Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Looking out my winder...at Spring and the Possibilities.

I think it's here.  Sun. Blue sky.  Mud.  Yay (facetiously said)!  The mud is here!  No, really, I think this year I'm psyched Spring has arrived.  But there is still enough snow in the woods to have to snowshoe.  And there is still snow up to the kitchen winder.  So, it's still here.  For awhile, at least.

But sun shining in while I was doing the dishes this morning made the mundane task, well, not so mundane.  Pandora in the background.  Limitless possibilities in the foreground.  And then this song came on:

And I turned into a weepy mess.

Claire had a birthday party at the beginning of March.  Lots of friends, pizza, root beer, skating, sledding, a few boys.  SCREECH!  Wha?  A few boys?  Yeah.  A few boys.  What's the big deal? They came rolling in with clouds and clouds of cologne in their wake.  They brought a new dimension to the party.  Claire broke her boyfriend's heart that night.  What's the big deal, right?  Her best friend will probably be dating him next month.  Cacacarazy.

Well, the twins came home from their skating party at one point in the night.  They were headed back out to a sleepover but they came home to grab their sleeping bags and pillows and when they walked in they got a "Sup?" from one of the boys, and a "What's up Bro?" from another.  One of the them gave them a high five and my heart overflowed with some pride.  Claire's picked out some great guy friends.  For them to notice "the little bros" was cool.  My mind raced to next year.  The twins will be up at the middle school.  I was seeing them in the hallway getting high fives from these "older" boys, wanting desperately for Claire to accept them into her "cool" group of friends.  What if they could all hang out together through the years?  Her boyfriends, Claire, them- down in the basement sneaking beer from the kegerator? SCREECH.  Wha?  No, well, you know what I mean.

Four days ago she posted this on Instagram:

What the hell is happening?  I'll tell you what is happening: HER FRIENDS THINK HER BROTHERS ARE COOL!  That's right, she's using them to gain popularity! No, I'll tell you what I think is really happening:

THIS WOMAN has saved our family.  Our family meetings are sometimes well attended and sometimes not, but having appreciations to start them off has done something miraculous to our family dynamic.  At first it was hard for them to come up with things that they appreciate about each but last night Timmy said, "I appreciate that Claire is nice to me."  SCREECH!  Wha?  Seriously?  She laughed and said, "Yeah, I shared my popcorn with him."  SCREECH!  What?  Seriously?  I tell you....it's fucking working.  And why wouldn't it?  If I told Paul Bunyan how much I appreciate him on a daily basis life would be so much greater.  And if someone told me how much they appreciate me on a daily basis, I might work harder to please them.  It's incredible.  Seriously, why are we such assholes to each other?  It makes no sense.

So, if we keep this up, if we keep telling each other how much we appreciate what we do, or how we do something, the possibilities are endless.  Claire will want to hang with her brothers, listen to their opinions, help them pick out hairstyles and clothes.  They will share things, now and in their lives when they leave this home.  And as the Avett Brothers so artfully spelled out to me this morning, "There is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name."

We are the Ganzies.  They are the Ganzies.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Beauty and the Beast

Claire has been stealing my camera.

She's been taking pictures of some of her favorite things.

She's been posting them on Instagram.

I think.  I don't know.  I don't monitor her.

I really don't know who she's talking to.  Or who is talking to her.

I'm sure my friends (Mud) think I'm crazy .  I should know.  I should make sure there isn't any creepy guys.  I should watch, listen, oversee, spy, protect.

But, I don't.  It isn't in my nature.

I have to trust her.  She's done nothing to make me not trust her.  So, why wouldn't I give her the benefit of the doubt?

I went to listen to Vicki Hoefle last night and she's good.  She's good at making everyone feel like they've really fucked it all up. 

Because that's how I feel.  I've really screwed it up with Claire. 

She's a bully to her brothers.

She's complains about having to do any work around the house.  She sometimes throws temper tantrums.  She sometimes tells me she hates me.  She sounds like a spoiled rotten brat.  And I did that to her.  I made her that.

I'm sorry Claire.  I'm sorry we (see how I bring Paul Bunyan into this) did that do you.  (Vicki, you'd be proud of me for saying that!).  But now we get to see what (in Vicki's eyes) we did right.  I have never once told you what to wear or how to do your hair.  Just the other day I had a parent comment on how her daughter was dressed, up on the stage, in front of the whole community.  She had on different colored socks, crazy shoes, a cool patterned skirt, a funky shirt, and a hat that made the whole mismatched extra spunky outfit come together.  She said, "she's got a Claire thing going on".  I laughed.  You have always been identified in the school as the girl who went in her own direction with regards to how you dressed.  And you know what that means- you have confidence!  You never gave a shit about what people thought.  I LOVE THAT! 

Here's what else we did right.  We made decisions about your life up to you.  You get to choose gymnastics over play or play over gymnastics or maybe even BOTH.  It's your life.  You choose.  You recently wanted to give up flute.  Cool.  I'm sorry you're going to give it up because you're really good at it and I love listening to you play at home.  BUT it's your life.  Go for it.  You get to choose when you go to bed, when you get up, when you want to shower, when or if you want to do your homework, when you want to do your laundry (cuz you're doin' it girl), when you want to eat, what you want to eat, if you want to eat (EEGADS- if everyone knew you leave the house without breakfast I'd have my hide skinned.  Oh wait, they now know).  I don't care.  It's your life.  You live it.

We don't care about your grades.  That's up to you.  Isn't that great?  All right, now we're on a roll.

So when I look back on all the things we failed you at (helping you cope when things don't always go your way and how to appreciate your brothers and your role in this family) I am grateful that these are things we can work on.  But your confidence in your abilities to do things well and your abilities to make decisions that affect your life are things that I'm glad (really glad) you have.  Because they are the things that are hardest to find.

So when you come out on top, first all around, I'm proud of you.  I appreciate how much time and effort and will you've put in to get where you are.  More importantly, I hope you're proud of you too.  But you still have to empty out the dishwasher.  Sorry.

Friday, December 6, 2013

I want to make cookies.

I went for a run the other day.  Crazy, I know.  I came up behind one of our neighbors who was walking.  He's a walker.  Always has been.  He and his wife live in town.  They walk to the top of our hill.  Sometimes alone.  Sometimes with each other.  I always stop to talk.  Tom used to swear, a lot.  Even if the kids were in the car.  He's an impassioned guy.  What can you say?  And then he had a stroke.  And couldn't swear anymore.  Actually, he couldn't talk anymore.  But he's making his way back.  His brain is working hard to reconnect.  What he says now is, "I know.  I know.  I know."  He repeats it over and over again.  But he still walks.

When I was approaching him I was wondering if I should stop and talk.  Grab his hand.  Let him know I'm here.  That I hear him even if he can only say, "I know."  But before I reached him he veered into the Christmas tree farm and walked up the hill into the mist of the evergreen scent.  I want to bake him cookies.

I trotted a little further up the road and ran into my good friend Cath and her mother-in-law.  They were on a walk.  Cath just had a baby and she snuggled that thing close to her chest as they scooted down the slippery dirt road.  She's a super woman, Cath is, so we've been exercising since Mazzy's been about 2 weeks old.  I mean not just the general run-of-the-mill exercising but Cath's been doing push-ups and pull-ups and Olympic weight lifting shit.  It's crazy.  I was still on the couch 6 weeks postpartum.  Loving every excuse to relax.  She's up every two to three hours at night.  I know how hard this is.  I want to bake her cookies.

I turned around because it was starting to get a little dark and I sorta looked like a tree instead of a bright light.  On my way back I almost got run over by a reindeer- not really- just my good friends Suzie and Brooks and their big boy Langdon.  They had just picked out their Christmas tree.  Brand new tree for a brand new house.  Brand new baby to be born soon to fill up brand new house too.  All this brandnewedness makes me want to bake them cookies.

On Tuesday I picked up Bee's sister.  Her name is Theo.  We've been taking care of her here and there to give Bee someone to play with.  They're good playmates.  We're going to be adopting Theo after the New Year because her owner has to move into her 76 year old mother's apartment.  She's trying to put her son through college and she's a single mom, doing it all on her own. She's almost in tears every time I see her.  I want to bake her cookies too. 

On Wednesday our new neighbor walked up the driveway to the house to tell us the alpacas were out.  She introduced herself and her yellow lab Biscuit.   While Theo humped him, I apologized for not coming up to say, "Welcome to the neighborhood.  I'm the loser who hasn't baked you cookies yet.  Oh, but can we sled on your hill?  Because we used to do that.  And it's super fun."

I want to bake cookies for the neighbor down the hill who had to go back to work this week after being home for a year with her new baby.  It's so hard.

I want to bake cookies for the neighbor up the hill who still is in dispute with her ex-husband about who gets what.  It's been about 5 years.  It's too hard.

I want to bake cookies for the neighbor up the hill who drives to the other side of town three times a week to walk a dog she doesn't own but who is holed up in a barn stall and doesn't see the light of day or get to sniff the wind. 

I want to bake cookies for the really good friend who had to go back to get another mammogram, a second opinion, because her primary doctor doesn't trust the first.  It's too much worry.

I want to bake cookies for my husband who 1)gets upset that I bake cookies for everyone else but don't leave any for him, 2) has been struggling over the decision to maybe take another job,  and 3) has sore body parts.

I want to bake cookies for my daughter who is struggling over whether to choose the play or gymnastics, and why do kids have to choose anyway?  Can't they do it all?

I want to bake cookies for the snow man who lost his head, and the bird who hit the window, and my cat who is jailed to the top of the t.v. stand because we now have two dogs that want to eat him.  Okay, well, I'm stretching it here but life is hard and I wish it wasn't. I wish I could spend my days making cookies to make it all better.  And I wish that that would work.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's PAT!

Today I bought Pat's Sweet Italian sausages for dinner.  Sausage: pork and goodies all rolled into one.  I was there when he first started making them.  Back in the day.  When the Market was a "small" market.  At the corner of Main and Bridge.  Pat would grind my ground beef right IN FRONT OF MY FACE!  I miss the place.  I never minded waiting for Pat- he moves at a snail's pace.  I would pick stuff out of the cooler that I didn't need while I waited- shit like maple creme and chocolate milk.  Who needs that?  But his ground beef was the freshest, wrapped in white paper like the "olden" days.  The  new Market doesn't do that and it tastes like the Styrofoam they serve it on, for jeezum sake.

I saw Pat the other day at the Jonesville Post Office.  He rolled out the door and spoke sincerely to another elderly friend.  I don't know how old he is but he's hunched and backed and moves with deliberation.  He had on his Richmond Market hat and fleece vest and probably a pair of fleeced lined khakis but I failed to take note.   I saw his skin colored Mercury and was reminded of my Grandparent's Oldsmobile.  It all seemed so fitting- a reliable old American car for a reliable old American. 

I love seeing, to this day, Pat's hunched back stacking his meats to display at the Market.  I'm not sure what he feels/thinks about the "new" place. He doesn't nearly have the same contact with his customers and I'm certain he's not dealing with the same custom orders he had at the old Corner Market.  But maybe he likes the slower pace.  The one thing I have noticed, however, is that he still whistles while he works.

He whistles ALL THE TIME!  It's just a whistle- no specific tune.  I mean, who does this anymore?  Do you know anyone who whistles ALL THE TIME?  It's amazing.  AND he moves SOOO slowly!!  Who does this anymore??  Do you know anyone who moves slowly ALL THE TIME?

I soooooo want to be Pat the butcher.  I want to move slowly.  I want to whistle while I work.  Did I mention I want to move slowly?

I'm in the car.  A LOT!  Driving them (shutter) anywhere they want to go.  Going from Point A to Point B and everyone tells me I should soak it up because some day they won't want to be with me and I'm all, like, they don't WANT to be with me right now- they want to get to POINT B.  Eeegads.  Let's slow it down people!

The only time I'm walking slowly (or moving deliberately) is when I'm walking in the woods with Paul Bunyan and then it's all about stopping to look at drainage options, single track trail options, best trees for tree house options, and how to build a bridge over said creek.  Which is all fine and dandy- really it is.  Because if this is the only time I'm moving at Pat's pace then I'll take it.  I'll take it!  BRING ME TO THE WOODS ANYDAY!  I LOVE THE WOODS!

Some day I'll be old too- I can't ever picture me moving that slowly or that hunched over- but maybe I will.  Maybe I'll sit still to have one complete mug of tea.  Maybe I'll be able to listen to what my kids really really need.  Maybe I'll be able to listen to what I really really need.  In the meantime, I'll listen to this, because it makes sense to me, especially when they sing:

And I'll walk slow, I'll walk slow
Take my hand, help me on my way.
And I'll walk slow, I'll walk slow
Take my hand, I'll be on my way.

You'll help me walk slow- won't you??

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dew in the Morning.

It's thick because the grass is so long, because he's been riding his bike and not mowing, because he raced 50 miles yesterday on his mountain bike, because he's 40 and doesn't want to feel it, because we all do this, because getting old sucks, because it feels good to feel young.  I'm working now, because (well) everyone expected that I should, because a job fell into my lap, because nature works in the weirdest ways, because I guess it's supposed to be what I'm doing.  Saturday was Parent's Weekend.  Up and over the App Gap at 8 a.m., sun luring me, highlighting the bright oranges, making me have to squint, making it harder to see the fallen apples in the road, making it more of an enjoyable ride.  Meet the Parents, talk about my class, hope it aligns with what they want for their children, pack it all up and head back over the gap.  Jamfest 2013.  Boys are packed for hockey but wear their soccer stuff, because soccer is in an hour, because that's how it was scheduled, because that's how the world works.  Bristol Jamboree, two games, one goal a piece, because my guys know how to get er' done, because that's how we roll, because that's how the cookie crumbles, because...wha?  Back in the car from Bristol to Essex because hockey "team placements" are in an hour, because that's how it was scheduled, because that's how the world works, because I have no control over it.  Boo.  Nerves galore because everyone wants to succeed, because it makes the confidence soar, because it gives a boost to the ego.  But I have to go.  Back over the Gap.  Scholarship dinner.  Gala.  Big ToDo.  First, however, I shower outside, sun behind the trees is setting, my favorite time of day, so chips and beer while I shave.  It's a perfect combination, because they're all the things I love in the world (beer, chips, hot showers) all rolled up into one, because that's how life should be, a tootsie roll of your favorite things.  Find a dress that barely fits, because the back fat is directly related to how many beers and chips are consumed, because that's just a rule of nature, what goes in must come out, and if it doesn't...it stays on your back in the form of larger tootsie rolls.  Whatever.  Sun now chasing me, highlighting the bright oranges, making it harder to see the fallen apples in the road, making it more of an enjoyable ride.  Meet the Parents, talk about their children, wish I had a million dollars to bid on all the great trips around the world, because how cool would that be, because the world is a big place, because that's how it was created, because something in space blew up, because....I don't know why something in space blew up.  Drink one too many glasses of wine, get entranced with the live action, because it was amazing to witness people's generosity, because sometimes the people with the most money actually like to give it away, because it makes them feel good about having all that money, because maybe they feel guilty; I'm making stuff up now.  Ditched on my dish duties because I was having so much fun, because the wine was free, because it was an open bar, because the school wants you to loosen up, because they feel this gets you excited about spending your money because that is, in fact, probably how it works.  Feeling guilty today because I didn't help out, because I'm a team player, because I was raised that way, because I like relying on each other to get things done, because it makes it easier to go through life to have a teammate, because doing it all alone is no fun, because life is short, because someone said we humans can't control that, which means we have to live life to its fullest.  The Dew is thick.  Be grateful. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Report: What I Did Over the Summer

Ricker Pond June 29-30

 We measure time in many different ways.  Sometimes the seconds tick by.  Sometimes they crawl. 

This summer I measured time by the number of carcasses that fell from the perfect web constructed from the hot water faucet in my bathroom to the wall.

 We measured time by the length of grass and the number of weeds present upon our return.

We measured time by the mold growth on the toe kicks in my kitchen and school bags hanging in limbo for the fall.

Avalon Beach  July 1-5

We measured growth, in our own way, by the number of times Timmy peed in his bed (I think his brain shuts down during a spurt).

We measured growth in the amount of ice cream ingested.

 And by the scarcity of fights. 

 Knight Island July 16 and 17

 We stopped taking count of the hours and moved around only if we were hot or hungry.

We skinny dipped if we wanted to, boys still not caring if their mothers were naked.

 We took in the stillness of the lake.

 And played in the waves when it wasn't.

 We measured time by the progress of the sun.

And by the lapping of the waves against the dawn.

Burke Mountain July 27 and 28

We measured fun by the stinkiness of our armpits.

 And by the number of nights slept in a tent.

 We measured fun by the number of books we read over the summer.

Which was maybe one.

 We measured fun in a field of grass.

Niagra Falls August 1st

Some billions of water go over the falls every second.

It's hard to wrap your head around this measurement.

As it's hard for me to wrap my head around how much I love these guys.

Minnesota August 4-14

She measured time this summer in meters canoed.  She measured headwinds.  She measured distances of portages.  I couldn't be more proud.

We always measure fun in Minnesota by the gallons of gas used for tubing, knee boarding, wake boarding and skiing.

We measure the perfectness of dock days- 1-10.  By the number of Long Island Iced Teas imbibed.  We gauge our fun by the number of tube runs taken into the sunset.

 First Day of School August 28

Yesterday, we measured growth by the fact that Timmy wouldn't take a photo with his brother.  I guess we've reached the "too cool for school" phase.  Hence, the picture of Auggie with his best bud Ollie.  Into the history books this photo goes.

And yesterday, after school, we celebrated the whole of summer, bottled up into one afternoon of juicy delight.  Unlimited rides, a celebration of art, cheesy steak on bread.  And with the din of the demolition derby in the background and bed time looming on the horizon, we took one last ride into the blinking night.

And then...we got puked on.

We will measure this summer by all the time slept away from our beds, from the dinners eaten out of the cooler, and by the number of flips done on the trampoline...and not by the last moments of the night on the Full Tilt.  Or the scent of vomit on our shoes.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Oh, Momma.

I guess Mother Nature was pissed that we were having so much fun drinking on the beach and doing front walk-overs and cart wheels and such.  She was aaang-gree.  Because she pissed on us.  Crazy urine flow- 2 inches in some six minutes.  So they say.  We wernt home.

She made a river of our road.  Upturned hunting camps and all the antlers inside.  Made the mice run for their lives.  She made the creek go where it has never gone before, pushing gigantic culverts where they didn't need to be.

So they're fixing it, like good little fixers do.  I'm listening to the beeping and dumping and pushing and moving.  I feel like a Wump from The Wump World hiding from the "earth-shaking machines" which "rumbled and roared high above". 

And as dump trucks bring up our new road in segments, she is still pissing on us.  

So they're trying to decide where to put culverts and where to make the stream go- all in anticipation that this will happen again.  And again.  And again.

I have not a garden.  Well, I do, but not much grows.  It's a mud puddle with bits of kale and onion.  And everything is moist- the couch, the towels, the sheets.  It's all moist.  Mold is growing on my cabinets where grease secretly hid.  And now, a living breathing fuzzy thing has invaded without invitation.  It seems to grow while I'm looking at it.  I think I have mold on my eyelids.  It's definitely behind my ears.

Mother Nature is cruel.  I had four robin babies in a nest in the crutch of my satellite dish when I left for the beach. I checked on them when I got back and they lifted their measly beaks to me as I pushed the screen out of the window to peek.  Yesterday they were gone.  Another kind of bird sat in their place.  I think there are birds out there who steal babies.  It's the second summer I've witnessed this kind of kidnapping.  It just doesn't seem right.

And Mother Nature, too, made very sharp rocks.  Very very sharp rocks, which punctured my air mattress while I was camping and made me lie all night on said sharp rocks.  It just doesn't seem right.  It just doesn't seem fair.  Mother Nature, please make it right.