Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In a Town This Size

In a town this size, you know dogs as well as you know their owners.
The person you need magically appears at the library.
All of your friends happen to go sledding at the same time.

The car letting you cross the street knows you from church.
Going to the market means walking and chatting along the way.
Your kids would have the same rules at any one else's dinner table.

It's a little bit farmers market, a little bit contra dance.
Ok, maybe too much contra dance.
It's a little bit new money, a little bit no money.
It's a lot of open space.

Fields and forests and hills and dales.
Everyone knows every house because the property is as part of the town as the people.
Deer, rabbit, horses, turkey, bear, an occasional moose.

It's 4th of July Fireworks that make you wonder,
Who on earth pays for all of that extraordinary bang?
It's a Road Race in spring.

In a town this size, there is a friendly back and forth with the curmudgeonly gentlemen in the paper.
A tree lighting ceremony at Christmas.
Where the old butcher whose last name is Blood, makes an impassioned speech for the schools.

It's a little bit creative new ideas.
It's a little bit earthy, grounded, aging hippy.
It's a little bit almost everything you'd ever want coffee shop, but nestled in a strip mall.

Bees, chickens, gardens, syrup, jam
Homestead, homespun, homemade
It's a little bit Martha, its a little bit Joni Mitchell.

In a town this size, if you lose your dog, someone is saying a prayer for his safe return.
It's Lavender Lemonade in summertime.
Quiet, but for the clock striking the hour and the birds that sing.

Photo courtesy of  The Groton Line

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

An Exercise in Commitment

Tenacity. Discipline. Focus. Drive. Get up and go. These things are all hard for me. There is usually something that gets in my way, as in, OK, that's good enough! I'm done. I let myself off the hook fairly readily. While in many ways, this might be a useful tactic, it's not much for goal setting. Which is why I finally signed up for a half marathon.

The race for me is less a practice in actual running, but more an exercise in doing something difficult and really doing whatever it takes to achieve that goal.  Sticking with it. Even when I don't feel like it. This is the challenging part, yet I believe will make the accomplishment even more meaningful.  Sure, the long runs will be painful.  But so is organizing my life around this schedule.  Making this a priority.  Making the commitment.  Putting things first.

  I also believe that I cannot ask other people in my life to do extremely difficult things without putting in a little effort myself. It's hard to ask my son to put more effort into his writing, if I am not following suit. If I want my students to push through their anxieties, their perfections, I should be willing to do this as well.  So its also an exercise in setting a positive example and gaining empathy for the struggle.

One of the best parts about training, I'm finding, is that there are so many ways to feel good about each small step.  I made it out on schedule. I completed the distance I was hoping for. I'm getting stronger.

So how's it going?  So far, pretty good, actually.  When you allow yourself the space to say, "This is really important to me and I'm going to make it happen," its surprising how things fall into place.  That being said, I'm also on summer vacation and have set running as my primary goal. There was a day last week when I was meant to get up a five am, but I was just too sleepy.  I did feel badly, though, most of the day, that I didn't find a way to push through.

I saw wild turkeys this morning. 

When this six months is finished, I may continue on.  I may not. The time limit helped in framing things. I can do anything for six months.  I can do anything.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Top 10 things on the brain, reprieve

1.) Even if the car would be big enough for the five of us, even if we could swing the payment, the trip, would I really be brave enough to knock on the door of some stranger, some long lost distant cousin?  Would I really be able to communicate with no Swedish language skills whatsoever?  How do people do that?? I know they do, but how?

volvo Sweden. PLEASE, Sweden.       Sweden, oh Sweden
2.)  ha, ha, ha. I don't know what I was thinking. While I love the idea of cocktails on the green in the  golden glow of a balmy summer evening while the kids run around in crisp white shirts, I don't think we're joining a country club anytime soon.

3.) I think the boat dream is pretty firmly moored at this time. It's just so much work. Someday.

4.) Since we just hired someone in our department with an emphasis on green candidates, I think its pretty clear I'm not going anywhere. Which is a good thing because I love my job and my people. While I think it makes sense to continually challenge myself professionally, I am currently way more drawn to plants and paint colors. I can't lie.

5.) Ah, a longer race. I technically could. I have two legs. I could. I just don't know where the time comes from. Where does the time come from? It would be an exercise in commitment if nothing else.

6.) I've never really signed the kids up for camp, so its not like I'm whimsically thinking about these things. We went for the one that was a little of everything.  Down side is that its expensive. Up side is that its two weeks of full days and all three kids will be there. Upside is that I might be able to justify the cost and time by painting the house.  This is also the downside, if you needed me to spell that out.

7.) So, the weather pattern has been AMAZING.  Finally rained, for like a week, followed by 3 beautiful sunny days, followed by days of rain, followed by days of glorious sun. Its a miracle. The plants couldn't be happier.

8.) I actually can choose the plants I want myself, and I think, I think, I did a pretty good job!  Really excited about that Pinky Winky.

pinky winky
9.) Easter?  Went with sticky buns and morning glory muffins that turned out to be a little too dry.  That's ok.  The asparagus, goat cheese, sundried tomato quiche was fantastic.

10.) THE DOG... The dog, the dog. I found myself saying the other day that I want a puppy. Really?
Golden.  Nuff said.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The place to be is where you are

Good Morning...
The clock just struck seven and I am eating banana walnut pancakes and sipping hot, hot coffee. I am dressed.  The house is still, for the moment. Yup, that was a thump.  Moment over.  You have to catch it while it's there. 

Since going back to work last year, I have become a firm believer in the power of perspective. Morning commute?  Time to catch up with friends, the news, music or just sort through the stuff in my head. Twenty-five minutes to myself?  Perfect.   Staying late at work?  The ability to follow through with a task and actually get organized.  One of the things that I love about yoga is that it feels like a workout, meditation, therapy, massage, and a facial all at once.  How good is that??  Chris and I went out to dinner last night and decided to walk through town rather than drive.  I think we were gone about an hour total, but if felt like we really got away. Sometimes, that's all you get. Sometimes, that's all you need.  

.Pinned Image

photos courtesy of pinterest, theheavingsurface.tumblr.com

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gimme an F-I-N-L-E-Y

This is yet another lovely drawing by my three year old. While you may be impressed that she can draw eyes and a mouth and a body at such a tender young age, don't get carried away with any precious feelings. This is a picture of a vampire.

How on earth does she know anything about vampires??   What have I done wrong??  I tend to blame birth order and the fact that she is simply exposed to what the older kids are saying. I tip toe into the preschool classroom filled with first borns hoping my daughter's, "Thanks, yo,"  has not caught on. From the car seat behind me, I hear, "CRAP, I forgot something!" I try to monitor the TV at home so that we are only watching "Finley" shows, but it creeps in. It all creeps in.

And you know what the kicker is?  I don't think birth order even matters that much.  She's a wild one, she just has that look in her eye, that twinkle that says, "I'm trouble, just you wait and see."  She's got moves, I'll tell you, moves that come from within, and its just part of who she is. And I can't stop it.

I see this play out at work every day. Sometimes our kids do not turn out the way we would hope. They love hard core music. They don't love science.  They are only into reading, all the time.  They are obsessed with the Lord of the Rings. They won't wear dresses. They will only wear dresses. How do we accept these realities and manage our own feelings of fear and disappointment? Because that's a big part of it. You were hoping for an athlete and you got a magic card player and you might be a little heartbroken that you will never share the bond that you hoped you would with your child. Or you might be fearful of how this will play out in their future.  Will they make friends?  Will they fall in love?  Will they be accepted or ridiculed or unemployable?   In my case, I thought I had a delicate ballerina and seem to have a Dallas Cowboy's cheerleader.  How do you support when your instinct is to cringe?  At any rate, it is your loss and its about you. 

Except that kids aren't about us. They are their own people. Our expectations can be about behavior but they have no bearing on personality. We can raise them with values instilled, but we cannot chose what they like and dislike. The bottom line, however, is that kids want to please their parents. That is a rule of the universe that transcends all gender, race, ethnicity, and cultures. We all want our parents to be proud of us. To be delighted in our presence. To be glad we are around.

They will one day talk about how much we disappoint them.  We were not ambitious enough or did not spend enough time with them.  We were difficult to please or difficult to talk to. We meant well but...Its sort of the same thing. We disappoint them, too.  We're all just human.

One thought is to think ahead. Think to the long term. How might this current trait that is so mortifying or crushing be ultimately a good thing? Does the wild teenager find wisdom and enjoy a more mature decade in their 20's? Does the sports avoidant emerge with their brain fully intact? Does the C student do a wonderful job caring for their friends and being in the moment? Does the Hobbit find great attention to detail that will allow them to be highly successful at work? What might their lives turn out like? At 30? At 50? What are the positive traits that your child possesses that will be an asset to their relationships in the future? Will they ultimately be happy people?

Just as we have to accept our own parents for all of their quirks, just as we accept and appreciate our partners, we must love and find delight in all that our children are. They are their own people and deserve our praise for that alone.  

Friday, April 20, 2012

The right fit...

'Carol Mackie' Daphne'Highlander' BoxwoodPeeGee Hydrangea Paniculata

"Chardonnay Pearls" Deutzia"Chardonnay Pearls" Deutzia
Viburnum-Backyard privacy       oak leaf hydrangea                                                        Spirea for front landscaping
'Ivory Halo' Red Twig Dogwood
  Joe Pye Weed

Friday, March 23, 2012

Welcome Spring!

Robins pulling worms with their tiny yellow beaks, grass that greens by the day, plants that double in size overnight.  Welcome back, old friends!  Its wonderful to see you again!  I can hear you growing!  We have been graced by a week of glorious sunshine, dinner on the porch, and a taste of summer to come. Even the ice cream man made his presence known at an untimely hour!  Yes, indeed, spring is here!

...new place wall treatment
Pinned Image

.mixes of salvias, garden phlox and grasses...works
Photos courtesy of decor8blog.com, flickr.com, bhg.com, pinterest,hgtv.com,google.ca