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, September 24, 2010

All things.

I slept with the windows open last night. I awoke this morning to the wind. Not a breeze, not a draft, no, a full blown wind...and it was warm. Warm as in wet, tropical warm. I lay there for a while listening to the predawn noises, a dog barking in the distance, the trees rustling as their branches were whipped about, the occasional car in the distance and I smiled. I smiled because I realized that the only thing missing was the cheerful musical jingle of the garbage truck as it heralded it's approach so the people would know to bring out their trash. I'm wondering why everything, everything reminds me of Taiwan lately.

a scent, a sound, an outdoor cafe at night, a warm breeze, a crowd of people...a feeling

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's baaaack!

Words can not describe what is happening in this city...again. ArtPrize happened last year and though I only wrote about it briefly, I was there all the time. I plan to be there as much as I can this year too. The weather was wonderful on Tuesday so we rode bikes downtown thinking we could get a sneak peak at some of the art already on display. Ha, downtown was already filled with people doing the same thing. Nearly 2000 pieces of art from artists all over the world on display throughout the city until October 10. I am in awe... 
None of this is real. It's a small portion of a larger sculpture, but will you look at the detail in the hands?
Each piece of pottery is fired individually and threaded onto a metal cable.
The more I looked at this one the more I found. Every angle gave a different perspective of what it could be.
This is just clever...and thought provoking.
This full size lion is made entirely of nails. You know what else is cool? A lot of these sculptures are made to be touched. Some of the art is 'hands off', but there is an abundance that you can touch and interact with.
More nails and also full size.
Ooooh, you should see him in real life. Very large indeed.
A giant aerie. Watch out for the eagle!
This panel and the next one go together as one is the front and the other is the backside. I kept going round and round this and realized that you can clearly see the bottle and two glasses from this side...
but this side shows the table clearly and not so much of the glasses and bottle. How did they do that??
Excuse the noise in this one. I just wanted you to know that it's Tuesday night and downtown is hopping! How cool is that?

I'm gonna have so much fun in the next few weeks. Oh my...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

'Bout time!

That we got back out for a sunrise paddle and took the boy with us.
Apparently, it is possible for the weather to be too hot to paddle. Seems a little odd since we're on the water, but it's the getting ready, and loading boats, and putting them in the water and the fact that we're paddling on the water...not in it. Yes, it's been a very hot summer so I'm thrilled with the break in the heat so I can get back on the water.

He had been sick earlier in the week, but when I called him on Saturday to ask if he was willing to be picked up at 6 a.m. the next morning he said without hesitation, "yes, I'm all better. I'll get up at 5:45 and be waiting for you." He was.
And he was happy about it. That's my boy. This is only the second time he's been paddling and frankly, he's a natural. I thought so the first time, but now I can see he has good balance and he's quick to feel how the boat moves and the different strokes needed to make it move the way he wants it to.
There he goes...not a care in the world...simply relaxed and attentive to the natural world into which he was floating.
These were a pleasant find and though we watched for a while from a distance, we eventually closed them in just long enough to get pictures before giving them lots of room to move away from us. I'm a little afraid of swans (as I should be) and these were noisily chattering and honking at us as they expressed their displeasure at having their exit blocked, if only for a little while.
I'm not sure who was the more inquisitive about whom...the Heron or us? He/she was funny and let us get quite close before flying down the shore.
Hehe...I apologized to D-I-L because I can see he's going to be addicted to 2 potentially expensive hobbies, but that's what we do outside, we document our adventures. It can't be helped.
See? He doesn't go far. Do you suppose he knows we're no threat?
Already angling for the perfect shot.

It was a gorgeous morning to be on the water. I thought it was going to be chilly, but it warmed up quickly in the four hours we spent paddling in and out of coves and across the lake. Not quite as much wildlife as when we were there in the Spring, but it's such a pretty lake that we didn't mind. You know I'm thrilled that he likes paddling so much. I anticipate many grand adventures with this boy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

No picture

I have no pictures for aren't necessary for this story.

I've been busy lately, so so busy and I'm having a difficult time finding quiet so I can refresh my being. After a while, all that busyness begins to make me feel claustrophobic and to compensate, I look for tiny pockets of time in which I can relax for a few moments and feel myself again. Music has always had a powerful influence on my being and I use it often to help me relax. A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to spend some time on my friend's boat and as we're sitting there, chatting with other friends, the most heavenly, glorious music began to play and I nearly choked on my drink as I tried to ask him who was playing. Oh, my goodness! It was a boys choir, Libera, in fact. Have you heard them? You must. They are incredible. I was ready to go buy the cd in that instant, but my friend, bless his heart, handed me 2 cd's and said he knew I would love them. That has been my music of choice since then. I'm instantly calmed and sometimes, while I stand in the living room absorbing the energy, I just smile. As I was listening this morning I started thinking about your grandmother and how I loved to hear her sing, and then I realized that the tone of the boys voices reminded me so much of hers. It was the clear soprano and I was nearly in tears remembering the times I would sit on the piano bench next to her as she played and sang. Wonderful!

She left the piano behind when we moved to the Jenison house and none of you ever had the chance to experience her voice as I did while growing up. I wondered why she would leave it, the piano, how she could walk away from something that was clearly so precious to her. What made her give up such a beautiful gift and whom or what made her think so little of such a gift that she wouldn't impart the importance of it to her children. I found that so sad, that life would deny her the beauty of her music. She grew up with music, she was surrounded by music her whole life. Her parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, all of them filled her life with music and yet something, or someone must have happened to make it seem of so little importance to her. How makes me sad. I don't know, and I no longer have her voice to listen to, but I have Libera...and it reminds me of her. So I listen, and I cry, and I somehow feel refreshed.

So hold fast to your dreams, child of mine, and never let anyone or anything rob you of them. I love you. 媽媽

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oh My Heavenly Goodness!

You know what happens when I'm left alone on a cool drizzly weekend? I end up at the farmers market where suddenly my car is full of delicious treasure and my wallet is empty, like, not one single dollar left. It was time to go home. What heavenly goodness. It certainly filled up my weekend.

1/2 bushel Bartlett Pears - canned. A&P already took 3 quarts and I think Kyle has spoken for 6 pints. Perhaps I should have bought a full bushel?
4 lbs Big Boy Tomatoes - roasted and frozen for Carrot-Tomato Soup this winter. On a side note, I've already got broccoli and asparagus frozen for making this soup over the winter.

Patty Pan Squash - roasted and frozen (okay, some were eaten as soon as they came out of the oven)

Red and Green Peppers - roasted, some were frozen
There was lots of chopping and dicing and slicing while I made Orzo, Feta and Tomato Salad; Tuscan Bread Salad; and Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Garlic. I ate extremely well for the next few days.
Eggplant - sliced, roasted and frozen. Chicken Parmigiana?

Buttercup and Butternut squash - both are stored in the cellar awaiting another cool rainy day, which is always perfect for baking and comfort food

Garlic - lots of it, now stored in the cellar

Nectarines - Most of these were sliced and frozen for smoothies, but I did eat one while emitting euphoric 'mmm-ing' noises because really, is there anything more delicious than fresh ripe nectarines? 

Asian Pears - eaten! These were a complete surprise to find at the market as I've only eaten them in Taiwan with you. Sweet, juicy with a crunch, delicious! I've missed these.
I did some baking. Berry and Buttermilk Cake. Wisely frozen after eating a couple of pieces.
And because I found spelt flour from one of my favorite vendors, I baked a batch of Carrot-Spelt Muffins from Good to the Grain. These are not diet food by any means, but they are the moistest, bestest tasting carrot muffins the history of the entire world even. That's how good they are. Egads. These too, ended up in the freezer. I think I'm less apt to eat the whole plate if they're frozen.
It feels good to have fresh food put up and stored again. I feel so smug and self-sufficient. These muffins are going to be scrumptious with a cup of hot Taiwan tea while watching the snow flutter down soon. know I'll be thinking of you.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This is how we roll!

You know that fun, adventure and curiosity rule the days when we go 'home'.
Um, because the tree was leaning and we had to hold it up so it wouldn't fall on the truck? I know we're not the only ones to do these shenanigans, but I swear, I have yet to witness other families doing what we do. As we were packing to leave, the neighbors came by and said they were going to miss us. that because we're funny and entertaining, or were they being facetious?
Creative and industrious, that's what this son is, especially when said son forgets to pack chairs.
It would be more fun to say that she kept wandering off and this was the only way we could keep her around, but in truth, we all climbed in this log because it was there. I have lots of pictures to prove it, but no one will let me post them. She's standing, by the way.
Of course we rerouted the was going the wrong way!
Must find out where the water comes from. I heard them say they climbed to the top of the falls through the water.
Sand dunes demand that you leap forth into thin air and that you scream for bloody joy as you do so. By the way, if you look close you will see white caps on the water. We were ridiculously high up. A sign said it was only a couple minutes to the bottom, but over an hour to climb back up. This is the old log slide.
Monkey see...
He had this delightful little sing-song to his voice as he danced a jig on the platform.
Off to go exploring...again. This boy would have stayed on the beach the entire trip if we had let him.

I think you can figure these out.
This was new this year - adventuring via boat. I must say that the view from the water was incredible. I heard 'wow' at least a bajillion times as we cruised up and down the coast.
I love this. I just do. A boy and his dog.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Darling, imagine my surprise...

as I wandered aimlessly about the pier, reading names etched into the metal and exploring the graffiti covered rails when I suddenly stumbled across these.
These have to be from no sooner than 1998. I believe that's the last time we were here with your grandmother since neither of you would go once she became too sick to go with us. I almost remember you telling me you did this. What a delightful surprise.
This one certainly doesn't look the same as he did all those years ago,
And he certainly had no thoughts of her back then. Remember the clay pit?
Some things do remain the same though. He still looks for agates,
and now she looks for them too. Did you know she fell in love with the place from the moment she first arrived 3 years ago?
I never would have let him do this when you were both younger, but I had no fears of him reaching for the waves now.
She was a little apprehensive, but the power of the waves bade her come closer. I'm sure his encouragement helped.
Simply enjoying the power and beauty of nature and her tempestuous ways, letting down their guard just for a moment...
And nature did did they...and then we went to find her some dry clothes.