As is usual in these parts, this week fall abruptly turned off the lights and left, slamming the door on its way out. Where Tuesday morning dawned sunny and pleasant, the streets lined with red and green and gold, Tuesday night it rained and Wednesday it snowed. Our beleaguered walnut tree began Tuesday as an ethereally golden harbinger of doom and by Wednesday evening it was a stick with a sodden pile of brown muck at its base. All done. Next!
Luckily for my mood I like this time of year, with its frost-on-the-grass mornings and its bleak, unpretentious prospects. Where some people get melancholy and weepy as the days shorten up and night falls faster, I feel a little tingling of anticipation (books fire holidays birthday Food pies stuffing PRESENTS), which Helen, as a fellow late-fall birthday-er, totally gets. We started reading The Long Winter during the uniformly beautiful days of August and had to put it up because "it makes me want it to be wiiiiinter." Well, okay, Muffin, although I wouldn't really call this one a paean to the glories of snow. I get it. You're my daughter, through and through.
The other one in my house, though. If I hadn't been present and accounted for at his birth I might be starting to wonder right about now whether he truly belonged to me. This week, for example, he came home with a stack of math problems and set about doing them cheerfully and even, I would say, with relish and zeal. And zest. He talks about them, kind of smacking his lips with the deliciousness of it. Meanwhile, I vaguely looked over the packet in the interest of parental involvement and immediately felt a build up of static cling in my head. I don't remember all my dreams this week but I sense that one involved panicky toil over just such a stack of problems.
In contrast but related, Wednesday he got the chance to go see Obama speak in downtown Denver. After a little convincing related to the okayness of missing Bear Club and the once-in-a-lifetime-ness and the crowds-will-be-fine, he agreed to go. "How was it?" I asked when he got back, excited for him. "Good," he said in that slightly accented monotone which means he did enjoy himself, however little he may effuse. "What surprised you the most?" This is a little conversational gambit I use sometimes to get around the "how-was-it-great" problem. He was silent for a while. Sack of potatoes silent. He might have been thinking, or he might just have been absenting himself from a difficult line of questioning.
"Well? Anything? What was most surprising?"
More silence. Then: "The snow."
Well. Okay then. The snow. You'll be able to tell your grandkids you saw Obama and it was great, it snowed.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
|It took them four hours, but this entire pile and more made it to the back yard.|
So we're rushing toward Halloween, costumes ready, pumpkins grown and picked, pumpkin lights up. Ordinarily this is one of my favorite months. Warm days, cool nights, perfect conditions for training the children in quasi-agricultural labor, which as everyone from Agricola on knows is the best possible thing for their little characters (now if we could also encourage them to engage in that labor outside the home, i.e., on someone else's payroll, we'd be gold. As it is I'm out $30 bucks after a particularly vigorous bout of weekend Helping.) The kids are doing well--it's kind of a golden year for both of them, possibly the last one ever (at least that will occur in tandem). After all, Si starts Middle School next year. Life as a nuclear family will only go down from here.
It was our anniversary last week (fifteen years!). We spent it as couples at a certain life stage do, which is to say wedged into tiny plastic chairs at a school function:
|M, at least, got to stretch his legs a bit.|
|That tree is really one of the best aspects of the neighborhood.|
|See? Still looks good, with 100% less noxious drywall dust.|
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
40 miles of trails, all dirt. Two wheels, no engine (except my legs). Huge vistas. Gold autumn leaves. Blue sky. Home to green chili stew, a Myrcenary microbrew, my dawgs and cats and the love of my life. A perfect day. So grateful.
I left this comment: "This sounds like pretttty much my perfect day."
Then I thought: uh, I think. That would be enjoyable, right? Or is that just something I used to like and now I like something else? What do I like?
Yup, it's official: I don't even know what a perfect day is anymore. I count a weekend good if I:
- Clean all the things;
- Get a good long run in and sling some dirt and branches around in the back;
- Spend some quality one-on-one time with the kids; and/or
- Do something. Like: take the kids to a new park, go for a hike, go camping/skiing, etc.
|For example, this past weekend we did this. Enjoyable? Yes. Life-affirming? Hmm.|
|I used to dream about having a place to garden. Now I have it. It's nice.|
(Grass is greener. Duh.)
Well, fine. There probably is a grass-is-greener element. Maybe if I were living a life in which I could see a beautiful fall day and decide to hit the trails for a 40-mile bike ride, I would be thinking wistfully of Life with a Family or Life with Affordable Health Insurance/ 401k/ steady paycheck that didn't require hustle. Or maybe I would be living my dream life. I really don't know. (I'm pretty sure I would miss having the kids, despite all their whining and meMEme-ness and preferred habitat: suburban big city-ness. The steady paycheck, though. Hmm. If I could have "paycheck," hold the "steady"--well.)
|I really would miss this guy. Most of the time.|
|He appreciates it, though. You can really tell.|
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Well, for those of you who haven't noticed it, fall is definitely here:
Although you might be forgiven for not noticing, what with it being so dang hot. I'm only sort of complaining, though, since as of the itty bitty mini cold snap we had a week or so ago, the garden had only yielded two (2) ripe tomatoes. The cold snap didn't manage to frost, at least not in our yard, so the tomatoes pulled through and now are turning out all sorts of ripe fruit. Yay tomatoes, etc.
|Only slightly snaggletoothed.|
|This is the first time we've done the corn maze during daylight hours.|
|It's definitely in daylight. Still vaguely ominous, though.|
|Also kind of fret-inducing.|
|Especially when big brother's in charge.|
|We did make it all the way through, though, which was a first.|