If The Shoe Fits

There is a stereotype out there about kids and how they behave compared to their birth order.

In short, the oldest is well behaved and responsible, the middle is the wild child and the youngest does whatever they like and gets away with it.

Yesterday the girls were painting. Ivy had seen an idea on Pinterest and was carefully recreating it while adding her own spin. She carefully drew and painted with heavy concentration and worried over how to improve her canvas.

Clara is into abstract art. The more paint the better. Yesterday’s creations involved putting copious amounts of paint on a canvas and then smashing the canvas into a piece of cardboard to spread the paint. Anything that didn’t turn out quite right she happily applied more gobs of paint until it was “awesome” again.

Jane sat on the other end of the table playing a computer game.

After about an hour of careful drawing, paint smashing and computer key clicking. Jane looked up, complimented one of the pieces and asked if she could have it to give to her teacher.

It’s not that I’m trying to stereotype my own children – but if the shoe fits…

Stories in Snow

Some people can read stories in the snow. For those who knew where to look our first snowfall of the year told a story. And, like any good story it starts with a villain.

The fox came out of the trees trotting toward the chicken coop.

Bold as brass he jumped right on the chickens front porch. There he did what foxes do at chicken coops.

And the trail of feathers told the tail.

Just around an apple tree the fox tracks are joined by another set as our hero joins the chase.

The tracks lengthen as the dog runs off after him. And what is this following behind?

Why it looks like the track of a crazed woman, owner of both dog and chicken who is tired of her birds being used as a fox buffet and willing to fly through a snowfall barefoot with her dogs to stop it.

Sadly. Our tale is a tragic one for the chicken as the fox disappeared through the snow, prize in mouth, despite our hero’s best efforts.

The snows have continued coming since the story began and on each fresh white page the story goes on, another lost chicken, a run in with the turkey that the fox lost and who knows, maybe one day the story will have a happy ending…

… from the chickens point of view.

Holding on While Letting Go

Granny taught me things all my life.

How to do dishes, set a table, sew and host a guest. That you can eat popcorn for dinner, how to sing “Dirty Lil” and play solitaire. That you can have a temper and be unfailingly polite and that there is always room for chocolate.

In the end, as her days wound down, she was still teaching me how to hold on tight to all that matters while letting go.

Barbara Jean Connell

November 21, 1924 – December 15, 2021

A Black Heart

I live with cats.

Three cats.

But I wouldn’t call myself a cat person. I am firmly in camp dog. Why you ask?

This is why:

For those who cannot see or understand what they are looking at let me explain. This is a photo of a cat laying in a crate of potatoes. The potatoes are the last of the harvest I’ve just pulled in from the garden. The cat is laying directly on the cold lumpy potatoes and looks as uncomfortable as one would expect to be laying on cold lumpy potatoes. There is no reason for her to shed all over my fresh produce other than that cats are, essentially, jerks.

But, my cat loving husband says, your dogs would probably pee on them if given an opportunity. And I can’t disagree. My boys will pee on anything they deem necessary to claim as their own. And if it were at dog peeing level and they didn’t pee on the potatoes they would probably steal them and play with them like I had just provided them with the best toys ever. But the difference is they would be happy. Joyfully marking their territory, proudly showing me the new thing they “own” ecstatically asking me to join a game with their new “toys”. Oh, they would be in trouble but hidden beneath their rotten choices are hearts of gold.

Look at this cat. She’s not even happy to be laying on the potatoes. She, like all cats, does not have a heart of gold but something much more sinister and dark. Cats are known for covering the coziest, warmest spots around. There is no reason to lay on my cold, lumpy potatoes other than to prove that as a cat you can.

And that is why I am a dog person.

Silly Goose

Clara turned 12 years old today…

… and this prank loving trickster of a girl is still our favorite silly goose.

Clara wearing her new bag as a hat.

Happy birthday Clara!

Two Years

It’s been two years since we hit the cow.

Two years and I’m almost back to where I was before.

Two years and I have realized it’s okay that I will never be the same as I was before.

Two years and I can do almost anything I wish.

Two years and my morning routine now involves planning my day out in 30 minute chunks so that I can do all those anythings.

Two years and I can play capoeira and complete a crossfit workout.

Two years and occasionally I “take to my bed” for the day like a Victorian era woman of poor constitution.

Two years and I have given up Diet Coke and virtually given up drinking.

Two years and a whiskey and coke would be the tastiest celebratory drink…

Two years and I can drive the hour to visit my family.

Two years and I will need a driver to make the three hour drive to see my best friend’s new house but I’ll be able to look out the window the whole time.

Two years and I can function under fluorescent lighting.

Two years and a crowded room has me plotting strategic movements and staking out the perfect locations so that I can visit without becoming overwhelmed.

Two years and I have learned (mostly) how to prioritize and let things go.

Two years and my lawn hasn’t been mowed in months – but I hear bees love that.

Two years and I can spend hours reading on my kindle.

Two years and I’m grateful John drives at night when I’m so tired the road signs are incomprehensible as they fly by.

Two years and I’ve become one of those annoying people who wakes up at the same time everyday without an alarm.

Two years and I’ve “sleep trained” myself into a strict schedule of bed every night by 11.

Two years and I can spend chunks of time on the computer.

Two years and I still need the sign on the computer reminding me to “WEAR GLASSES!”

Two years and I can cook without starting anything on fire.

Two years and cooking dinner is an entire night’s activity.

It’s been two years and a moment since we hit the cow.

It’s been two years and a lifetime since we hit the cow.

Two years of successes.

Two years of struggles.

Today has been two years since we’ve hit the cow and it seems that the light at the end of this tunnel is getting brighter.


Yesterday my family gathered together on what would have been Grandpa’s birthday.

Sunset fishing on the pier. Picture by Ivy.

What a man, to have left behind a family who knows how to work or play all day together.