Watching Stars on the Hood of the Car

Jackknives in the sock drawer and ermine in the freezer.

Three years ago today. 
Death is still terrible and confusing down here.  It's still almost-understood and right at times.

It's harder to write now than it was then-- then when emotion overwhelmed inhibition and the need to process was so great-- but I came across this in my blogger drafts.  A rush of fragmented prose from 5 months after Dad died that I typed into a blogger draft box because a need existed, but I had ripped up my last journal nearly a decade before.

April 9th. 

Six days before my 36th birthday.

A taste of spring in the air but still with winter's chill.
Gray day.
Typing my mother's Last Will and Testament
while staring at my father's Last Will and Testament
(and plagiarizing nearly the entire thing where appropriate).
Leaving spaces for my mother's initials and signature
while staring at my father's initials and signature--

the signature marked from a hospital bed in a city three hours away.
The will my uncle produced because the need was clear, and Dad had never written one.

I come by procrastination honestly.

On the familiar wooden clipboard of my father's
I secure two freshly printed copies of my mother's will, and, in so doing,
notice that tucked behind all the rest and waiting in the back is my father's last note. 
I know it is so because at the top my mother's neat handwriting names it "Dad's last note."

Fri. Nov. 7,-
*Social Worker-
1. "Life" Insur. Policies- Where & NYS Pension System?

2.   Keys-  Cars, misc., tractors, Ladders, Lawn tractors. 

Those sweeping lines and flourishes.
Asterisks, circles, lines, emphatic quotation marks.
All sloppier than usual because he was so very weak.

3. Car Registrations- Transfer to Nancy

I run my fingers over the ink.
Try to conjure him up.
His fingers on the pen
(from which flowed the ink)
and my fingers on the ink.


Hallowe'en 2017: The Best Yet**

Not because the costumes were the best yet-- nope.  Not because the candy haul was the bulkiest yet-- nope. Not because the neighbors were the chattiest yet-- nope (even though they were the chattiest yet, when a few houses can easily equal over an hour of chatting). Not because Debbie came with us, which makes everything better (though she did!).  Not even because once we visited the most important Nanticoke-neighbor houses, we kept driving to the nearest town for a trunk-or-treat and a bit of walking around (even though we did). Nope, nope, nope, nope, but BECAUSE COSTUMES WERE COMPLETED IN ONE AFTERNOON THE DAY BEFORE HALLOWE'EN, AND I WAS NOT A CRAZED, COSTUME LUNATIC.  The children were so happy.  So, so happy.

The day of Hallowe'en, the children played board games with John while I took Skylark to a doctor's appointment and ran errands.  The sole hectic part was applying makeup before leaving and then a few minutes spent snapping grainy pictures before hopping into the van.

Zeke's costume was the only thing I spent any money on--  50 cents worth of spray paint to cover his axe, and that was that.  Everything else we pulled from dress-up bins and made from materials we had on hand.  So stinking easy.  We've decided that we'll do this every year.  Low-key costumes and board games are the wave of the future!

Aidan was the Big Bad Wolf, Cadence was Little Red, I just went as myself (or the Grandmother), and Zeke was the brave, wolf-splitting woodcutter.

Lucinda was Jemima Puddleduck (a personal hero), and Susannah was the crafty fox.

Lucinda was head-over-(webbed)heels in love with the duck feet and mask we made.  "Take a picture of my FEET!" she said, so I did; the girls were delighted by the man who commented that her bill was almost as big as his electric bill and have retold the joke several times.  Harhar.

Susannah's costume (like Aidan's) was pulled together from last year's woodland party costumes.

Sly fox.  Scrawny duck.

 Piper wanted to be an Indian.  Honest Ab-- I made and painted the headband the day of Hallowe'en, so I guess the costumes weren't completely done the day before.  Millie did her face paint (the blue eyeshadow was a concession to Piper's love of inappropriate lids).  Sweet little Nut Berry.

Just pretend she's closing her eyes to show off her eyeshadow here...

 Annika was Legolas from the Lord of the Rings books.  She was thrilled that half a dozen people in town guessed who she was.  She painted a red bow from my childhood brown, and we scrounged everything else from past costumes and around the house, including a leaf pin for her cloak that was just like Legolas'.

 Even though she hasn't seen the movies, we looked at pictures of the movie version of Legolas to pull together her costume, and she nailed it.  That hair!  That face!  Good thing Orlando Bloom is pretty enough to be a girl.

 Mildred was Arwen, and her costume was the easiest of all, thanks to clothes from my closet, her long, dark hair (so handy!), and the cape Titi made for her 13th birthday.  Look, Titi!  It still flows beautifully in the wind!

And the hood still fits.

Oops. I forgot to get individual pictures of Zeke, Aidan, and Cadence.  Sorry, children.  I'm not crazy enough this year to even care.

**Putting up one timely post in 2 months is the best I can do. Pictures from September and October to come someday.  Maybe.

The End.  Over and Out.  Vamoose.

And Because of Skylark

I haven't been taking many pictures the last two months.  Limited time; limited desire.  These aren't good pictures, but this baby is Very, Very Good.  A houseful of children and a new baby-- a mighty gift.