This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings

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Summer love

I wish I could paint you a picture of my backyard, but I’m not sure my powers of description are up to it.

It’s very green. It’s July and the driest part of the summer hasn’t arrived, yet. Our yard has it’s share of weeds, but we tamed quite a few in the grass this summer. The “flower bed” that lines the back of the property, however, is hip high in things that weren’t intended to grow there. The four foot wide section that lines the edge of the patio and then around the corner of the house could be a flower bed, but it’s all ivy. Ivy and weeds, but my husband yanked most of those before the holiday weekend. I mean to dig it all out at some point and put in a garden. I want to grow tomatoes, and peppers. and squash, and maybe some herbs. It’s the only section of the yard that has any chance of getting enough sun during the day.

There’s a pretty large pin oak that dominates the yard. It provides a lovely shade this time of year and along with the sweet gum in in the front yard, allows us to keep the air off on days where the highs top out in the low 80s and the nightly lows dip into the 60s. To the other side is a gorgeous royal maple that’s just large enough for its branches to barely touch those of the pin oak. Now that we’ve removed the overgrown burning bushes next to the patio, I enjoy watching it’s strangely lovely purple leaves in the sunset these long summer evenings.

The deck I’m sitting on is pretty old. In a few years, we’ll have to tear it out and see about the retrograde situation back here. I don’t know what we’ll put in later, but for now, this old deck is wonderful. I love the old boards. The feel of a deck that’s been here for 30 years or so is different than a new one. There’s a pergola roof with warped slats that will probably have to come down before the deck, but it lends a certain character to the whole thing, too.

For the holiday weekend, I hung some cheap strands of Christmas light style Chinese lanterns. They are too cheap to leave up long term, but they make me smile on these perfect summer days. As it’s getting dark, they make the whole place feel comfortable.

In the yard there are about a million twinkling lightening bugs right now. The flutter up to the deck and twinkle out at the fence line. It’s like looking out on a fairyland. I can hear the traffic of the major highway¬†that runs across the top of our city just north of us, but it seems a lot further away from my suburban backyard. I know there is a mall, and a grocery store, a gas station, and about six banks all within site of my roof and I can see the chain hotel just two backyards away. Still, it’s an oasis here. The darker it gets, the more the fireflies show.

I’m not a summer girl. Summer may actually be my least favorite season. Tonight, though, is different. Tonight I am all about summer. Summer in Ohio. Summer on my own back deck. Summer with only the most basic responsibilities. Summer as its meant to be.

Give me another week or two and I’ll be ready for fall. ūüôā20140709_211812


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“Too much of a good thing” or “Time keeps on ticking, ticking…”

I just read a friend’s Facebook status that got me thinking. She posted, in part, “It’s been the loveliest of holiday seasons, but I’m excessed out.¬†Welcoming January and austerity in all things.” Hadn’t thought of it until then, but that’s exactly how I feel.

raw-veggie-and-hummus1If you’ve read anything I’ve written in the last few months you know that I adore the holidays. From Halloween right through to Epiphany, I just love it all. The anticipation of November, the chaos and parties of December, even this last week of the year that feels a little like limbo. I love it. I’m really excited about New Year’s Eve and the fun we’ll have with neighbors tomorrow night. But something about my friend’s status knocked me out. I AM ready for some austerity. I am craving simplicity in lots of ways. I want simple foods like toast and raw veggies. I want to drink water, maybe juices. I want to wear nothing but pajamas or jeans and sneakers for a week straight. I want to go to church and worship with predictable, liturgical services.

I wonder why we do this. Is it a human thing, or something our modern culture has taken to the next level? We don’t have to feast to increase our fat reserves while the food is plentiful, before the long bleak winter. I have had such a wonderful Christmas season, but I’m ready for there not to be any cookies or chocolates on my kitchen counter. I’m ready to have simple meals that clean up quickly and let me just sit with the kids. School will resume for me soon enough, too, and I’ll be missing that mental down time.

Competitive Hat Stackers Party, complete with trash talking

Competitive Hat Stackers Party, complete with trash talking

Not that we haven’t enjoyed some simple pleasures over the last few weeks. There have been lots of board games played. The grown ups watched all of the first season of “House of Cards.” (I highly recommend it! Kevin Spacey is phenomenally bad!) I’ve experimented with cooking some of the venison from my husband’s successful hunt back in November. Several mornings I got to actually sleep in without getting up just because a kid was awake. I scraped a few things off our plates this season so we wouldn’t be too stressed, and it worked, but it’s still, well, excessive. Despite our best efforts, the kids haven’t slept quite as much as they should. Meals have been irregular, and usually consist of at least 50% cookies. The house is a wreck, every room strewn with leftover bits of wrapping paper and ribbon. There are shrink wrapped boxes of science experiments and LEGO kits, shirt boxes with tissue paper still inside, and the tree is dropping needles on top of it all. Christmas just seems tired.

This is why I have to live where there are seasons. I was so excited for this season and now I’m excited for it to be over. I will enjoy winter for a bit longer, hoping for more snow with each weather forecast, and then I’ll be done with that, and ready for spring. I’ll watch for green shoots and blooms and enjoy having the windows open, then I’ll hate putting the air conditioner on but will revel in taking the kids to the pool each day of the heat. I’ll be SO ready for fall to arrive and the kids to go back to school. I NEED this constant change and turnover. I can’t say why, but I do. I need lots of external stimuli to give me constant feedback on the progression of time. And looking back over the past, particularly since my children were born, knowing what season it was has helped me place so many memories on the timeline. I can remember that Girlie was just about two when she said that funny thing that one time when everyone laughed because it was really cold out, lots of snow. And Middle Bird was just about three when he got so dirty that one time and dirtied up everything because he wearing shorts, but long sleeves, so it must have been spring, not far from his late March birthday.

Time and it’s passage is becoming a recurring theme for me, huh?


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I’m panicking a little…

Just a little. Not the usual holiday panic about getting it all done. I’m good. I don’t bake tons, I do some shopping, but not a crazy amount. There is a little wrapping that still needs to be done, but those gifts won’t be exchanged until December 28th. The kids are out of school, so they will be here wanting to eat and make messes all day, but that’s not such a big deal. What I’m panicking about is that it’s going to be over soon. Wasn’t it just a few days ago that I was so excited that the season was just beginning? Wasn’t it just yesterday we got the tree? How is it already just a few days before Christmas? How do you folks who take your tree down on the 26th do it? How do you stand all this buildup and hype, the anticipation and excitement and then, BAM, wake up just one day after the climax and it’s over? I mean, don’t get me wrong. Come January, I’ll be ready to get the kids back in school and get back to a regular schedule and a normal life. But I can’t just hit a brick wall like that. I just can’t.¬†

So, I’m panicking just a tad that the holidays of 2013, when my babies are 3, 8, and 9, is just flying by. Next year Girlie Bird will be 10, almost 11, at Christmas. The teenage years are just MINUTES away. And Baby Bird, he’s going to be almost FIVE next Christmas and hurdling toward kindergarten. Once they’re all in school, and I’m working full time again, THEN I’ll be a mess at Christmas, I guess. I don’t know how I’ll get it all done then.

I’m freaking out a bit that the year is coming to a close a little too soon, but maybe it isn’t the holidays that are moving too fast. Maybe what’s really got me scrambling is the thought that I’m going to turn around and the years of Santa Claus and childhood magic will be nothing by happy memories. I’ll be glad to have those memories, but I just want to hang on to the sweetness of the present.Image


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.