Tuesday, July 29, 2008

7/29: Still July!

It's about 9 am on this Tuesday; boys are gone to work and to camp; husband is returning from his fun overnight to Boston. The workmen next door are certainly there; I woke up at 5 with Elder and have been up since, making blueberry cake for lunch with my friend Cathi and reading more Jane Eyre; it's getting close to the end (within 100 pages!).

Our little chickens have ventured into the downstairs of their pen today and are investigating the outdoors, which is fun to watch. However, I'm also keeping an eye on the cats, who have been casually (cat-sually?) surveying the whole set up. . . We hope to keep these two safe from various predators but also to allow them fresh air and some roaming, so it'll be good to get the balance right now.

My sourdough is on its fourth? iteration. This time I'm just feeding the starter and letting it grow and bubble. The third batch of bread was the closest to edible--Lyle and I both had pieces--but it was definitely not risen enough. The trouble shooting is frustrating because it says, "Could have risen too much, or not enough"; " could have been baked at too high heat, or the oven could have been too cool." Well, thanks a lot. I don't like wasting flour and time, so I'd prefer to have clearer feedback! The whole wheat flour and a little more warmth seem to have made a difference in the starter so far; I'll coddle it a few more days and then try one. more. time. and see where we end up!

Bike ride today, I think: my heel still hurts a LOT at some times and I think a week off from running is key. I am on my feet a lot regardless so I'm trying for no-impact exercise rather than just switching to walking, and it's also interesting for me to try no formal workouts as I am such a structure junkie. But: riding around and then down to the church to deadhead for a while should get me some sweating without pain.

Summer! It's still JULY--and I love it. Getting the prep done for Global Lit. and then having that great meeting on Saturday were key steps in taking care of that greasy bubbling guilt/dread pit that can emerge when I think of the End of August. . . How long it takes me to learn: procrastination is NOT my friend!

Off to hang up the wash.

Monday, July 21, 2008

7.21: Meme from various places

What was I doing 10 years ago?
July 21, 1998: probably a lot like what I'm doing now, enjoying summer home with my family, but then the boys (who would then have been FIVE AND TWO!!) would've been asleep and--well, my husband and I would've been too! In the other house, with a different dog, and different cats.

5 things on my to do list for today (actually, tomorrow, since it's 9:35 pm)

1. work out: a long fast walk with the dog before it gets too hot or I get worn out doing the next item: DONE!!!

2. finish cleaning out and prepping the study, then PAINT IT with help from Elder and Friend! This will gobble most of the day. DONE: painted and somewhat reconstructed but much "yit" to put back in!! Still, I'm delighted.

3. type up a newsletter for the Mission Board at church and also minutes from Library trustees. DONE: just now.

4. shape the sourdough for its final rise, then bake it. DONE: but this was TERRIBLE again. Doughy and flat and holey. Hmmmm.

5. as always, email Julie. DONE: numerous times!

FANTASY To DO Additions: knit, work on quilt, finish Jane Eyre, plan Global LIt. Unit. . . AND do everything listed above!

Snacks I enjoy: good cheese and crackers; mixed nuts; Moore Leamon iced tea; good barbeque potato chips; cookies and tea in winter

Things I would do if I were a billionaire
Take the whole family to the UK for a walking/fishing/putzing around vacation; give money to the Library for an addition; buy a bunch of supergreen cars and give them to people; give random people who need it sneaky gifts of money; establish scholarships in honor of great teachers I've had and people I've loved

Places I have lived: Ellsworth Maine; Southwest Harbor, Maine; Nantucket, MA; S. Hadley MA; Colchester, England, Ashburnham, MA; Poland, ME; Northfield MA; Lewiston ME; Annville, PA

Jobs I have had: teacher! cleaning lady! bookstore clerk! ice cream scooper! Prep cook! kitchen worker! dishwasher! kennel worker! babysitter! tutor! Staff at writing center! Editor!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Heartwarming: 7/4/08

My older son is nearly fifteen (four more days!). He's a nice kid: funny, popular, mostly responsible, great with little kids, smart. He's also fourteen/fifteen, so he's incredibly annoying: moody, addicted to "screentime" (which we/I limit, so we battle constantly), messy, forgetful, demanding, selfish. . . Well, I did say he's great with little kids. And he hasn't been arrested, fathered a child, or flunked a class. Yet.
A friend of ours called us to see if Elder would be willing to help at a carnival put on by the Rotary in Bar Harbor on the Fourth. They run a bunch of kids' games and activities: Elder said yes, and even convinced one of his friends, also spiny, spiky, funny, arrogant, smart, fun, good at heart, to help out as well. They set out at seven a.m.
At one pm, my beloved husband and I went to pick them up from their five hour shift in the baking hot sun at the ball field. They had been doing face painting--both are good artists. Both are tall. Both were scrunched down in teeny little plastic kiddie chairs as they painted tiny butterflies, flags, flowers, snails, smileys, and more on tiny little cheeks. I watched in delight, lump in my throat, as these two gigantic boys tucked tiny curls of white blonde hair behind pink ears, listened to whispered requests, dealt with kids whose heads whipped around and up and down--disaster for a face painter!
Time ticked on, the line stayed full, and neither boy wanted to tell anyone, "Sorry, we're closed!", so they kept painting for an extra forty-five minutes. . . and the best painting was the last. Two blonde boys, one probably 4 and one maybe six, arrived. Friend asked the first one, "What would you like?"
The kid whispered something, and Friend had to ask him to repeat it, which he did: "A beard. AND a moustache!"
Once his brother heard, he wanted to same, so Elder got to paint a set as well. Friend's moustache was pencil thin, like Jimmy Buffett's song, and connected to a hairline black beard that followed the little chin. Elder created a thick brown beauty complete with curly ends and finished the six year old off with a gingery soul patch underneath. Both little boys leapt out of their seats and ran to admire themselves in the mirror, mugging, grinning, scowling, yawning, giggling with the wonder of it all. Facial hair at last!
When the bearded boys and their laughing parents left, we helped clean up the booth and herded the artistes off for pizza and ice cream and some well-earned rest. Even now, however, I can see those big hands tilting small faces up to the light, gently moving ponytails, carefully creating leopard faces and pirate scars. They are so many different things all at once--I need to remember that my boy, any boy, any person, is not just one thing. And many of those facets are wonderful.