Seven Days of Black and White

There is a photo challenge going around, one week of black and white photos. No explanations, no people. I love this challenge, I’ve done it twice now. But this week, this week was a hard week, and I wrote down a bit about each photo as I took them, a snap shot of a diary on a  rough week.

Day 1: A few years ago Grandma picked up this book, A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, off the bookshelf and noticed that “Verses” was ripped off the front of the book.   Ever practical Grandma stuck a few stickers over the torn part, and knowing that my girls loved books gave it to me to bring home for them. She read this same book to me when I was a kid, and I have read it over and over to my girls. Grandma Elma died this morning, and I’ve read this poem innumerable times since she used to read it to me but this verse I still hear in an echo of her voice every time I see it.

Day 2: I’m sitting on the floor in my grandparents living room (my other grandparents) I can hear hum and gurgle of Grandpa’s oxygen tank and his terrible rasping cough behind me. Granny is watching me play marbles with Clara and Jane and my Mom comes over to laugh at how terrible we are. We take turns visiting with Grandpa when he’s awake as we do our best to make some good memories during hard times.

Day 3: I’ve only been home for four full days in the last two weeks and when I walked back in the house tonight I find a friend has been at work and I can do nothing but stand in my clean kitchen, look at the meals in my refrigerator and sob with gratitude.

Day 4: John helped me carve out time to go to capoeira. I love my fellow capoeirstas and you can’t worry about anything other than what you are doing when the kicks start flying. It was a much needed break this week.

Day 5: I’m ready to drive back home from spending another day with my grandparents and parents. Driving alone makes me cry. The days are long and hard but worth the tears and the miles.

Day 6: Spinning in circles with a rare night at home. I think I forgot how to be at home, and then I found the fire and figured it out again.

Day 7: Back with my family. Grandpa is failing quickly and everyone, even the puppies, are exhausted.

 

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O Lawnmower How I Hate Thee…

O lawnmower, how I hate thee. Let me count the ways…

  1. You are noisy, so noisy hearing protection is required. Sometimes the earmuffs that I leave over the steering wheel attract earwigs. I have so far always found them before putting them on my head. So far…
  2. You bounce and you vibrate the whole time I drive you. This makes me jiggle in unpleasant ways and reminds me that I have more jiggly parts than I’d like. Ride you long enough and even my non-jiggly bits start turning to jello and I slide off feeling like I’ve been living on a couch, eating potato chips my entire life.
  3. You cut crooked. I’ve tried to correct it, but you insist on cutting one side higher than the other. As a result even a freshly mowed area looks like a bad haircut.
  4. You run out of gas at the worst times. Is it because I run you at highest possible speeds at all times? Or because I never check before we set out? Whatever it is you’ve never run out of gas near the garage or a gas tank, nooooo always at the far end of the orchard. Always with the job almost done. You have terrible timing lawnmower. Terrible timing.
  5. You break. Your belts break and your doo-hickys fall off and the thing-gummy gets clogged and even when I fix them for you, a job I detest, they just go ahead and break again. Are you trying to tell me that zipties are not the fix for everything? How rude lawnmower, how rude.
  6. The important parts of you never break. You are the lawnmower that will not die. Do you even know how old you are? I have run you over sticks and stumps and small brush piles. Got you stuck on rocks and ditches but will you quit on a hot day and give me a break. Oh no, you will not!
  7. Your tire leaks. Slooowwwllly. So slowly as to not be worth patching. So quickly that it needs to be aired up almost every time you are used. No one likes a square tire lawnmower. No one.
  8. You don’t cut in reverse. You claim it’s for my safety. I say that’s total BS, you are just lazy. If you cut in reverse we’d be done so much faster.
  9. You don’t corner for beans. You are a lawnmower not a flatbed truck. Why do you have the turning radius of a school bus?
  10. But the thing I will never forgive you for is that because of you, I mow the lawn.

In related news my lawnmower dislikes being left outside in November with no gas and is now waaay out in the orchard with a dead battery and a flat tire. And though I removed the mouse nest and gave it some fuel, it still refuses to run properly. Ungrateful beast, it better shape up before the snow flies! 

 (Yes I know, most of these things are my fault. Yes, I know I shouldn’t have left the lawn mower outside. Yes, I still hate it anyway.)

Stamp Collecting

My Granny has always saved stamps.

Not in a discerning collecting and meticulously organizing sort of way but more of a snipping out and stashing in an old cigar box way. And, as far as I know, no one in my family has been a stamp collector.

Until Clara.

Clara collects everything – including stamps.

Clara, being a rambunctious eight year old is also not a discerning collector or a meticulous organizer of her stamps. But she does like adding to her collection. Granny has three giant manila envelopes stuffed with stamps and she’s been slowly doling them out to Clara.

It’s a stamp saver and stamp collectors dream come true.

Except.

Except this totally justifies the keeping of things for just in case.

Farming runs on both sides of my family and you don’t just get rid of things that might be useful again one day when you are running a farm.

Ever.

This was a lesson that well and easily ingrained in me. I don’t really need the hey-look-I’m-so-glad-I-kept-these encouragement Granny and Clara’s stamp collecting has accidentally given me.

But now I’m doubly certain that I better keep saving those random springs I find, and of course the extra screws they send when you put something together, and flower pots, and fabric scraps, and keys, and jars…

Someday, someone (maybe even me), is going to be so glad I did!