Finding Beauty

Some times, when days are spent in the hospital ( Granny is recovering well from an unexpected surgery.) and nights are spent fixing plumbing (We have hot water again, even if new things are leaking and lets not even talk about the washing machine…) it’s hard to stop and find the beauty in the day.

But it’s always there, you just have to remember to breathe and look for it.

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The Executioner’s Face by Jerry Johnson

If you’ve been a long time reader of my blog you might not be too surprised to see another review of a Jerry Johnson book here. I found him blogging about bird hunting and I have gathered his books as they were released. They are predominantly essays full of dogs and birds, old guns and wild country and I have enjoyed sharing them all with family and friends. His newest work of fiction is out and it is another hunting story… of sorts…

The hunters in this book are professional executioners that prowl the streets looking for felons in a post plague world where there isn’t the energy, manpower, or time to run the Chicago court system as we know it.

Would I recommend it? This is one of those books where it’s hard to shake the characters. When I finished this book I set it down, breathed for the first time in what felt like hours and have spent the last few days feeling as though the characters were riding on my shoulders. They are just hanging with me, waiting to see if and when I would judge them for their actions. They have stuck with me waiting to see, not if I cast their character in black or white, but rather what shade of grey they might be.  I’m finding it hard to shake them. The only cure I can think is that someone else needs to read this book so that we can talk about it together. So, go on! Order it and then tell me when you’ve read it, we will need to talk!

 

What’s That Noise?

John: What’s that noise?

Me: You mean the thing that sounds like a snare drum being followed by a civil war regiment? I think it’s the dryer.

John (walking toward sound): Ahhhh! What adventures does entropy have in store for us today?

(Answer: It was the dryer following hot on the heels of the dishwasher, two flat tires and right before the vacuum cleaner blew a belt. Ain’t entropy great?)

 

Pigeon Party

Lets see…

…placating smile, too long bangs, events from the swim meet on her arm, dressed inappropriate to the weather and she’s got a pigeon on the table…Clara and pigeon cake

..Yup! That’s our Clara!

Happy birthday to our favorite pigeon lover!

 

I Hate You.

My children have reached the age that I’ve become hated on a regular basis. It doesn’t really bother me. My infractions range from not allowing them to watch videos until their brains drool out their ears to requesting that they carry their own backpacks in from the car and eat the dinner prepared rather than make their own meal of pop-tarts and chocolate chips.

Clearly I am a monster.

On a recent trip to the dentist all the girls “failed” their exams and by the time we walked out the door they were all worked into a tizzy over fears of what terrible appointment might come next (also apparently you shouldn’t guzzle lime juice ’cause it’s bad for your enamel- who knew. Sorry Clara!). We dashed across the street anyway and made a quick run through Walgreen’s where I stocked up on essentials for myself (notebooks and chocolates, you know, some days I feel more like a writer than others) and where I refused to buy the girls giant pillow/stuffed animals. Clearly we were there for my wants, not theirs. But it was going to be okay because next we headed for ice cream. Because that’s what we do after the dentist. Is it logical. No. Were we all starving. Yes. Do we all need a reward after the dentist. Yes. And apparently it’s better than drinking lime juice (seriously, who thinks of that? No kid, no more lime juice for you- it’ll wreck your enamel. Actually, who’s kid drinks lime juice straight out of the bottle? This whole problem is totally perplexing me.).

In the drive thru we had a major melt down from two of the three girls that involved yelling at me because the flavor of the day was bad (and also there was no lemon ice for the lime juice lover so that was probably a blessing in disguise) and crying because the other one “just can’t decide!”

So, meanest mother in the world that I am I canceled our ice cream order. Because, really girls, never yell at the person buying you ice cream. This is an important life lesson that needed to be learned. However I did order a family size fries, because there is a fine line between setting limits and torturing you, yourself, the mother and this was a meltdown that needed french fries thrown at it if I ever saw one (Also, I was hungry).

Jane, affronted that we were getting HOT french fries (she hates hot food, I’ve yet to get the concept that cooking requires heat across to her but if you have ideas please let me know), demanded her ice cream and fell to pieces when it was explained that there would be no ice cream.

“I hate you! And I hate you! And you! I hate EVERYONE! And I hate EVERYTHING! … except that stuffed animal…”

My giggles at her outburst didn’t help.

But the french fries did.

We were all forgiven by the time we made it home.

This is a picture from this summer that has nothing to do with the blog post. This is largely because I can’t get my new computer to show me thumbnails of my photos and instead I have hundreds of identical icons to choose from.  All help appreciated!

Moral of the story:

Never underestimate the power of fresh french fries and the evils of lime juice. 

I Forgot…

Well, I forgot one of my kids tonight.

It was bound to happen eventually (Actually it might have happened before. I’m not sure. I forget.).

Fortunately her dad didn’t forget her and, while Ivy was the last kid picked up from her after school activity, she was remarkably fine with the fact that her mother forgot her.

(That’s not our kitten- Thank goodness!)

I mention this because:

A) Lots of people lately have been all “Omg you are amazing, you do so many things!” And I try to tell them things like, “Yeah, no,” and “Not really,” and then they don’t believe me so I try hard to learn how to accept a compliment and move on. But here is the thing. If you, like me, talk about slightly abnormal things like chasing escapee geese in a flooded river (I really should share that story here…) and traveling with pigeons and keeping bees, it seems that people assume you are doing all those things plus all the things that people, mothers even, regularly do. And to that crazy thought I say, “HA! Are you serious!?” my days have 24 hours in them just like everyone else’s. Something always has to give and in my life it always seems to be the “boring” things- you know, cooking, cleaning, and remembering things, like how to count to three (coincidentally that’s how many children I have) that fall by the wayside. Nobody is superhuman, least of all me.

B) She’s fine! I’m not the worst mother in the world (John assures me crackhead mothers and people who drown their children are much worse than me.). Sometimes people leave you hanging. Sometimes you have to wait. Sometimes shit happens. Would it be better if someone else taught my kid that sort of lesson? Probably. Do I still love her and she knows it? Yes.

C) Have I forgotten to return your call or your bowl or your e-mail or drop off a bag of apples or some other thing that I forgot I even forgot recently? Don’t be offended, it’s not you. I forgot my own kid today.

 

E-mail Conversation Circa 2012

What follows is an actual e-mail conversation between John and I from May of 2012. At that time Jane would have been about five months old…

…Clara two and half and Ivy five, though not yet in school…

..and e-mail was John and my primary method of communication while he was at work.

John:

Can you email or call Abi and see if they are available for us to visit on the 31st? And to refresh my memory, you were thinking leaving Thursday morning, so I should take off right?

Did things improve with the girls today?

 

Me:

yes until it rained in kitchen – now sucks jane asllep pn arm, stuck and afraid to move

 

John:

Would you mind elaborating on “rained in kitchen”?

 

And then, according to my old e-mails I was cleaning out, I never answered him. Which makes me giggle every time I re-read it. Because what must he have thought at work knowing total chaos waited him at home? “Well, at least they didn’t burn the house down.” or “I guess it’ll be cleaner now.” or “Just another typical day at the Stevens house.” I have no idea, and he doesn’t remember either but, unless it rained in the kitchen twice in May of 2012 (a possibility I am NOT discounting!) I did blog about it…

“It’s Raining…”

 

One of the major problems I have staying home with three kids is that while I’m nursing the baby the other two are doing stuff. Some days they are doing nice stuff and some days are like today. Today I came into the kitchen and found that Clara discovered not only how to change the kitchen faucet from a stream to a spray but that you can also pull out the head of the faucet. I pull out the head of the faucet to wash large pans and clean the sink. Clara pulled it out, must have thought it was actually intended to be the worlds best water gun and got right to work spraying Ivy.

Read the rest of it’s raining here: https://behindthewillows.com/2012/05/22/its-raining/