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Tuesday May 5 at 4pm, The Governor’s Square Library Kids’ Club will embark upon their exploration of the fine artworks of the Picturing America series.

Kids 5-12 are invited every Tuesday at 4pm, and parents are asked to donate their time, healthy individually wrapped nonperishable snacks, water, or juice boxes.

Discussion questions will help kids reflect on and remember the women– mothers, grandmothers, relatives, older sisters, teachers, church friends and others– who nurture them, create a positive environment for living, learning and growing, and help to build our community.

Our stepping off point will be Dorothea Lange’s poignant portrait Migrant Mother.

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Learn more about this important work of American history and art at the Library of Congress website: http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/128_migm.html

Please bring a child aged 5-12 Tuesday May 5 at 4 pm for snacks, thought provoking discussion and as always a little bit of fun.

See you Tuesday!

(And no, this is not the blog post I am so proud of. This is a quick, thought of the moment post– the one I’m proud of is on afteryeswedid.wordpress.com. If you’re an Obama fan or liberal or activist or general stirrer upper, take a look at it, if not, don’t. Please. I want you to continue to be my friend.)

Anyway– isn’t it weird the morbid thoughts you have when you’re a mom, not to mention a stressed out one with a, er, creative turn of mind?

Life is short. I’ve been thinking a long time about how important it is to do what matters most each day– some looking to the future, some time spent on habits today that will make me happier and healthy both today and in the future (exercise, spirituality, cleaning or creative work) some documenting of the precious memories of the past, but without fail making sure I also just stop and spend some moments right here right now.

I might be sitting quietly with my little girl, admiring the million and one things about her that, if I just stop and pay attention, never fail to remind me that the Universe is a good place– from quiet things like her tiny freckles on her snub nose and her thick eyelashes, to big things like her insane sense of humor (my fault, I taught her farts were funny when she was twoish, now she’s five, she makes fart jokes all the time, it’s not that funny any more to anyone but her).  I might be just holding my husband’s hand in silence for five minutes, just nothing but being there. I might be deeply absorbed in just enjoying the feel of my body and senses engaged in a long walk or yoga or 30 min of Shimmy, my favorite exercise class, or really engaged in helping a child with homework at the library.

So I’ve been trying to pack up my fall holiday through Christmas stuff in some logical fashion since Epiphany. Half of it is still lying all over my room — crafts, wrapping stuff, items hoarded for next year. My husband has been in cleaning mode for a few weeks and finally got pissed off stuck the lids on the boxes before I’d finished packing and cataloging, and put the boxes which took up our entire dining room on into the attic without asking me.

He said he figured it had been long enough. I said well, it hurts my feelings to think you think I took too long (even though I know I did take too long, because I am so freakin’ detail oriented I just sink, every time) but it makes me feel good to re-frame that into, I took them on upstairs and threw them into the attic because I didn’ t want you to have to worry about them any more. He smiled and seemed to take note — she didn’t take too long. I just didn’t want her to have to worry about it any more.

So I’m doing the last of the packing up and cataloging today. And I’ve thought this several times.  I have always thought that the Law of Attraction is true– you think happy thoughts, expect good things, those good things come. You worry, you attract just what you’re worried about.

Having talked with my mother through the ordeal of my grandmother’s stroke and very gradual recovery and watched Julia Sweeney’s Letting Go of God– and being the agnostic/new age/eastern/healing school/hardcore former Southern Baptist that I am… I have come to believe that life is just random. No justice. Just– sometimes you are blessed beyond belief, sometimes you get struck down.

There may be a plan for all of this. Even my healing school teacher says hindsight always shows that what you thought was hard at the time ended up being a precious growth experience.  But it’s still random, as far as our understanding goes.

So as I pack each little hoarded item– gifts and ornaments bought half price at Walmart after Christmas, gifts from friends that will be wonderful to decorate/cheer the house up next year, the world’s most expensive origami cranes (paper from Pottery Barn, probably two bucks a crane and incredibly difficult to fold), craft books… I am so excited. As long as it has taken me to get them organized cataloged labeled (including ‘open on’ date) I can’t wait til next year to pull all this out.

So please Lord. I know there’s either a plan I don’t know about whereby everything turns out just as it should, even when it’s not as we think it should be or want it to be, or that it’s completely random and we really can’t change destiny– not because it’s set in stone but because it is just– randome. We cannot divine when these things might occur.

So I make lots of requests, all the time. And I’m not always as grateful as I should be. but I do ask, in Jesus name, for another Christmas with loved ones. I pray for a Christmas full of at least similar gratitude, joy and fun, and more. I claim it, darn it, just like that chaplain praying over my poor Grammy critically injured by that damn stroke– a holiday season that blesses me and every single person I know and don’t know from the crown of their head to the soles of their feet.

I’d like a similar family configuration, preferably with my Grammy at some considerable level of recovery and quality of life, but at the very least my spouse and children and parents and dearest friends, preferably with a great deal less worry than I was experiencing last year the weeks before Christmas when she was struck down.

Please let me open these boxes next October or so and see the season through with joy and hope and comfort for me, my family, and everyone we know and don’t know.

Amen.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

March 2008

I have to post quickly, just because the mood of my last post was so glum. I’ve had so much I wanted to say, but between my thinking of late about the energy I pour out toward others and whether that might be better turned inward, and my activities of the last week or two, I haven’t been able. And I’m still not. I just wanted to say briefly.

I’ve spent the last two weeks and way too much money sweating over trying to have a great birthday party for my baby. I am an extremely ambitious party planner, but I am not a top down person, and my husband figures if you can’t get it done the day before or the day of it’s not worth it so… you can imagine the chaos and mass of half done tasks all through the house and yard.  I really need to call up my inner military strategist.

I also really need to be more consistent about all those things most of the time so I don’t have to panic when it’s time to have folks over. Or throw away all my stuff so dusting is not a major project. Or, just get over it. Why can’t I just say, fuck no I don’t dust, ever, why would I? My life would be so much easier.

I can’t believe how much I stress. I just want so badly to have people over, and I forget between times just how badly I can screw it up. I never hit the right stride of preparation and relaxation. Or else, I need a maid/server.

We spent her birthday with a dear friend of hers from school… then I had a cold and stayed home with her Wednesday as well, then our baby sitter had a terribly contagious issue at her place so we didn’t have child care Thursday so I split my day up between having her all day and working the evening 1/2 day… then back to work in earnest Friday, half a day Saturday and that insane party.

I think the kids had a good time, truly, and I hope the parents did too. We did manage the pinata of course, and to decorate cookies. A couple of friends brought very nice additions to help out. The weed flowers which make our back yard look so ragged, but which are so beloved of shaky baby, were a huge hit, they were scattered everywhere like fresh rushes for us to tread upon. Thoughtful parents took all the dangerous implements of destruction or bodily harm that I thought I’d adequately stowed away and truly adequately stowed them away. I am trying not to think about anything except the positive– like, after everyone left, my weekend still had two days left in it.

I took her to get her hair cut Thursday, and washed her hair in real shampoo tonight– we usually do water only, or Tate’s Natural Miracle. Her little curls came right out. They are tighter than botticelli but looser than corkscrew, but cut so close to her head they just tighten right up. When you look at the back of her head you can almost hear ’sproingggg’. I need to get her one of those silky mob caps women used to wear to keep their hairdos pretty as they slept, or just a satin pillow case.

As I kissed her good night I realized I’ve spent most of the last week simply celebrating her existence. That is entirely appropriate. She’s an amazing little girl and she is an amazing blessing.  I wished her happy birthday again. She said, am I six now? I said no, 359 more days. And we need to think of something special for when you’re six, like going to New York or Paris like Eloise. She said, will Eloise be there? I said no, but we can go to the same places, right? But we need to save our pennies.

My step daughter is here– my stepson had to stay home so he could be in a robotics competition. Today we went to the park in the morning and ate McDonalds breakfast (I know, not vegan, but a girl’s got to eat) picnic style, flew kites, talked to one of my girlfriends who was there too, went to Lowe’s for garden plants, kept a friend’s children for several hours while she’s in the hospital so her exhausted husband could clean and nap, decorated more cookies, and when he took the little ones home, worked a bit in our raised beds and planted some of what we bought today.

You should have seen my friend’s little 1.08 year old– I call her my last baby– out in the four o’clock sun and breeze. She would lay on the beach towel, butt in the air and face to the ground, kicking her legs out– just luxuriating in the fresh air and the loving earth under her cheek. It was a beautiful thing. I love all of the kids but they mostly entertain themselves– the 1.08 year old is usually stuck with me. I did take about ten minutes or more with each child especially to do something with them, though. I’d envisioned their visit as a structured repeat of the birthday  party, or actually as a chance to do the birthday party right in all the ways I’d failed yesterday… but they arrived just as we got back from Lowe’s so I couldn’t prepare, so nothin’ doin’. They were a bit bratty, but shoot. Their mom’s in the hospital, I had not sorted anything out for them to do– it was fine. I know that even when one of them (including mine) is crying or tattling every five minutes they’d still rather be together. I sure wish my little one had let me play the ’whoever pops their balloon first wins’ game though.

Have most of my herbs planted, the ones I spend a fortune buying at the supermarket anyway, and some flowers… husband working on strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, onions… have no idea whatever what to do with the rest of the yard. I got an extra azalea, some Spanish lavender and a gorgeous blue (really purple) hybrid tea rose. I did not get the hydrangea… I thought about how much space it would need in full sun, which would be exactly the area that I’d prefer to keep open at least until I plan my yard a bit better.

The places I want to fill up with lovely fragrant blooms are in shade to semi shade. For the rest of the yard I have in mind these woodland/cottage/formal gone wild curving vistas stretching away, leaving plenty of lawn for play and leading the eye or the walker back toward a couple of different seating areas among the trees and flowers, plus a butterfly garden… curving vistas really take up a lot of space, and a lot of planning, and a lot of money. Too much is not enough when it comes to putting plants in, and it looks shabby to just put in a bit here and a bit there, especially on that endless east fence line. Trees always look so much more stately in threes or rows, and I don’t know how I’ll work it out and stay within my budget and get much done during each planting season, and the more I think about all we want to do the smaller my yard looks! We can always move our raised beds, of course… We’ll see.

I did realize that I want only green foliage and purple, white, lavendar to gray, and variations on blue and fuchsia that appear purple in my vistas. That was a HUGE step forward. Knocked out the Carolina jasmine (jessamine) I wanted for the scent but… wrong color!! Fringe flower is the right color and it smells lovely… but it was seventeen dollars. Next time. The pale purple hybrid tea smelled delightful so that was my splurge.

And so… off to clean party mess for a time before bed. One more lovely weekend day to go for me before back to work!

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