Thursday, July 31, 2008

happy birthday, dear Harry

Today is Harry Potter's birthday. He is, I believe, 28.

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter.

I'm not one of those who never picked up a book until I met you (far from it, actually) but you have made my summer reading more pleasurable for being there.


{Here's a trippy little side note: In the Epilogue of The Deathly Hallows, we get a glimpse of Harry's future 19 years after he defeats Voldemort. Nineteen plus seventeen means he's 36 years old; so as of today, he hasn't yet lived that little snippet of his life.}

Monday, July 28, 2008

sometimes, life

In France, in a little town called St. Brieuc, lives this sculpture. I used to ride past it almost daily, on my bicycle.

It fascinated me, and occasionally I would stop and walk around it in wonder, feeling a kinship with this man of stone attempting to emerge a whole and formed being from the massive rock. He is attempting the impossible, every straining muscle attests to the difficulty of his task; and yet he has made progress, for there he is before our eyes emerging as something stronger and more defined than perhaps initially imagined.

This sculpture resonates with me because I understand that kind of struggle; it resonates with me because I want that kind of hope.

There are days when I look at this photograph and I know just how he feels.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

the difficulty and theory of two

Here's my son. The two year old. He's a sweet kid, so I have watched his transition into the behavior that is often classified with his current age with interest. Since he is my third child I think I've been a little more philosophical about his tantrums and outbursts.

But I've also thought about it more.

I think the difficulty is this: your body isn't quite where your brain is. You know certain things can be done. You know what you want. But either you lack the ability to do it yourself, or to explain what it is you want to someone else. BUT YOU KNOW IT CAN BE DONE!!! and so you throw yourself on the floor screaming, because if you know something is available, then the wise all-knowing adult should be able to figure that out.

Unless you don't want help. Which is also a characteristic of Two. Because you are learning that you can do it yourself! Oh the power! The possibilities! THE FREEDOM! The Terrible Freedom Right Before Your Eyes. Do you run towards it? Away from it? Wrestle in down and scream in it's ear because it's making life difficult for you at times?

The answer is yes. All of the above.

I have a theory than being a teenager is simply an extension of being two. I just hope some of that red-hatted sweetness shows its way through the utter difficulty of being, yet not being, an adult -- like it does now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

to be sung to a tune

Come on now, every one! And the staph came back, the very next day. The staph came back! They thought it was a goner but the staph came back, it just couldn't stay away oh, no, no, no, no! Oh no! No, no, no, no!*

Did I tell you I had an allergic reaction to my sulfathamoxazole, or what ever antibiotic it was I was taking? I did. Half way through I broke out into spots. Which was fine. Except then I couldn't take an antibiotic, and my little leg sores flared up again, so now I am back on ANOTHER antibiotic. And I can only hope my body doesn't mind this one, because I am running out of antibiotics that my body likes. Also, I am getting tired of not being able to pursue the rigorous cleaning and mothering schedule to which I pretend to be accustomed.

The point is this: My current antibiotic fling requires round the clock attention. Two little blue pills every six hours and I can't lie down for half an hour after taking a dose. Why? I'm afraid to ask, so I don't know.

I got my evening dose a little later than usual tonight so now I'm up waiting for the clock to tick-tock away those minutes until I can take my blue meds, stand up for 30 minutes (okay, probably sit) and then go to bed.

I'm writing this so that you can feel sorry for me.

I guess I'll go drink an Izze and read Harry Potter because what else is there?

And yes, I did already finish the series for my summer reading marathon with the exception of Book 2 which I glanced through, but never really liked all that much and so didn't read, but Book 7 was so dang enjoyable I've been perusing through it again just for fun.

* The appropriate tune is, of course, to the song "The Cat Came Back" which you should have learned in elementary school.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

wedding day report ~ sister's version

Kimberly is the middle child. Even more than most middle children are middle children; Kim has five siblings ahead of her, and five behind.

As she and her new husband danced to their song at their reception last night, I cried. I looked at the faces of my family as we circled around her, especially the face of my father, crinkled in love and joy and a little bit of sadness; it's a wonderful thing to see someone happily and newly married. But, it's never the same afterwards and that's just how it is. That's not a bad thing. In fact it's a good and necessary thing. It's a thing.

My very favorite moment came at the end of the evening when a song long ago made famous at my house came on. And, as planned, all of the sisters came together in a big circle and started dancing practiced moves learned from watching the music video over and over and over again. We laughed. We danced. Our brothers joined in, then the cousins, then friends. My brother started a train and we all followed. All the girls had long since abandoned their black heels.

It was a good moment. It was that moment that said no matter what happens, no matter where we go, no matter how near or far we may be in geographical distance, that we will always be close, we will always be friends, and we will always love to get together and dance.

Right before we sent them on their way I gave them each a hug. I told him to take care of her. He said he would. And I believe him. I love you Kimberly and Kevin.

wedding day report ~mother's version

The crazy woman in the minivan touching up her makeup at every stoplight yesterday? Yes, that was me. Of course, you only saw me, and not my three beautifully made up little girls. Oh, and my son, who had his pants on and nothing else.

We had woken him up from his nap and he was so tired and grumpy he refused to get dressed, so there he was with his blanket, in his black pants, with no socks or shoes or shirt or vest or bright red bow tie. I started to prep him on the way to our destination: my sister's reception. We were going to a party where he could wear his shoes that were like dad's! He could get dressed and see Nana! We could put on his clothes (!!!oh the excitement!!!) once we got there. How wonderful that would be.

By the time we pulled into the parking lot he was cheerful enough to allow me to get him dressed, but it stopped at the buttoning of the vest, and definitely no bow tie. Ah well, you can't have everything.

My children stayed up late, and my legs are sore from running around (that's literal) in heeled shoes that I usually don't wear. My baby came famished to the reception and ate three pieces of a delectable chocolate mouse pie. What's that you say? Too rich for a one year old? Not this one. Ben fed her while I wiped her mouth and hands occasionally with a baby wipe so that we could preserve the pristine quality of her little white dress. I've never been out-eaten at a reception by my baby before, so that was a first.

So ends the tired mother's report of a wedding day. The sister's report will be later. As far as today goes, I'm torn between taking it easy, which I should do, and cleaning my house, which I also should do. All those good things to choose from. My life is not easy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

and on past the Two

Yesterday my little blog turned two years old.

My son is two and so far his year has been characterized with a few tantrums, an explosion of language, some frustration as he realizes his limits, and a general all-around sweetness.

I'm not sure what this next year of blogging will bring. Of course I am always hoping for wild success and lots of money, but I'll settle for some good chocolate and some good comments.

In any case, I can probably guarantee a few tantrums; an explosion of language, if I'm lucky; maybe some frustration as I realize my limits; but hopefully, mostly a general all-around sweetness.

Thanks to all of you who stick around Bells On Their Toes, and here's to year three...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

a pox upon my house! no wait, I was just kidding!

I now have spots. Little red spots breaking out all over my arms and legs, etc. Hives, I believe. An allergic reaction to my antibiotic, I think. At least I hope so, I mean I was eating chocolate last night, and I guess that could be that, but that's so horrible we won't even go there, will we?

So now it's time to throw out the sulfamethoxazole, and take benedryl. Jolly. Have I ever told you I don't really like to take medicine except for the occassional tylenol? So much for that.

The benedryl did a decent job of knocking me out last night. I know this because my daughter was up all night throwing up, and it was her father, while battling an upset stomach himself, who stayed up with her, and not me. But I didn't take enough medicine. I took the lowest dose, hoping it would take care of things, but it did not, in fact my hives are worse. That's not really a surprise, because I noticed the rash just as it was showing up last night.

So now I am left with a conundrum: take more benedryl and leave my children and husband to their own devices? or take nothing until this evening and be itchy and allergic. I should have taken the heavier dose last night.

My baby seems to be getting over her own vomiting phase that has been going since Sunday. I just hope my other two children stay protected from their sister, but since she is the one who was born between them, they'll probably get it from her. I mean, people catch illnesses based on much less solid logic than that, don't they?

I really don't have time for this.

I hate being ill.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Year Ago Today

... I flew home from New York, watching Manhattan get smaller and smaller, the city laid out like a perfect map beneath me, Lady Liberty shining a light to whomever could see her. I was exhausted. My baby was 6 weeks old. I'd spent my fourth of July packing up and not going to a church picnic because our family no longer fit into our small car. I'd been living in a whirlwind, completely aware that I was going to regret not having enough time to adequately say goodbye.

Fast forward to this year. I'm exhausted again; from running around like crazy for showers and weddings and family pictures and just running around. And then trying to stay off my feet for things like staph infections. I can't believe it's been a year, because I find myself telling people we just moved from NY, when, in fact, it's been 12 months, which is a decent interval of time.

I don't miss the humidity. I miss the trees. I don't miss the inherent East Coast expense. I miss the history that sort of falls into your lap anytime you go out.

I'm sorry we weren't there a little bit longer, because I feel like I missed out on some possible friendships. It takes me a while to really make friends with someone; this, for a myriad of reasons I won't go into here; but some of it has to do with generally being an introvert, and spending most of my NY time pregnant.

That said, it's good to be out here, with Ben's job and family, etc., etc. I do like to live in a place where you can actually light your own little fireworks. There are plus and minuses to everything.

But here's to you New York. I hope to get back someday, if only for a nice visit.

Friday, July 4, 2008

FRIDAY, JULY 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

Listen here to the Declaration of Independence read by those who host and report for NPR's Morning Edition.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

word analysis

Polly put the kettle on
Polly put the kettle on
Polly put the kettle on

We'll all have tea

Sukey take it off again
Sukey take it off again
Sukey take it off again

They've all gone away

So, literature 101 class, what does this nursery rhyme mean? Is it a circle of life sort of poem? Is is about the incessant nagging of a parent trying to get a child to take care of their responsibilities? Is it really about the laundry piling up in your hamper waiting to be washed, worn and dirtied again? The ebb and flow of social engagements?

Just wondering.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

something productive to do

I was told by the doctor yesterday, who seemed baffled by my little infection and prescribed me what seems to be a rocking antibiotic, to keep my legs elevated and to take it easy for a couple of days, or maybe a couple of weeks.

So, yeah, sure. I'll do my best to humor him. But at some point I have to run around getting appropriate clothing for the upcoming wedding, etc., etc., etc., etc.

So this morning I have mended my couch, because I could do it sitting down, with my legs sort of elevated part of the time.

What? You don't mend your couch? I bet you don't darn your socks either.

Well, my cushions are slowing falling apart and I cannot afford to reupholster them at the moment and so when a seam splits I sew it up. Or I just turn the cushion around so you can't see the white tufts of batting that are wrapped around the foam squares. But today was the day to tackle some of that project.

The cushions are made out of some sort of imitation leather the name of which I can't for the life of me remember right now, even though I know it. But it's not even on the tip of my tongue, it's just sort of floating aimlessly in the back of my brain. It will emerge sometime. In any case the covering is durable. Easily cleaned, and has lasted forever. Also, it's black, so it has some class to it, despite it's aging condition. But it does like to split at the seams. So that's that.

We picked up our beloved couch at the good will for 60 bucks and it's served us well for many years. The couch is made of a cool wood frame, and has two matching chairs, and someday I am going to refinish them all (and get them reupholstered) and they will look fabulous.

But I'm guessing that my doctor would say not to do that this week. Because I should take it easy. So I will. Just wanted to keep you updated.