Monday, October 15, 2012

Quintessential Autumnal Scenes Followed by Crushed Ideals

 The following photos speak for themselves:

 A few weeks ago, I came across this kickass four-wheeler at a garage sale. It's pretty sweet, with enough power to transport both children. I couldn't really pass it up.

 We usually make a point to foster creative play that doesn't require batteries. We're earthy, crunchy granola moms. We find fun in arts and crafts, walking in the woods and going on canoe rides.  Anyone who has read this blog for more than a minute will attest to the fact that our kids like to commune with nature. And by nature, I mean mud.

We've succeeded in keeping them as"unplugged" as possible. We've delayed the inevitable as much as humanly possible in this technological age. Fiona may be the only eight-year-old without a DS game or Wii or whatever it is kids play with these days. "AND IT'S NOT FAIR!" It's becoming more and more evident that the end is near. Technology is addictive and it's everywhere.
Our neighbors gave Cyd the adorable Barbie car, which is also motorized.

It's difficult to legitimize this type of play. All they're doing is sitting on a piece of plastic and making it move around. They're using energy that is not their own. Where's the educational value? Where's the creativity? Well, it's nowhere in sight.

But when we brought the giant, yellow piece of equipment out of its hiding place on Sunday, the smile and look of wonder on Fiona's face was enough to justify the crushing of our hopes and dreams. Laura looked at me and said: "Yeah, this was worth it."  I agreed. Joy conquers all.

It's OK for them to just have mindless fun. They're kids. It's their job. Also, now, I can have my damn iPhone to myself again.

Peace out.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Life of the Party

(Written on my 21st birthday)

his freshly clipped fingernails
brushed the purple veins of my wrist
as he reveled in his red wine
about Chekhov and the seagull
and they listened
like broken street lights
right after dusk
it was a sin

to watch her
focus her sparse attention
on the fly
crawling on her polished dessert spoon
finding nothing
but clean

they didn't notice
our aberrations of now
his hand playing
with my cheap
metal wrist watch
and the sudden warmth
of our faces
the burning leaves
and the scent
of skin

as they drank
the remaining drops
of their irish coffee
we secretly fled like thieves
briefly danced in the garage
his breath finally close
enough to touch
and i asked him again
to tell me what is real
not caring
that he's a liar.


the silence
into impenetrable
a sentence
connects tightly
among these lapses
tangled truths
swimming with neurons
discover passages
the only breath

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Moral of This Blog: At Least the Children Survived

We spent the weekend in Trafalgar, Indiana, Laura's hometown. It was festival heaven at Apple Works. If you're ever in that neck of the woods (just north of Bloomington), you should stop by this apple orchard. It will BLOW YOUR MIND. But only if you like apples, and nature, and animals, and scenic walks over bridges.

Photo by Ann Young

I was so proud of Fiona. I could tell she was hesitant to ride the pony. I think she talked herself into it, seeing how excited Cyd was about the prospect. We didn't pressure her to do it, but she was clutchy, as she made up her mind. And she almost changed her mind at the last minute. But she did it. Fear and all. She confessed, after, that she was gripping Laura's hand really tight because she was scared, but not too tight, because she didn't want Laura to worry. I love that firstborn girl of ours. With all her fears and compassion and bravery.

I barely remember what the children look like, what with all the face painting.
There was a mime balloon artist at this festival. Holy hell, this woman was on it! She was totally in sync with the children, without even uttering a word. There was a light about her that you seldom see in adults, even those who work with children. She connected with them. She read them. We watched her with other children and then both Fiona and Cyd joined in on the fun. Fiona was reluctant, at first, but by the end, she was totally on board. She was hypnotized.

Cyd listened intently, entranced.

Photo by Ann Young
Photo by Ann Young.
I think baby Parker is scared of tigers.
When we got back to the house (and by house, I mean the Stine farm, which is a million acres of wonderful), the children wanted to go to the creek.

Of course, they wanted to get in the water. But I reasoned with them: it's cold out. Also, we may roast marshmallows later. Truth be told, I was wearing Laura's favorite orange suede Keens, which I did not want to get wet. Also, it WAS cold. I had a case.

They settled with throwing rocks into the creek from the very high bridge at the entrance of the property, otherwise known as "Death's Knoll". I was a basket case, imagining one of them falling to their deaths as they found larger and larger stones to throw. Laura wasn't there to appease my neurotic fears, as she usually does.

"Do you think they would consciously jump over the edge?" she has asked me in the past, bewildered by my constant clutching of them. She must have forgotten the time that Cyd DID THROW HERSELF TO HER (almost) DEATH as she drove her tricycle off the deck. I have REASONS!

I took some photos but they turned out pretty blurry. Probably because I was shaking like a damn helicopter mom.

At least the children survived. And it's all because of me.

So, instead of getting soaked in the creek, they decided that getting dirty would just have to do. Fiona rolled down the hill.

Oh, and there was the mud hill. (It's not a real thing. The children created it. Apparently, they are not alive unless they're covered in mud.)

My children of the corn. 
A few photos from our Sunday morning hike.
Yes, they're wearing wigs. In the woods. 

 Doesn't this remind you of the little girl from Little House on the Prairie (except for the red wig):
 Fiona is the best big sister. 
 Also, she may get devoured by the big bad wolf on her way back to grandma's house.

Peace out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Food, Poverty, and Amy Ray

Here we are on Wednesday and I'm finally getting around to this blog, which pertains to this weekend, which was three days ago, which, in blog years, is three and a half weeks.

I've been busy helping Fiona with her caterpillar model project, as well as helping Cyd stay among the living. These things take time. Not to mention all of my energy.

It was a typical weekend spent enjoying family togetherness, culinary joy, and friends with basil.

On Friday, we went to the 800 Degrees Pizza place. And, holy shit. We had been there once before and it was great then. This time, we tried the "Rocket" pizza, which was topped with fontina, prosciutto, and arugula. (Do I need that coma before the "and"? I'm still not sure.) We thought, WTF, arugula? On pizza? That's weird. But the saltiness of the prosciutto with the peppery freshness of the arugula made this one of the best pizzas we've had in a while. If not ever.

Saturday, I made chicken broth to use on Sunday for a chicken and dumplings recipe. I love to make broth, almost as much as I love to make French Onion soup. I suppose I cherish the slow, leisurely process.  There is no pressure. You throw all the ingredients in a pot and let them simmer for as long as it takes you to finish your novel. Also, it makes your house smell like Thanksgiving.

I know I must sound like such a housewife (not that there's anything wrong with that), but I really enjoy being in the kitchen. It's fulfilling. It's just food, but for me, it embodies creativity, and meditation, and music. I think of cooking in the same way I think of poetry.  The combination of ingredients/words can make a meal/sentence perfect/brilliant.
 There was a heart in my broth. Superbly adorable.
 We had a ton of broth, so we froze some, and gifted some to our friends. Because, who doesn't love homemade chicken broth with simmering hearts. Well, I guess vegetarians don't. And heartless people.

 More soup photos.
 Last one, I swear.
On Sunday morning, I made potato latkes. I love these, mainly for the toppings, which, in this case, were sour cream and maple cured salmon.

I could spell out the recipe, but 1.  I'm kind of lazy, and 2.  I didn't follow it. So, what's the point? You can click here, and get the gist of it. I recommend adding carrots and any other root vegetables you have on hand to make it extra healthful.

It's not hard to make. You shred a bunch of potatoes, with onions and your veggies of choice. Mix it with flour, eggs, and spices. And voila.

They're a lot better than the potato cakes from Arby's. A LOT.
 Also, we totally drank champagne before noon.

Sunday afternoon, we got together with friends to make a large batch of pesto. We made pestos of all kinds. Because we believe in diversity. There was walnut pesto. Pine nut pesto. Almond pesto. And even tarragon pesto. When we were tired of making pesto (i.e. we ran out of basil), we made herb vinaigrette.

This next part should be another blog entry, but let's face it, this blog is all over the place because this is who I am. Except, without most of the angst and darkness, because nobody really wants to read about that crap.

We're trying to do better. Laura and I. To be better people. This past Saturday, as we drove home from the children's dance class, downtown, we saw the crazy huge crowd of runners/walkers involved in the Fort4Fitness marathon. It was really quite inspiring to witness Fort Wayne come together for the purpose of good.

Then we started to talk about poor people and how infuriating it is to hear them continually depicted as lazy and just waiting around for a handout, at the expense of tax payers' money. The bottom line is that poverty in this nation is a reality and it's inexcusable. The fact that children are going to bed hungry, in our own town, is inexcusable. And what are we doing about it? Not enough.

We're going about our pampered lives, spending way too much money making gourmet food for ourselves, for our friends, while a family out there is barely able to survive on the food stamps for which they qualify. It's a travesty and it makes me feel hopeless and guilty and sad. Because it's all about me, apparently.

All that rambling being said, we have vowed to start giving more of our time and resources to help others. Our meager donations to our favorite not-for-profits and our convenient United Way payroll deductions are not enough. We need to be more personally involved.

Also, we need to start running marathons and finally convert to full-fledged vegetarians. These are lofty goals, but we'll get there eventually. I'm almost certain of it. Did you know that Amy Ray is a vegetarian? Enough said.

Wait. One more thing: We're going to see The Indigo Girls in concert in November! IN BLOOMINGTON! Sorry about the all caps, but this type of excitement cannot be contained.

Peace out.