Tuesday, March 27, 2012

After carrying this home, Puck absolutely had to...

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...add it to the nature table

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Photo Day...the Clothes, the Hair, one Smile, please?

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Passport Photo Shoot

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Post-Piano Recital

Lily did a lovely job at her piano recital, bringing home another "superior" this year. The house where the students play their first and then (if qualifying, which Lily did for the first time this year);  the honors recital, is magnificent; The Butterworth House in Moline, IL. It always makes us want to stick around...for 30 years or so! 
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

FOOD on "Letters from a Small State" Blog

I have the honor of having a guest post on the exquisitely well-written blog: "Letters from a Small State":

It's all about food and love in our home.

Elizabeth Howard is a blogger friend and a wonderfully talented writer. 

To Elizabeth:
I have learned so much from the creating of this post. I have read with attention other guest posts to your blog and learned from your writing and theirs. I was a bit anxious about having something of mine up next to these.

When I read it this morning, I felt heartened. You did a fabulous job editing and formatting my three paragraphs into a visually interesting read that kept flowing.  I see your talent in much more than simply writing. You are an artist! Thank you!

And thanks for having me over to your blog house!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday's Child..and Mother

Hate daylight savings time. Think positive thoughts. Too early for so late in the day. Kids more awake than I am.
It's raining too. Thunderstorms on the horizon. Spending the day at the library great option. No mud to threaten my freshly-shampooed carpet.
My hopes for hours by the creek today washed out. Even the three steps to the trampoline are a muddy mess.
At least thinking in complete sentences now, sort of. Gotta lay off the Hemingway for awhile.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Quelle Epoque!

This was the title of a radio show I used to listen to in France. It spotlighted one crazy new innovation each week. Flavored gelatin in a prepackaged container brought it to mind yesterday, in the midst of children with stomach flu, long division, Ivanhoe, cleaning house and arranging piano and archery lessons, the former at home, the latter out in a snowstorm.

I thought, "what kind of world am I living in where the ghost of the idea of canned Jello even enters my head?" Then it came to me...a flippin' fantastic world! I can give my little guy the one thing he is willing to eat, even though I did not think of it three hours prior, even though I do not have a cook to take over and make it for me while I hold a little head (or the other end) over a toilet once again. It is a despicable waste of resources, a shameful source of pollution once eaten, full of dye of all sorts of numbers and generally disgusting, but it will help his little tummy heal and make him feel better. 

We used to depend on each other; some of us had cooks, gardeners, nannies, chauffeurs (I really regret the absence of this last). Some of us were the servants, taking care of the masters, which was not nearly as nice as the other way around, but they watched out for us in some way too, we were not alone, and our neighbors and families were there for each other. We lived closer together, or at least in closer community. Now...we live our busy, isolated little lives, buzzing around in our own little (or not so little) automobiles, but someone had the foresight to put the gelatin in a plastic container for days like yesterday. We are masters of adaptation, we human beings. This gives me great hope for the future. So far, we have managed to adapt to the most diverse conditions with ease and speed enough to survive. And we are not always stupid. The local food movements are growing every day, more and more people I know are living with extended family. We are returning to the source, even as we pick and choose among modern conveniences that improve some aspect of life.

I love my life, which seems quite selfish some days. I don't want to feel the daily disapproval of say, a head butler, a maid, the lady of the manor, a spinster cousin. There may be something fundamentally wrong about this.  Perhaps being held accountable to a greater family around us makes us better people somehow. Or perhaps the truth is that we do well when we hold ourselves to high standards on our own, though we need other people at some point in our lives, to learn what those standards could and should be.

I am blessed to have a wonderful family who has grown to take me as I am; a little eccentric, a little ornery. They make me feel loved and important. I have friends who either like me the way I am or are kind enough not to mention my great failings. My friends are truly a support system and the saving grace of daily life, whether they are online or right here, dropping off food and videos or ready for a cup of tea or a glass of wine. But I am American, and I like to figure things out for myself, as do most of us  here. I like that I am able to provide for my family in all circumstances. Importing non-food from the far-flung corners of the globe for digestive purposes is not living up to my ideals, but it does mean I can take care of my children alone for a day.

But is there not another way to survive gastroenteritis? As many ways as there are children with mothers, I imagine. In France, for example, I got along fine without gelatin (or electrolyte-restoring liquids for infants) when upset tummies took over. I nursed my babies and fed my kids rice, grated apple, bananas, and on the second day: yogurt with quince jam, a little chicken and a soft-boiled egg. (And we did give them soda to drink, if things were really severe, doctor's orders.) When in Rome...we follow the Roman doctor's orders, and in the US it is; bananas, rice...and Jello (just add water!)