August 28, 2013

in my head

I'm sure I'm not alone in this, it must be something most, if not all parents face. At least I hope I'm not the only one. I often find that I have an image in my head on how things will play out. Not big things. I'm bot sitting here imagining my children graduating from Harvard (not that I don't think they could go to Harvard) or our family winning the lottery. Little things. Everyday things. A peaceful dinner where we all use good manners and laugh and joke and smile and where Evelyn actually eats without gagging over every bite of green. A drive to Burlington that doesn't include whines about when will we get there or I'm hungry or I'm bored. I'm easy to please, really, I just want peace and happiness.

But the reality is that most of the time things do not turn out like I imagine them in my head. Sure, sometimes they are better, but often things just seem to go pear shaped. Nothing terrible or cataclysmic, just not very smoothly. Let's take the first day of school. That would be today.

We were ready. I mean, we had the backpacks packed, new clothes laid out, snacks in containers, hair washed, nails clipped, gas in the car, alarm clock set. It should have been easy. It wasn't. Briton woke up so far on the wrong side of the bed that he should have fallen off. Everyone needed to use the bathroom at the same time causing a bottleneck that led to breakfast being late. And then someone (hint, it was the person who woke up grumpy) didn't want pancakes with sprinkles. He wanted a ham sandwich. And the fact that we didn't have ham caused yet another whirlwind of grumps.

Eventually, a little bit on the late side but still with plenty of time to get to school, we piled into the car and headed out, only to find the road closed (who closes a main road into town on the first day of school?) So the long way it was, pulling in two minutes late, where they had to leap out of the car without much of a goodbye. No walking them to their classroom, no hugs, just a "go! go! go!" The only consolation was a blown kiss from Evie and a comment from Briton as we pulled into the parking lot that he would try to have a "less complainy day tomorrow." (thank goodness for that).

No real drama. But just not...right. You know? What can be done? We could get up earlier, go to bed earlier, put the kids to bed in their clothes for the next day? Something would, inevitably, still go awry. That's just the way of the world,  I think sometimes I set myself up for failure by expecting moments like that to be normal when, really, life with kids is never normal. Life period is never normal. So, deep breath. Let it go. Expect the chaos, right?

And as it says in the greatest book of all time, "tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it."

But I think I'll leave early tomorrow. Just in case the gods of road construction are still against me.

August 20, 2013

out my window

Last week, while hunting for an errant chicken lost in the woods (I didn't find her but she came back two days later, I kind of wonder what she was doing to stay alive out there) I came across one red leaf, laying in the middle of the path by the fairy house. A fall leaf.

Here and there, as we drive from the house to the village and back again, there are signs that fall is coming. At first I thought we had some sick trees around here, that the cool summer and copious rain had fool them somehow. But that only held up when it was just a tree or two. It is daily becoming evident that fall is coming up fast as more and more trees shift from summer green to early fall greeny gold or even red. Last night I sat in our room watching the sun going down over the tree tops and realized that the big beech tree out our window is dappled yellow and green now. If I let my eyes loose focus it all looks green, still summer, but if I really look, I see fall.

In the evenings we pull on sweaters or head upstairs early where it's always a little warmer and yesterday Evelyn wore tights. She was peeling them off by lunchtime, of course, but in the morning, and then again after dinner, there they were. Tights. Sweaters. Hot cups of tea. I love fall. I'm a little surprised at it's early appearence this year, and a little nervous that all those things that need to be done before the real cold comes are no where near done, but still, it's (almost) fall. So I can't complain.

August 19, 2013


Oh my. The years seem to be flying past. Eleven! How did that happen? The other day I was cleaning out the basement and opened his box of baby things. There right on top, was the sweater I knit him before he was born. The sweater that almost killed me. That he only wore once before it was too small. (Actually, considering I had only knit one scarf before that sweater, I'm pretty amazed that I acomplished a raglan sleeve cardigan with a ribbed collar in bobble yarn - bobbly yarn! Why!- at all)
It seems like yesterday that he was small enough to wear it. And now he is eleven. I know I say that every year. Each summer I am amazed that my babies are bigger still than they were the last year. Eleven. And then it will be Twelve. And then, well, I don't even want to think of that word that lies after twelve. Teen. Eeks. I am not ready for teen. How, oh how did it happen that yesterday he woke up and was eleven?

August 9, 2013

the upside of a damp summer

Actually, to say this summer has been a damp one, well, that's not really painting a very accurate picture of what it's been like. Torrential might be a better word. Thunderstorm after thunderstorm. We haven't made much progress on our rain garden simply because every few days it gets filled up with sand that is washed down the drive (leftover from years of sanding the road above us we suspect). Our creeks gush and churn, white and rapid instead of languid and slow the way they were last summer. We've probably put down twenty pounds of grass seed through the summer in an attempt to grass up the area that used to be the driveway but I would guess that only a quarter of that has gotten the chance to root before it's been washed away.

But on the upside, there have been benefits too. The cool days and cooler nights. Knitting and reading away Saturdays when it's too rainy to go outside. The green green everywhere. No burnt summer grass or dry crinkly woods here. It's lush and fresh and beautiful.

And an orchid which has sat, unwatered (literally) for years now. I kept it for the leaves, never thinking that I could get it to bloom again and then one day I walked by to find a new shoot reaching toward the window. I've watched it, each day, as the buds grew and swelled, wondering if it really would bloom until today, when I came down stairs to find one perfect, pink blossom. A Friday greeting to remind me that there is always an upside to the storm.

August 5, 2013

lovely old lady

Not me, of course. Although with a birthday this week, I am feeling a little old. The lady I'm talking about, though, is this pretty little 1928 Singer 99.

Don't you have a Singer 99 already? Well, yes, yes I do. But a girl can never have too many sewing machines, right? (Ahem)

Last week a friend sent me an email asking if I'd like to adopt a vintage sewing machine. I looked at the pictures she sent, gazed up into the living room where my 99 is sitting, still unworking in it's bentwood case and over to where (one of my three) Brother machines (one is loaned to a friend though, so really only two) was tucked behind the piano and thought, "Four sewing machines is probably enough." And then I said "Yes! I'd love it."

Will, wonderful man that he is, didn't even bat an eye when I told him I had an antique sewing machine in the back of my car. He just hauled it into the living room for me, where I spent the better part of the weekend futzing with my new toy.

Because this one? She works. And her decals are all perfect. And ALL the attachment (The ruffler foot! It's so fun!) are tucked into the original box.  She's a little stiff from years of disuse but inside her little drawer were all the little bits that she came with 85 years ago. And after some oiling and a little coaxing, she's been whirring along. Well, not whirring, still chugging a little, but the more I use her, the better she's running. I suspect that I need to open up the machine a little more to clean out decades of fluff and grease to really get her going.

I'm still getting used to the knee pedal, which, after years of using a foot pedal feels a little strange. But I'm getting there, and so is Evie, who has already finished a toy she was making on it and who has her eye on the one in the Bentwood case, if we can get it working (now that I have one working, I think I can figure out the other. Yeah, yeah, that was my reasoning all along) because she would like a machine of her very own please.

There's something so beautiful about these old machines, I don't think the new ones, snazzy as they are (and I could never give mine up. It makes perfect button holes. And pretty stitches! And, you know, does things like back stitch and zig zag. All very necesary) will ever be as elegant. And the fact that after 85 years, some of which were spent sitting unused, she fired up the first time, well, that's pretty amazing.  I know it's a cliche but I really think they don't make them like they used to.

Now, I need to find a good dress pattern for some back to school sewing. Any recommendations?

August 2, 2013

summer days

I've been a terrible blogger these days. I have no excuse. I suppose I have nothing exciting to share, it being the lazy part of the summer with nothing much more on the plate besides wandering down to the creek or out to the lake. Or perhaps it's just that we are too busy doing the things of summer for me to stop and write. Mixing working from home with summer fun does tend to fill up the days, not with anything exciting, just the stuff of living. It's so much more fun to putter down to the store and have a Popsicle by the creek than to sit at the computer and work after all. So when I do sit down it's to frantically meet a deadline.

Hoping you are having a lovely summer Friday out there.