To Alex -

To Alex...who is far away in person, but never far from my heart. I miss you. Enjoy these snippets of everyday family life here in the states.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Not a thing to do....

that could possibly have been more important than what we did, which is nothing. We sat in chairs with our feet up, drank Sangria, ate pizza, talked and laughed as the light slowly faded into dusk. I love my porch.
Oh, and I found out I suffer from spoonerism....especially when I've been drinking Sangria!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


It's finished. This pattern from Ravelry using Malabrigo Silky Merino in Mint Frappe. I used 1.5 skeins because I wanted to wrap myself up in it's silky softness, but I also used size 11 needles to make up for the lighter weight of the Malabrigo. This is heavenly!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Feathers, Fungus, Flowers and bugs

In other words - another fabulous day spent on the water.

I left home at 4:20 a.m. to head back up to the White River on Saturday. This time there were only two of us and we were hoping to get on the water for the sunrise. It didn't happen, for a couple of reasons, but suffice to say it was cloudy enough that it didn't matter. Still, when we quietly pushed off at 7:17, we remained wrapped in a peaceful sensation of quiet and solitude that only early morning can bring. No one else was on the river.

My favorite reason for kayaking is that I can explore places along rivers where I cannot walk and it wasn't long before a bayou drew our boats away from the main channel and into its pathways for a little exploration. One oddity we found was that the bottom of the bayou looked as if someone had spread powdered magenta paint all over. Neither B nor I have ever seen it before and we have no idea what it was. My pictures don’t give a clear image, but I put them here. That said, we found plenty of opportunities to take pictures in the eight hours we spent on the river.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer Time

No, that's not a misprint.....I didn't mean summertime. I really meant Summer time. As in, the time at the end of a workday when my chores are complete and there is still enough sunlight that I can venture out to the porch for a while. Enough time left of the daylight that I can read, or knit, or simply bask in it's warm glow....whatever I want. Yes, Summer time......

(shhhh....I've been known to blow off all chores and just go out on the porch. Yep, guilty.)

And it's not just the light at the end of the day. It's also the extended daylight that allows me to go outside at the beginning of the day to explore the world that is my yard.

When I awoke this morning, I thought it felt overly humid. Looking out the window I realized why. My world was shrouded in a thick, heavy fog. I find the image of this tree, the solitude, to be very soothing to me today.

Later, as I wandered about with my bucket of soapy water collecting slugs (I know, it's cruel, please forgive me), I came across several of these webs in the grass. I spent time squatting next to this one inspecting the design. Is it architecture? Or is it art? The spider came up out of the hole for a bit and we had a very one-sided conversation, which consisted of me commenting on the cleverness of the location and suggesting that s/he must be Mensa qualified to build something so remarkable. For the spider's part, s/he just wiggled his little wigglers at me and disappeared back down the hole.

I did find time last night to get this started on the needles. It's hard to put down.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Escape -

I paddle.....on rivers. I paddle to let go, to release the build-up of responsibility and frustration that can be a part of everyday life. Each time I slide my boat down the bank and into the water I can feel the beginning of release. After I've launched and gotten myself positioned comfortably in my boat I inevitably drop back from my paddling companions until they go around a bend and I lose sight of them. Then I wait, alone and in silence. I simply float, allowing the current to draw me forward as I let slip the clutter that has occupied my mind. As each thought tumbles into the water it becomes diluted and mixed in with the river and is carried downstream, away from me, and still I wait. I wait until.....there it is. That sigh of contentment that escapes my lips and tells me all is right with my world....then I dip my paddle, slowly, first one side, then the other, as push myself forward and into my paddle trip.

I hope you enjoy these snippets of nature from my last escape.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Bliss

Really, considering our family motto, I don't think there's a more accurate shirt for this boy. OK, Grandma Mostly could probably use one as well, but the shirt doesn't come in her size. This lad is an extraordinary story teller at the ripe old age of 5 and although I can spin a story off the cuff with little effort, I am flabbergasted at how easily he spins them - and how detailed they are - and how he readily admits that "they are stories but you should listen all the same." It has to be a genetic gift and one I intend to encourage.

This little one holds my heartstrings. She's the first girl born into our immediate family in 30 years and my goodness does she make the wait worth it. She's a tough girl with a girly-girl edge. I like that. Or is she a girly-girl with a tough girl edge?

I've been making clothes for her dolls and one of the dresses is a pretty little pink check with a ribbon of flowers along the bottom. When she saw it, she swooned, "ohhhh, it's beeeautiful!" Gosh, Miss M, let me make you 10 more when you say it like that.

And then there's this one. He's at that awkward age where he's trying to grow up and exploring what that means, but he still has so much fun as a little kid that he sometimes doesn't know which way to go. He's funny and charming and delightful to hang out with and he makes me ridiculously happy. The two of us went to see Oliver a couple months ago and he kept me laughing the whole ride home with his mimicry and ad libbing of the songs. He's funny I tell ya....

And I love them, in ways that sometimes make my breath catch in my throat leaving me unable to speak without my voice breaking.
There you have bliss.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Alex, guess where I was?

The Manistee River - camping and paddling for 3 days. I pulled up at the shore of our old campsite just to take a peak even though I was sure it was trashed after all these years. Imagine my surprise to see it looking clean and tidy just like we kept it. A good portion of the bank is gone and so is the pine tree I planted, but the old pine tree is there. Remember all the times sitting in its branches or resting in its shade on the bluff? I felt like I needed to pull up my chair and give Shadow a good scratch behind the ears. If I listened hard enough I probably could have heard my children laughing in the woods behind me.

The fire pit is back in the same spot so I couldn't resist a picture of 'our' view of the bend. I'm reminded of another 4th of July when F.Y.S. threw the whole pack of Black Cats in the fire and they exploded. Good grief! How about the times the raccoons would come and crawl around under our chairs - with us sitting in them - looking for food scraps. Or the times we played Stomp with whatever improvised instrument we could scrounge from the camp. Or the time you commented on how soft your fire poker felt only to realize you were holding the charred end and your face was covered with ash from your hands.

Kissing Rock is now a little further from the bank, but it sure brought a smile to my face to see it. So much time was spent playing on and around that rock. The floats down the river from the bluff and using slingshots to shoot marshmallows at paddlers going by.

I had a marvelous case of deja vu. Absolutely delighted to find our home away from home so well taken care of. *sigh* Such an amazing place to grow up.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dinner at 8

I'm feeling very content this morning. F.Y.S and Jewels were over last night for a leisurely evening of conversation, food, Ruby Junes (of course) and then a rousing game of Skip-bo.
Appetizer: goat cheese, water crackers and almonds
Dinner: Asian Ginger Chicken and asparagus tarts

I wish this were a better picture, sorry. Don't judge it by the way it looks because I only remembered to take a picture after we ate and this tart was crazy good!

Dessert: strawberry pie and a delicious dark chocolate, ganache, raspberry cake Jewels made.

Oh, man, had I known she was bringing that dessert I would have scratched everything else and just sat down with a fork and the cake.

We talked, a lot, about different things and it felt so good to get caught up with them. Eventually, F.Y.S. started the chicken on the grill while Jewels and I put the tarts together. I have to tell you how nice it felt to be able to hand a rolling pin to someone and have her know what to do with it. Seriously, I think that's cool to have a fellow baker around because most of my friends are cooks, not bakers. We know there's a difference.

Regarding Skip-bo: I'm curious if other families play games the way we do. For as long as I can remember the house rules have been - there are no rules. If you can 'cheat' and get away with it then it's ok. We know we all cheat, it's expected that someone will cheat and part of the fun is trying to catch them. My siblings, my kids, shoot, my parents played this way. Rules are merely guidelines to keep the game moving forward, but if you can get away with it then cheat til your heart's content. Having said that, poor Jewels is not a good cheater yet. She laughs or looks at you or looks guilty so she never gets away with it. At one point she and F.Y.S. were engaged in a debate over a move he was trying to do while I was shuffling the cards and slipping Skip-bos into my pile. I started laughing real hard, Jewels wondered what was so funny and F.Y.S. said, "she's laughing because she cheated and she's getting away with it." Yes. I. Did! Ok, there is one rule, if you don't get caught you don't have to 'fess up.

Regarding Jewels: Jewels and F.Y.S. have been dating for 5 years. She is going to school for the one thing, but her dream is to open a bakery of her own. Personally, I think she ought to blow off the schooling and just get to baking because the schooling is only getting in the way of my heaven. *grins* Oh, and she knits socks. Come on......she is too cool.