Monthly Archives: July 2013

resolution check in

Summer is wrapping up soon, so it’s a good time to check in on the New Year’s Resolutions and see how they are coming along – or not coming along.

2013 Resolutions

1.  Stop biting my nails.

Still going strong. Occasionally I still apply Barielle No-Bite Pro Growth when I find myself with my fingers in my mouth too much. It’s a hard habit to break, but not impossible. I still think I should treat myself to a manicure to celebrate, but I’m sort of too cheap. I’d rather go out to lunch.
2.  Floss better.  Maybe I should say 2.  Continue my rock star flossing.
Eh. A good week = four times a week.  I can’t help it if I get tired and lazy after watching old episodes of Arrested Development and then just want to go straight to being tired and lazy in my bed.

3.  Fold clothes immediately upon removal from the dryer.

Not so much. I try to like this household chore – you know, celebrate the fact that I have both clothes and machines to clean and dry said clothes – but it’s still not very exciting.

4.  Put some curtains up in F’s room and get rid of the foam core at the windows.

I ordered the expensive fabric, then it got backordered, and then it finally arrived where it was immediately transferred to under E’s bed. I have the magical month of September in my mind for beginning all of the sewing projects I have planned for the holidays. We’ll see how that goes.

5.  Finish the bookshelves.

Done and done. I still want to get the ladder out and shift things around a bit, but I’m waiting until my foot is good and healed. I love the shelves SO much, and my living room / library makes me very, very happy.  Completely worth the time, effort, $$ and wait.

6.  Practice patience (in parenting).

How is this measured?  I’m not really sure.

7.  Run three times a week, minimum.  

I was doing so, so very good on this – not always three times a week, but always two really good, long runs. Then I was in a boot, and slowly back out of a boot. Luckily the PT I’ve been prescribed to do is keeping me from feeling like a completely lazy person, but I’m really looking forward to walking / running again soon.

8.  Organize the house files.

Yes, I did a lot of this. But it’s amazing how those piles just come right back. I did get all of the house stuff in the beautiful binders I bought, but they could still use some organizing. I also got tabbed dividers that I want to print actual photos of the house on to keep the various sections divided and organized, but I haven’t done those yet. Seems like a winter project.

9.  Go on more dates with M.  

We’ve completely slacked on this since May. Need to get this back on the schedule, stat.

10.  Clean up more during the week to free up the weekends.
Hmmm, not so much. Being in a boot (and the couple of painful weeks before the boot) really took me off my feet and off my game. M’s kept things going really well – he’s a better cleaner than I am – but we’ve been really wiped lately, so we’re not magazine ready around here by any stretch of the imagination.
There it is – nothing too exciting, just trying to keep myself accountable.

scenes from a sunday

This weekend was kind of a mixed bag for me. I love that E is old enough to enjoy extended visits with her grandparents and cousins, but by the end of those weeks I think I’m missing her more than I even let on to myself. The boot on the foot was really starting to be a drag (completely literal there), and the physical therapy sessions have been ninety minutes of some serious work. A part of me sort of loves the fact that I’ve got an hour and a half of a PT’s focus on my strength building, but it (and the crooked boot walk) were really starting to wear me out. It’s been gorgeous with a capital “G” here, and all I want to do is go for a long walk, or better yet, a long run, but instead I’m doing clamshells on a vinyl wrapped table in a rehab space. M and I started off last week with a late night work session for a project we’re helping out on at school, and I always find it’s hard to recover from a big out-of-state weekend trip and a couple of late, late nights with much grace intact. By Friday night I was wiped.

I try to go into the weekend with a better attitude, but I’ll admit it was a bit of a struggle. I took the boot off for a bit at home (as instructed) and it hurt. That was completely discouraging. I put the boot back on so that we could make a quick trip to the mall to hopefully see the side tables we’ve been eyeing for awhile now at the newly opened West Elm. They didn’t have any, and guess what?  They are phasing them out, and so our plan to slowly purchase them isn’t really a plan at all. 

The easy solution to this? Buy them now. But it’s not that simple, at least not for me. 

I was trying to describe this to a friend, but it’s not a really easy thing to describe. It sort of boils down to this: I don’t like to shop. I’m pretty particular about what I like and what I don’t like, and if I’m going to spend money on something then I want it to be the right thing. I’d rather do something once, and do it right. If you’ve visited my house you probably can understand this – I’d rather live in an unfinished project then spend time and money on some stopgap method. I’d rather find one perfect pair of shoes and wear them all the time, until they are worn through, than have a closet full of shoes to choose from each morning. But the flip side to this personality quirk is that everything feels so undone, so incomplete, so temporal.  

So I found myself annoyed, and annoyed at being annoyed. And annoyed by my foot, and my overtired child in the backseat, and the missing child in the backseat, and all the various things in my life (spoken and unspoken) that make me feel like I’m treading water. The weight of the world was on my shoulders, and I have no right at all to even call it the weight of the world because what do I know of real weight in this insignificant conversation about coffee tables and over abundant healthcare and living (and loving) grandparents for my children?

Sunday could have gone two ways. M left in the morning to pick up E, and so the day stretched in front of me without an agenda. The possibilities were limitless, particularly after the gift F gave us that morning in sleeping in until nine. Nine, nine! I laid there on my pillow in a quiet house and listed the things I might do that day. There are many, many things that fit neatly into seven or eight unscripted hours, if I was careful not to script them. But I then decided to go the opposite direction, filling those hours with no-agenda items (outside of finding a parking space). The two of us went to church, and then to brunch, we dropped peaches and blackberries at a friend’s house and headed to the art museum for awhile. We sat in one of the galleries and she worked on a kinetic sculpture for an hour, not letting me help one.little.bit. 

I can do it, don’t you know? 

I know, I know.

All day long, everywhere we went, people smiled at her and commented on her sweet dress. Precious, darling they would whisper smile to me while watching her stand on tiptoes, staring into that bakery cabinet full of cupcakes. What a doll they would say, watching her little body stand in front of a giant painting, arms stretched out wide, taking it all in. Occasionally they would say it directly to her. What a cute little girl, are you having fun at the museum? She will usually answer, and (with prompting) say thank you for the compliment.

She finished her sculpture and declined to let it sit and dry, choosing to carry it by the glue-sticky, tissue wrapped base. She walked through the remaining galleries with her work in her hands, stopping when I stopped, but not looking at what I was looking at, only staring at her own sculpture in her hand.  There was this moment where I was reading something on the wall and I turned to see four older women gathered around F who was standing in the middle of the space, contemplating her piece that she had placed on the floor a couple of feet in front of her. You are so cute they said, beaming down on her from above. Thank you she said but do you like my sculpture?

There are these moments when I catch my breath because the depth of my love for this child – for both of them – is almost too much to bear. Watching her work on her own, watching her step back and assess when her work was complete, watching her regard it from a distance, watching her thanking a complete stranger for the compliment but then dismissing it slightly – it’s okay that you find me cute, but have you seen what I can do? what I can make? Ahh, it was just what I needed, the perfect moments to fill that open day.

scenes from a saturday

The recording at the other end of the line at Braeutigam Orchards said the blackberries were ready. That was the main draw for me. I grew up with thick blackberry vines along the fence behind our house, and I can remember the cobblers still.

The keeper of the wagon swore she wasn’t eating any.

Their vines are heavy with fruit – there are many, many more picking days ahead.  I suggest you venture out there sometime soon.

A few years back we picked blueberries around the Fourth of July – this year everything is a couple of weeks behind schedule, so there still are so many blueberries.  They are absolute perfection.

M and I pulled back the bird netting and picked from the top.  F climbed beneath it and cleaned out the underbelly.

When E was in third grade, her class did a lot of researching (and visiting / working on) different types of farms – from small urban gardens, to mid-sized farms, to large commercial farms. When it came time for her to do her individual report she chose to interview Tom Range of Braeutigam Orchards – our family’s favorite place to pick apples in the fall. When he called E back for the interview, the two of them talked for nearly an hour on the phone. When her project was complete, I scanned her report and the collage she made to demonstrate the percentages of various crops on his farm. We remembered that he had mentioned his favorite (and most challenging) thing to grow – his peaches. Today was the first time we’ve been over there to actually pick them. He thanked me for taking the time to send him a copy of her work, and he commented on how nice a project it was. E’s back from Iowa tomorrow, and we’ll tell her what he said and eat peaches together.

We rode the tractor out to the where the peaches were growing, and Mr. Range told us how to tell if they were perfectly ripe. It’s not easy – you want a deep red or orange right at the stem, but that’s the part of the peach that’s hidden from sight. He told us to climb into the middle of the tree and look across it to find the best ones. Sometimes we got it right, sometimes we picked them and found that the dark red backsides had fooled us, and they were still yellow close to the branch. Regardless, they’ll be divine in a few days, and the ones we ate along the way were so juicy and delicious we had to lean out, over our shoes.

My parents grew up in Georgia, and I attended college in South Carolina, so I’m not even going to try and compare.  Being able to jump in the car and drive over the river and through a couple of towns to get to a row of peach trees, and then pick them right off and eat them right there – well, there’s nothing wrong with that.  So Illinois peaches have my vote for sure.

The red wagons are there for the borrowing, and the fruit is ripe for the picking. I highly recommend it – especially in this amazing stretch of weather we’re enjoying right now.