Alpha : Omega

After naming the sickness, they wheeled my father into a room with a view. One wall was a window which gave respite from all that hospitals hold, but the view was nothing to speak of, really.  Looking down, one saw a sliver of sidewalk, the busy road beside, and a bird's eye view of the hospital's largest parking lot.  The lot was gray and dull, with cars stacked in tidy rows.  Every so often, we watched a miniature someone, wrapped against the season's first chill, scurry toward a car, climb in, and drive away, and a new someone immediately slip in to fill the empty space.

When the nurse entered with her arms full of tubes, Mom took my place by Dad's side, and I turned to the window, drawn to the parking lot, as if by searching I could find that blessed patch of pavement where, a decade before I was born, they first locked eyes.


While We Wait

I was ready and prepared to announce spring's arrival.  I saw the signs.  We rejoiced in our first (and only, so far) brown eggs from the thawing chickens,

the season's first syrup shot through with sunlight,

and a balmy wind from the south.

But then bitter wind returned, banshee-wailing through the trees and our house's cracks all day and all night.  This week, we've eaten soup, thick with chicken, beans, and grains, swimming in broth simmered all day on the stovetop,

corned beef, baked all day to heat the cold side of the house, and cabbage roasted with olive oil and balsamic.

We've enjoyed the next morning's hush, with the surprise of quiet flakes falling thick on the land.

To offset the quiet images above, we've also had days of stir-crazy children and short-tempered Abigail, piles of clutter still only halfway sorted in the downstairs, and laundry, never-ending.  When spring comes, I'll be ready, but for now, I'm glad of these still spaces.

Once Upon a Time

There was a long day.

A very long day.

Delicata Squash on the Counter

Full Circle

My mom found several dozen rolls of undeveloped film while cleaning out the basement.  Hopefully my dad stashed more somewhere because it's been fun to come across surprises like this.  

Here, Deborah (six?) and I (sixteen?) ham it up for the camera in the back of my Aunt Alice's house, mid-renovation.  Never in a million years would I have thought I'd be living it in one day.

He Only Uses His Powers for Good

The girls amuse themselves with Ezekiel, like when they bribe him to show his muscles because they think it's funny.

Impressive, huh.

Even Zeke thinks it's funny.

The bribe was a turn listening to a Lamplighter Theatre audio drama that John downloaded for them onto the prehistoric Zune.

Her Turn

I wanted to take these pictures of a baby quilt my mom's about to give away,

when I noticed that Piper had quietly brought her quilt out from her bed and carefully spread it on the ground beside me.

When I asked her if she'd brought it out because she wanted a picture with her quilt like the one I took of Luci last week, she shyly shook her head "yes."

So I did.

Even Though You'll See Him Soon

For Grandma, aunties, and other interested parties.  This was late last week; he's even more adept now.  Lock up your valuables.  He's on the move.

Call Her Quinoa

That morning Piper asked if she could wear this antique shawl to church.  I said yes.  She immediately followed up her request with another-- could she also wear the hat?  I said yes.

It was only after taking these two pictures of her when we got home that I realized she was a prime candidate for this site my sister showed me.  

Sorry, Quinoa.  You'll have to play cards with someone else.

Don't worry.   As lovely as this little Light is,

she's not aloof enough to make it into Quinoa's inner circle.  Thank goodness.

I Bet Cate Blanchett Never Does This

To explain this picture Annika wanted to take of me,  I recently mentioned that I don't know beans about make-up, unless it's Hallowe'en face paint, and it's true, but I still get the idea every once in a while that if I just wore makeup, my ravishing beauty would melt the mirror.  After church, bored and avoiding better things, I wondered what I'd look like with eyeliner.  I don't have any eyeliner, so I got out my children's paints and applied some as if it were eyeliner.  

For the record, I look like a doofus with eyeliner.

But then I got distracted by the face paints and enhanced my natural wrinkles and jawline, instead, until Annika walked in and found me like this.  (Trust me, it's an improvement on eyeliner alone.)

Then I scrubbed my face raw, and that look is better yet.

Cut Rock : Barley Pops

This one's my favorite stumble-across so far.  I was looking for a shipping box in our basement and came upon the box Dad brought up for Christmas last year.  Since I'm a homebody and he's a shopper, every year he searched for cut rock candy for me and then delivered the goods before Christmas so I could get the stocking stuffers in order.  His last Christmas here, he struck gold at Boscov's and also found barley sugar lollipops for the first time since I was young.  I was delighted!

I made fun of him when he brought them up, though, because of the agony he must have felt as he labeled the box.  He had to label the contents for fear that I'd misplace it (as I would my own head if it weren't attached), but he didn't want to give away the secret, so he ineffectually tried both to label the box and simultaneously to prevent the children from reading the box's label.


Piper asked that I take a picture of this, her birthday card to Susannah, and the Surfer who hitched a ride inside because he's lost his board.  Genius!

The season's first taste,

When I was a young (twisted, cruel) girl, I'd tease my younger brother Luke by telling him that the garbage man was going to take him away.  (And also that I was going to get him...with a BUTTER knife, which understandably bothered him.)  I've continued the same with my children, barring the butter knife, and they think it's hysterical when I hoist them over the garbage can.  I don't know if I should have explained all that, but at least now you know why Millie asked if she could put Lucinda and Zeke in the bag of recycling.

(Hallowe'en 1996. I had just torn cartilage in my knee at soccer practice, but still wanted to paint my face as a.....a WHAT?!)

John married me solely for my looks.

Ezekiel is cuter than I could ever hope to be, especially when he's helping boil down sap in order to gain a few more spoonfuls as payment.


A New Wind

This week, we saw the first robin, heard the first sound of water running, and saw the first patch of ground appear in several months.

Yesterday, I called my mom to borrow Dad's bit and brace to tap the maple trees. He used it when he was a teenager, so it's as close to a family heirloom as we've got, and he usually brought it up for me, complete with verbal instructions on how to treat it so that it would last for several more generations. His voice rang through my head as I drilled.

I'm still waiting to hear the first red-winged blackbird. When I do, I'll believe that spring has come at last.



He sometimes plays by himself.

He sometimes reads to himself.

He's also an enthusiastic supporter of scones.

Double Vision

A Recipe for Scones

Step 1: have your mother make a batch of spiced pumpkin scones studded with raisins.

Step 2: Dump flour over the entire thing when she's not looking.

Step 3: Poke holes in as many as you can.

Step 4: replenish your energy stores by eating some of the extra flour (dump extra in Step 2 if you're worried there might not be enough by the time you reach Step 4)

Yup, looking good.

Step 5: clean up the table by eating the rest of the flour.

Step 6: ....Oooh, chickadee on the window!