerning that idea: too far, too hot, too expensive! NEXT...

D.C.? We stopped overnight in D.C. last summer and took the kids to two of the Smithsonian museums. We all agreed we need to come back for a longer period of time and let the kids see everything! This was what we really thought we were going to do until we both sat bolt upright and said to each other:


What now? What's in Tennessee? Only Dharma, Vance, Fidget and Rosebud, that's what! Why spend a few days running all over seeing monuments and statues and looking at history (all important, don't get me wrong) when we could spend lots more time making history with those who are among the dearest of all to us and who we don't get to see as much because they're so far away?

It was a no-brainer, really.

So, a few phone calls later and our plans were set! Off to Tennessee we went!

We had a fantastic time, but, unfortunately, I've contracted some kind of virus that is making me feverish and itchy all over. So between the fever and the Benadryl, I'm a little loopy. The full-scale vacation report will have to wait.

But I will leave you with this...our trip involved:
1. Historic tornadoes the likes of which have not been seen since The Great Depression
2. A fairy tale wedding (already blogged about that)
3. Ants attack!
4. BBQ! ("Lifts my spirits, I swear it never fails! And the sauce Mama makes just stays there forever if you dare to get it under your nails!" Reference anyone?)
5. One of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in
6. Immeasurable amounts of hugs, kisses and laughs

And more! Until then...