This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings


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I’m baaaaaack….

Okay, so I want to get back into the swing of this blogging thing.  I’ve been between classes for over a month now, and I haven’t done much of anything that I’d hoped to do during this break!  I was going to tell you all sorts of things.  I was going to paint the baseboards.  I was going to redo the kids’ bathroom.

DSC_0172What have I been up to?  Well, I sorted out all of our winter and summer clothes.  Doesn’t sound like much, does it, but I started the process way back here on April 4th.  That was just the beginning.  Then the keep stuff has to get packed up again.  THEN, the closets and drawers in our rooms have to be cleaned out.  Winter stuff gets removed, summer stuff stowed.  And all the while they keep WEARING clothes and putting them down the laundry chute, so the whole laundry process must continue.  I’ve also started sorting out the other junk in the basement and gotten rid of a couple old strollers, infant car seats, baby bathtubs, outgrown shoes, a crib mattress, and various other items that were just taking up space in our very limited storage area.  So, there’s all that.

I’ve continued to put energy into this weight loss thing.  Sometimes it’s only mental energy, but that’s something.  I completely blew off the tracking thing from Thursday to Sunday this week.  I could give you my entire justification process, but as I know that it is just that, justification, I won’t bore you with it.  I was sure that when I stepped on the scale today I would be lucky to have maintained.  Nope, I lost 2.4 pounds.  It’s true, I didn’t go crazy over the weekend, other than maybe some extra bread here and there that was totally unnecessary.  We had a lovely lunch at Bravo! after church yesterday with my parents and an old and dear friend visiting from out of town.  I enjoyed a couple pieces of bread and a glass or two of wine, but I did order from the “lighter” menu and avoided the heavy pasta.  I thought it might be enough to keep me from packing on a couple of pounds.  I’m guessing that even if I’m good this week, I’ll find myself holding steady next Monday.  I’ve made peace with that, so we’ll just be good and move on.

Today, I’m glad for my Monday morning respite.  I should go take a shower, but I probably won’t.  I am too jealous of the opportunity to sit at the computer and write or surf with no interruptions.  I can pin the Baby Bird into the family room with a favorite TV show and get 24 minutes to go take a shower.  I almost never get an entire hour, almost two, to just sit at the table in front of the keyboard.  Monday mornings are a rarity.  Except, I could go see if there’s that sweater on sale at Old Navy that I wanted.  Maybe in a minute.

Summer is going to be crazy.  I start my classes the first week or so in June, and the big kids will be busy with softball and baseball.  The calendar is filling up and I’m a little nervous.  I’m glad it’s only going to be six weeks or so of chaos and I’m looking forward to those two weeks in August where everything is over and school hasn’t started yet.  I can’t believe I’m going to have a 3rd and 4th grader!  That’s nuts!

Okay, now it feels like I’m just rambling, so I’ll wrap it up.  Maybe I’ll pop back in this afternoon.

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Versatile Blogger

versatile-awardSo, I take more than a week off from this little blogging project and come back to find I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Now, in fairness, the sweet Genealogy Lady nominated me, and I think she might have been reaching since she was trying to only name folks she hadn’t nominated before, but it doesn’t diminish the fun of it.  Thank you so much, Deborah!  You can read her stuff at Genealogy Lady, World War II, one letter at a time.

I have seen a few of these award things around, but this is my first experience with them.  Yes, it’s a bit cheesy, but it’s an excellent way to get me going again.  I just haven’t been able to sit an write this week, and I really don’t know why.  So, here’s the deal with the award:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog. (done)

2. Nominate 15 blogs for the Versatile Blogger Award, link to their page, and leave a comment notifying them of the  newly bestowed honor. (hmm, better start thinking.)

3. Tell seven things about myself. (That will be easier, but I better nominate others first.)

 

Okay, nominations…

1.) The Sassy Pear

2.) The Insane and The Impossible

3.) Observations From The Cracked

4.) my family is not broken

5) Two Caged Birds

 

You know, I just don’t have 15.  I haven’t been blogging, or reading blogs, long enough to know 15 who should be nominated.  Yup, I’m gonna leave it at five.  If I come up with more, I’ll add them, but for now, it’s just five.

 

Now, seven things about me.

1.) I am a child of God.  I’m also a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, blah, blah, blah.  But first, I’m a child of God.

2.) I absolutely love sushi.  I don’t get to eat it enough because my family doesn’t eat it, but I love it.

3.) I am a direct descendant of Gov. William Bradford.  I don’t care enough to actually join the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, but I’ve confirmed the lineage with them, and I might someday if the kids want want to apply for scholarships.  I’m also a direct descendant of the first Italian American, Pietro Cesare Alberti.  He married a Dutch woman, and thus ends my Italian heritage.

4.) I haven’t grown my natural hair color out since I was 13.

5.) I was 40 years old before I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

tongue6.) My most favorite leisure activity in the whole world is reading a good book in a comfy chair with a warm (or cold, depending on the season) beverage.  It almost never happens.

7.) I can touch my nose with my tongue.  It’s not my best look, but I can do it.


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A Jumble to share

Today is one of those days where I feel like I have a lot to say, but none of it is coming together in my head in any coherent way.

Boston.  Oh, wow.  I think I am processing this the best anyone could, but it just stays with me.  The bombings happened, and since we don’t really know, yet, who or why, that’s all I have.  They happened.  Lots of people were hurt.  Three people died.  I am, of course, horrified that this could take place in my country.  My country that I thought was above this, safe from this.  Not a country where suicide bombers are part of weekly, if not daily life.  Not even a country where bombings are monthly or annual events.  The USA, the United States, America!  We are a lot of things to a lot of people around the world, but not this.  We have drunk driving that kills people, gun violence that kills people, teenage suicide from bullying, obesity, cancer from questionable food additives, blah, blah, blah!  But people do NOT regularly die in bombings here!  And the only people you hear of with limbs blown off lost them while over in one of those other countries fighting for ours!  So, I’m processing all that.

But then I see another picture of Martin Richard.  I’m sure you’ve seen this picture by now, it’s all over the news channels and social media.  It’s so dear and so sweet, and what an innocent face.  And he’s holding that poster with that message.  “No more hurting people.”  That’s not a line a teacher gave him.  I don’t know what the assignment was, but it wasn’t “print ‘no more hurting people’ at the top of the page.”  That came from him.  That came from his own heart.  Every time I see this picture I get weepy.  Somehow I just can’t process the death of this one eight-year-old.  Sandy Hook saw the deaths of 20 kids, not to mention the six adults, and it was horrible and I cried and I grieved.  Somehow, it was easier?  No, that’s not the word, just more readily processed.  Maybe that it was so big.  Maybe because there were ALL those sweet faces flashed on our screens every night for weeks, even as the networks worked to tell us a bit about each child.  Maybe it desensitized me a bit from the real pain of that tragedy.  Maybe.  I don’t know.  All I know is that Martin is harder for me to wrap my head around.  I have an eight-year-old boy, but he was just seven, a second grader, when Sandy Hook happened, just a year older than those innocents.  I don’t KNOW why it’s so much harder, but it is.  The child had just run, in utter joy, to hug his father at the finish line.  I haven’t seen any pictures of those moments, if they exist, but I can picture it.  And I do picture it.  I can’t help picturing it.  That father-son hug in a moment of triumph.  It haunted my dreams last night.

But then, I do want to talk about the other stuff in my life, because, well, it is moving on.  The main tasks in my life right now (namely feeding, cleaning, cleaning after, and supervising three kids) don’t wait for me to sit and watch the news and try to figure out how I feel about the death of a child I never met.  It isn’t my job to find the perpetrators.  I can’t help with the investigation.  I’ll get on with life and pray for all those whose jobs those are.  I’ll pray for Martin’s family, and all the others who were killed or injured and their families.  I’ll pray for me and my family.  I’ll keep doing laundry and making meals.

And potty training.  I’ll get on with the potty training.  As best I can, anyway.  I’m sort of on this ride alone now, I think.  He showed a little interest yesterday, so we jumped on that.  Two hours and four pairs of underpants later, my patience was worn out, there was half a roll of paper towel in the garbage, and Baby Bird got a mid-dinner bath.  I’m glad he showed some interest and I hope my frustration didn’t show too much, but I would not say it was a successful day.  If I get that load of laundry done, we’ll try again this afternoon.

My weigh-in was Monday.  I mentioned that I was up a bit.  Not much, just about a pound, but that’s the wrong direction, isn’t it?  As of this morning, I’d dropped that and another half-pound, so I have high hopes for next week’s official weigh-in.  I was bummed about the wrong direction of this week’s number, but really, it isn’t too bad.  Consider that last Thursday I ate a big dinner of rouladen and spaetzle at a local German restaurant in Kent.  And Saturday night I had wine and cheese with my girlfriends.  And Sunday after the hymnfest there was a wine and cheese reception, though I did call that dinner.  So, really that little bit wasn’t so bad.  I’m rather proud of myself for jumping right back on the wagon this week.  Of course, Thursday through Sunday is always the hardest, so here we go…

I have to get moving.  A couple pounds have come off, but only a few.  I have to get moving.  I know it, but I don’t like it.  I’m not going to think about that anymore today.  Maybe tomorrow.


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Sharing the News

On Sunday, I participated in a hymnfest at my church.  It was a fundraiser for the Lutheran Music Program and it’s major function, Lutheran Summer Music Academy.  It was a moving experience and I wanted to tell you all about it, but I didn’t get to it yesterday morning.

I also wanted to talk to you about my Monday weigh-in for WW.  I gained a little.  I have mixed feelings.  I had a lot to say about all that, but I didn’t get to it yesterday morning.

When I got back to my computer yesterday afternoon, I found my Facebook newsfeed filled with references to something awful in Boston.  There were all sorts of calls for prayers and questions about what’s wrong with people.  I had to turn on the TV and get the quickest updates on CNN.  Suddenly my feelings about worship and music, or my weight loss struggles, all seemed petty and insignificant.

Now, I’m not going to write about my feelings about the events in Boston themselves.  There are plenty of columnists, commentators, and bloggers out there spouting about all of that,  They all seem to be saying pretty much the same thing and most of it, I have no issue with.  Most of it involves more eloquent versions of what my Facebook filled up with in the hours after.  “Why would someone do this?”  “People are messed up.”  “Look for the helpers.” (Thank you, Mr. Rogers.)  “Remember the acts of kindness.”  “Here are the latest facts.”

What I want to write about is my children and how they are processing this and how I help them.  I’m going to say things here that lots of people with disagree with.  I’m going to handle this in a way that many of their peers’ parents will not like.  I’m going to tell and show them things that I will be criticized for.  I’m okay with that, and I believe they will be better off for it.  So, you’ve been warned that we may disagree.  I welcome anyone’s thoughts on this, both in support and in criticism, provided it’s respectful, but the comments in this blog are moderated, just so you know, though I have only once not approved a comment and it was so long and nonsensical I don’t know what they were talking about.

Back to getting the news of what happened.  It was after school.  The older children were supposed to be doing homework, but were passing back and forth through the kitchen alternately asking for snacks and drinks in an attempt to postpone the work.  The little one was picking up on their requests and echoing them.  This is the time of day I usually want to crawl under a rock, or the table, but I gave everyone something to eat, something to drink, one more bite, sip, question.  Okay, everyone OUT of my kitchen!  Finally it was a bit quieter and I opened up the Chromebook to check on the Internet World.  I saw my Facebook feed and turned on the TV.  I watched in horror as they showed the video they had over and over, received new video and added it.  Thankfully, CNN was respectful and never showed any images that were too gory, but there was no doubt that lots of people had been hurt and badly.  I got teary, I re-experienced some of the feelings of 9-11.  I prayed.  I folded another load of laundry.  After all, life goes on here.  But the TV stayed on.

DSC_0136After a while, the kids finished their homework and began making noise that I found disturbing and I yelled at them to knock it off.  Middle Bird and Baby Bird went out into the backyard to play baseball, but they still need some level of supervision, so I watched them, and several times corrected them.  At some point both older kids were in the kitchen and stopped to look at the TV.  This is the part I know some of you will disagree with.  I did not turn off the TV.  I did not choose to change my preferred method of receiving my news.  I let them see it, as it was happening.  They asked me what was going on, and I told them all that we knew at the time.  There had been some explosions in Boston around the finish line of the marathon, that a couple people had died and more had been injured.  They said, “wow” and ran outside, laughing and carrying on as if life were normal.  Because life IS normal for them.

Later when I called them to dinner, the news was still on, and they got a few more details, but they didn’t have many questions and I felt no need to have any kind of “discussion” with them at the time.  They got a bit more of an idea of how serious it all was when the president spoke, but then, I have the news on a lot and the president speaks a lot, so they weren’t terribly alarmed.

Meanwhile, I read my Facebook feed and found more and more parents agonizing about how to tell their children about “today.”  Now, don’t misunderstand.  These are mostly parents who I have a great deal of respect for, and in many cases even try to model.  These are parents who I know to be grounded and honest, parents who work very hard to be good parents and raise good, well-rounded citizens who will make the world a better place.  I am not here to criticize their parenting, just to point out how I am making different choices.  I read over and over about how they were shielding their children from the day’s events to protect them and their innocence.  Many of them believe that their children are too young (and some are), or too fragile, or too emotionally vulnerable, to know about the details of the day.  I do not tell them how much I disagree with this particular choice.  They get to make it, and it is emotional, and engaging them on Facebook can never be productive at a time like this.  But I do disagree, in most cases.  I think our kids, my kids anyway, are not so innocent as we’d want them to be.  I think a healthy eight-year-old can handle this.  I think my kids can handle this.  I think my kids have to handle this.

This morning I woke them as usual and came downstairs to turn on the TV and get breakfast on the table.  The older two came down and started eating.  As I checked my email with my back to the table I heard the Middle Bird say, “Oh, come ON!  It happened yesterday!  It’s not even news anymore, get over it.”  That’s when I knew it was time for me to interject some parental spouting.  I explained that it IS news.  It’s the biggest news story in the country right now.  And you will be hearing about it for days, weeks, even years.  It’s big news because it happened here.  Yes, there are places where this stuff happens every day and the lives lost there are no less important, but that news has lost it’s shock.  This happened here.  In our country.  Yes, Worthington, Ohio is a long way from Boston, but it’s our country.  It didn’t happen in Boston because it’s Boston, or because there’s some war in Boston that isn’t here.  It could just as easily have happened at the Capital City Half Marathon, or the Worthington Memorial Day Parade, where my daughter and I marched with her Brownie Troop last year.  I told them all this.  They were chastened for making light of it.  I told them that one of the dead was an eight-year-old boy.  They got it.

Four generations of firstborn daughters

Four generations of firstborn daughters

My grandmother died when these kids were three and four.  My husband and I discussed at length whether they would be taken to the funeral, and though his initial feeling was that there was no good to come of taking them, I eventually convinced him that there was.  I am so glad I did.  First of all, they grieved.  They knew their Great Grandma.  They had a relationship with her.  They knew a bit about MY relationship with her, and they understood that she was their grandma’s mommy.  I believed, and even found research to back me, that their grief and feelings needed to be acknowledged, not just through talking about it, but by allowing them to attend the funeral and be with all the other people who grieved.  I believe that we did the right thing, that we allowed them to have an early understanding that death is a natural part of life and that everyone will experience it.  But more than that, because of my faith, I allowed them to see the joy in the middle of the sadness.  I showed them that even while we cry because we won’t be with Great Grandma anymore, we are Easter people and we rejoice in knowing that she is with her Father in Heaven, and we will join her someday.  I am blessed to have this faith.  I am blessed to share it with my children.  I wish it for everyone I know.  It’s the same logic I used when Grandma died that I use today to share the news of Boston’s bombings.  And since my kids have the healthiest attitudes about death of any kids I know, I think my logic is sound.

If I did not have this faith, or want to share it with my children, I would handle the news today in much the same way.  My opinion of their ability to take this in and process it would not be changed.  But how very lucky I am to be able to tell them that Jesus weeps for the dead and injured, and rejoices for the many acts of faith and kindness shown by “the helpers.”  I don’t have to just say, “That’s how it is.”  Well, that IS how it is.  This IS the world we live in.  There IS evil in the world.  But God is in the world, too.  I thank you, Lord, for my faith.  May my words and actions bring light to others who might share that faith.  Let my children see me grieve and process this.  Let me be their model and their guide.  For now, the TV will stay on in my kitchen.


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BACON!

close-up-nourriture- baconThat got your attention, didn’t it?

Oh, yes, I love bacon.  I REALLY love bacon.  I’m not sure I trust someone who doesn’t love bacon (religious observance exemptions, of course).  But bacon, as much as I love it, is not worth the points.  It takes several pieces to make me happy once I start eating it, and I don’t want to blow six WW points on bacon.  PLUS, I really like it sort of under cooked and not too crisp.  Mmmm, but that’s even more fat and points, so I must say no.  But the family still loves bacon.  Nothing makes my family happier on a Saturday morning than when I cook up a whole pound of the stuff and serve them eggs and/or pancakes with it.  So, I can EAT bacon with my family, or I can cook it and NOT eat bacon with my family, or I can not BUY the bacon and no one eats it.  Today, I made the bacon and did NOT eat it.  I’m so excited, and nearly high on this accomplishment.  I enjoyed the smell, and the smiles, but I did not eat any.  And it’s best that way, because one bite leads to one strip, to two, to three, you get the idea.  And don’t worry, the four of them did not polish off an entire pound of bacon.  There are several pieces left to put on Daddy Bird’s bagel sandwiches in his lunches this week.

Now to figure out how I’m going to skip all food until I meet with my girlfriends tonight to have wine and cheese.  More things I love that aren’t always worth the points, but tonight, I will splurge.  Okay, okay, I’ll eat some veggies at lunchtime!


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DON’T GO! It’s the same place!

Yeah, I totally changed the look of this place.  And I’m not sure I won’t do it again soon.  Drives my husband crazy when I rearrange the furniture, but I like it.  I like the new look.  For now.  🙂


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Without preparation, I heard

Without preparation, I heard.  Just to repeat.  It was amazing.


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Without preparation, I heard

Photo from kent.edu

Photo from kent.edu

When I found out that Elie Wiesel was to speak at Kent, and that as a student, I could get a free ticket, I did not hesitate to claim my ticket and spring for one more at just $20.  A very reasonable price for the opportunity to see such an incredible figure.  Holocaust survivor, writer, humanitarian, teacher, all around amazing man.  I had grand plans to reread Night, which I haven’t read since high school, and look up more of his work.  I wanted to be prepared to see him.  To remind myself of his talents in storytelling and presenting a spiritual message in a physical story.  Yeah, big plans that never happened.  And for once, I’m glad I didn’t get around to my big plans.

I am certain that Professor Wiesel has given pretty much the exact same talk many times.  He was introduced by the president of the university and we could all hear him clearly and watch as his words scrolled under his picture on the two giant screens, closed caption style.  Then when the professor started to speak, my heart sunk.  I could barely hear him, and I couldn’t understand him at all.  I read the scroll of his words, but clearly the person imputing his words was having trouble, too, so it was delayed and not even close to verbatim.  But the place was silent.  Everyone in the place, more than 5000 people, strained to hear him.  We sat up straight, tilted our heads, and struggled to drink in the message he was delivering.  There was a collective response to the difficulty in hearing him that surprised me.  We, as a group, all seemed to lean in, to wish the microphone or sound engineer to adjust it so we could hear better.  We physically wished to hear him.  It was moving before we even found ourselves understanding him.

But we managed to follow his talk.  Between lip reading and the slightly delayed scroll of paraphrase, we managed to follow the first several minutes of what he came to tell us.  He talked about April 11, 1945.  He talked about the liberation of Buchenwald and how they didn’t know what to do.  The Americans showed up and said, “Hey, you’re free!”  And the Jews in the camp just looked at each other in confusion.  What is this “free?”  They’d very nearly lost the ability to even comprehend that concept.  Can you IMAGINE?  So, they prayed the prayer of the dead.  Together, at the same time, just began just praying for the dead.  We took this in.

He talked about education.  His, his oppressors, in general.  He asked how could this happen.  How COULD this happen?  It wasn’t a lack of education.  These people had fancy degrees from the best schools.  They WERE educated.  And, yet, this happened.  These things happened.  And if we as a civilization get some sort of collective Alzheimer’s disease,  it can happen again.  It will happen again.

So, he tells us these things, and by now the moderator and the sound engineers have offered him a handheld microphone, which he accepted to great applause from the audience.  He tells us all this and we listen, rapt in our attempts to hear every word.  Then he starts to talk about hope.  How can there be hope after an experience like the one he had at the hands of the Nazis?  How can hope and faith survive after such things have happened, perpetrated by the some of the best educated in the world at the time?  How can there be hope for the future.  His answer was so simple, so basic, so wonderful.  It amounts to this: nobody can take the hope from anyone else, ever.  If we see no hope, we must invent it.  We must invent reasons to hope, or just hope itself.  It is not for him, or anyone else to TAKE another’s hope.

He talked more about faith, and tradition.  He has, obviously, a very Jewish perspective on these things, but that perspective was not lost on this Christian.  He talked about how his faith has been tested and he has arrived at a conclusion.  That is that sometimes it does not matter that you question your faith.  Faith is more than “I believe.”  He is unable to turn his back on the faith of his parents and grandparents because of what they believed and because of how they lived it.  It would not be right for him to deny THEIR faith, their traditions.  I was reminded of a conversation I had with my daughter a few months ago.  She was in tears because she had worked herself into a tizzy because she found herself questioning her own belief in God.  I held her and assured her that it is absolutely okay to question.  God does not expect an eight-year-old girl to understand and accept the answers that generation after generation of grown ups have devoted their lives to figuring out.  To not doubt is to not really value the faith you have, I think.  I assured her that it is enough, at eight years old to simply accept my faith and that I tell her it is true, and that God will never, ever turn His back on her for her doubts.  (I know that many of you will disagree with me on this theologically and philosophically, and I will be happy to discuss it in more depth later if there is interest, both from a religious and a parenting view)

There was so much more that he said about hope, over an over that word, “hope.”  I can’t even take it all in.  I will dig out my paperback copy of Night.  I have reserved several other of his works at my local library already.  I left last night wanting to soak him up and immerse myself in his message of hope and wisdom, and by extension, of love and forgiveness.  He strengthened my faith, and I wanted more of that.  I am glad I didn’t read more before last night.  I might have been more familiar with the things he said, as I’m sure he has said them all before many times.  But it wouldn’t have filled me in the same way.  It wouldn’t have been the same breathtaking experience.  I don’t think I could have heard him, really heard him, with the same full meaning.


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“Where you see no hope, we must invent it!”

That’s just one of my favorite quotes of the night.  Another, “Anyone who listens to a witness becomes a witness.”  Oh, Elie Wiesel was so amazing.  So inspiring.  So incredibly hopeful.  I’m still processing it all.  I want to tell you all about it, but I’m so tired.  I will, though.  I will tell you all about it as soon as I get a chance.  In the meanwhile, know that it was fabulous. and inspiring, and humbling, and just amazing.

Stay tuned.


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We’re party animals, aren’t we?

Yup.  My mother and I will make the nearly three hour drive today to Kent, Ohio.  We’re going to see Elie Wiesel speak at Kent State.  The event begins at 7 and we will not likely get home before 1am.  We are both trilled at this chance to see the author of Night.  I can’t wait to share my thoughts on this event.  I had grand plans to reread so much of his writings before today, but it didn’t get done.  I guess I’l reread in light of what I see tonight.