"At middle age the soul should be opening up like a rose, not closing up like a cabbage."
-John Andrew Holmes

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Last Few Mouthfuls




This week has been chock-full of all the best of the season: wildflowers, corn on the cob, amazing body surfing, golden sun, grilling, ice cream, parties, picnics, laughter, extra hugs and a touch of sunburn thrown in for seasonality.



When we are about to switch gears like this, summer into crisp fall, hot weather into cool nights and leaf scented breezes, (pumpkin lattes, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin lattes...) it's easy to just throw out the baby with the bath water and in our excitement about the next stage, undersell the last bits of the current stage and look right past them into the thing that's coming.





The other day my aunt mentioned that she always feels like September is better beach weather than people are willing to notice, often outstripping June. Let's notice. Let's keep on summering, finishing those lists and squeezing the last little bits out of the season. It's good, you know, to the very last drop.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Ru, Right Now.

Time to have a son-hunt...peer through the minutia of details that make up my oldest and figure out what is new and different, what hasn't been mentioned, what's unique and what is important in his world. Things change, lets notice, shall we?


Ru Likes:


  • The color lime green: His surprising new favorite. I was totally taken aback when he told me. I had no idea. It was red for the longest time.
  • Frozen yogurt joints: This is one of his favorite solo outing locations. The frozen yogurt bars with pump your own machines and a long  buffet of toppings are popping everywhere around here lately so they make handy places to bop in and have some quality one on one. 
  • Friends: This kid is always pushing us to get out there and get connected. He's an immediate fan of going to anyone's house or meeting anyone at the park and is always asking when is the next chance to have a friend over. Love it. 
  • Hugs: This kid can't get enough physical connection. He's my oldest and still one of the snuggliest. A (who is teaching math at our house) has figured out that the best way to sweeten the dreaded subject is to reward hard work on a section with a snuggle session on Daddy's lap. Love that he holds my hand when we are out and about and comes up for a squeeze whenever he thinks of it. I hope he holds onto his love for affection and warm touch. 
  • Leave It to Beaver: You can thank me. I introduced him and now his brothers and Lockbox are subjected to an instant suggestion of, "What About Leave It To Beaver???" whenever we get a few minutes to watch a little show. They are not fans. Oops.
  • Combing his hair in funky ways: I think I need to buy him some gel. He's old enough anyway...every morning I have "comb your hair" as part of each boy's morning routine and he got really excited about it when he realized that meant he could comb it however he wanted. Almost every morning when he goes up to brush, he comes down with a new part or a zany do. Have to take pictures of them and post a collection. We have a Crazy Hair Day coming up this semester in our co-op we are part of....I think he'll be pretty pleased. I see him nailing it.
  • What Does The Fox Say: I have a pre-teen. He looks and sounds just like a pre-teen when "his song" comes on....more so when he has guy pals rockin' along with him in the car to this insanely ridiculous song. 


Ru Detests:


  • The word "sassy:" We have been having a challenge with getting him to remember to make respectful word choices and remember to use a polite tone of voice. Somewhere along the line I picked up this word and reflexively use it to remind him. Somehow its like nails on a chalkboard. He hates that word, I'm trying to walk a line between remembering to use a word that he isn't so reactive to (rude, inappropriate, disrespectful) and trying make sure he remembers to be polite even when I do use the word sassy. Tricky stuff, this parenting gig.
  • Spaghetti squash: At our house spaghetti night means spaghetti squash with the customary pasta fixins. Ru has taken to skipping the squash which he claims gives him a headache (tall tale? Hmm) and just eating the meatballs, sauce and cheese. I hated all squash as a kid and he still eats other kinds with impunity so I feel bested. 
  • Making his bed: He has a top bunk. Making bunk beds is the worst. I hated it that part whenever I slept in a bunk bed and I hated it all through the years when he couldn't make his own bed yet and I was making his bunk bed. Making bunk beds is the worst.
  • Having his nails clipped short: Every time I trim his nails he's after me to be sure to leave him a little extra space. I even bought him a nail brush so that he could keep his slightly longer nails clean. Maybe he's destined to be a classical guitarist? I wouldn't cry.
  • Readers: He's learned to read and he realizes that "readers" are dumbed down fake books with thin to no storyline. He recognizes that giant print and the absurdly clipped words and he's not down with that and he's no dummy. Time for real books. Big boy stuff, yo.
  • Mosquitoes: I mean, who doesn't, right? But, seriously...he's my paranoid skeeter man at the moment. Maybe its living in our yard where we have somehow managed to cultivate a special environment friendly to mosquitoes, they descend in clouds in the late afternoon. He's our bug repellent guard dog, anytime he notices bugs biting he runs in and gets the spray to douse his brothers and himself and then when that particular stage of the evening arrives where they become irrepressible he shoos his brothers inside because he doesn't want anyone chewed up. Love his vigilance.
  • Strict People: Some people thrive with structure and love people who make the firm lines clear to them. Some people respect leaders who are disciplined, and then some people feel like those kinds of adults are walking around with a stick up their rears. Ru really doesn't like extra stern folks, extra strict people and people who are very hard-line about rules. If you can't loosen up, you might not end up on his favorites list. The idea of martial arts has kind of faded after visiting a class we thought we'd put him in around the corner with a very strict, traditional teacher, direct from Japan. Ru blanched and said, "Um. How about skateboards?"





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Friday, August 22, 2014

Poetry Friday: One For Therapy



Dear World,

Its Poetry Friday. The weekend can begin now. A little balm for the soul, a little meaning for the road, a little dose of wisdom coated with deep noticing for what ails you. Lets have a poem.

A Poem For Hard Times

Poems are where your sobs come out in
Pointy, adverb strings, all the clauses sticking
Together like mucus or stress or a migraine the size of Canada.
We can click or scribble the physicality of
Our upset, the ocean liner size of it all
Honking out our lumbering pain, rhythmic (or not)
We can write stories we never owned that tell the
Fizzing, splattering, drippingintheicecolddark feelings that we live.
Poems can be canvasses for smearing our bright
Progress...the passage from a thick, globby raw umber
To a smeared gloss of cerulean blue in the far corner.
We can have poems that are for chewing on,
Instead of gnawing holes in our childhood loveys
Between our bone grinding sobs.
Poems can be there. They can hack it.
Poems don't blush or tell, or give a damn.
A light drift of verse can also be a rope out of the pit.
When you have cried yourself to sleep and wake up
Hollow, rasping in your shell
A poem can wink at you and kiss your hand
Pulling you upright, into the world and yourself.
And then it will lie there, after you have dressed,
Gleaming on your pillow while you make it into your bed
Waiting for you between your sheets and the quilt.
.


You can find other contributors at Live Your Poem, where Irene Latham is hosting this week's jamboree. Have a mug of tea, sit in silence and contemplate your own breath, read a  poem for each down beat of you heart and then have Saturday. Happy Weekend, Friends. May there always be poems in our brains....

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