Tuesday, March 30, 2010


My running friend who found out she had breast cancer just had a lumpectomy this week.
She has a drainage tube and she says the doctor will allow her to run 48 to 72 hours after the procedure. I have my doubts, but find that any of my excuses not to run sound incredibly lame in comparison to her fortitude.
She sent an update after she got home.
A nurse was trying to reassure her and promised that she would be healthy again someday.
My friend replied, "I am healthy (now)."
And, I'm going to have to agree that she's one of the healthiest and strongest people I know. She's not just a breast cancer statistic. She's an incredible individual and she'll handle this her own way, like she does everything.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Have you ever wondered what it might have been like to live thousands of years ago? A time when highways didn't crisscross the country and McDonalds didn't blare its yellow red logo at you?
Imagine standing in a prehistoric time where the plants exerted their influence, where tree trunks became buttressed to withstand the swampy soil and sent up "knees" underground to increase their strength.
Imagine longing for a glimpse of the sun's warmth. Green plants emerging from the brown muck to find the light.
Animals with tough skins lift their heads to the sun.
And others burrow into the ground.
The trees and the swamps go on and on. The wind rushes through the tops of the hammock rattling the palm fronds, sending debris down below. That rustle in the bushes, is it another animal?
What could that be gliding through the water?
Alone in a prehistoric land. An alien land.
Imagine how small you'd feel

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Like Deer in Headlights

When I went for my run Saturday morning, I was a little disappointed not to see more wildlife. I've seen cranes and herons and wild turkeys while running in Florida. Around a deserted, overgrown, brushy area, I'm always a little concerned about the remaining Florida panther jumping onto my back. I've even seen snakes slithering on the road. Yesterday, though, I saw only a few mockingbirds and backyard dogs. The statuary animals are plentiful though. That's when I decided to do a fake animal tour.
This woodpecker is in my parents' backyard. One day I called the kids to quietly come look because I thought it was real. Okay, I was at a bad angle at the time. He looks quite wooden now. This fish mailbox isn't pretending to be a real animal, but he is pretty awesome.
Why the fake duck? Are we really a country in need of more ducks or geese. In some business complexes they are poisoning the geese or letting dogs loose to get rid of the geese. Do we need more fake ducks and geese?
Bunnies in the garden? Really? These homeowners would probably go crazy if some real bunnies hopped into their flower bed. My mom, who used to have a lot of cats that hung around outside, says they now have a rabbit that sticks close by. As soon as we got out of the car the other night, a little bunny came dashing through the front yard followed by a big white cat with a black tail. These bunny statues are going nowhere.
I always have trouble remembering which is which, but egrets are tall white birds and herons are gray, I think. I'm guessing these guys are egrets. They look kind of regal don't they?
Pink flamingoes used to be ubiquitous in Florida. Now all I could find was these wooden versions with wings that flap in the wind. If you look to the right of the flamingo, you'll see a gray blob that turns out to be an actual animal. A cat that stood up and stretched in these weeds after I took the picture.
The pelican is an impressive Florida bird. He was going extinct not that long ago but now you see squadrons of them swooping over the Gulf of Mexico and diving down with a splash.

My final fake animal picture isn't of a fake animal, but a warning to a real animal. A man who lives not too far from my parents put up this sign and I love the fact that it is addressed directly to the animal, who we hope can read and heed the warning.
With threats like this, maybe that explains why there are so few real animals around for me to take pictures of!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Girl Road Trip

It's not the kind of Girls Gone Wild spring break that some might imagine, but our trip to Florida ended up being all girls. It was supposed to be a family vacation, but Spencer had a basketball tournament and Tucker had track practice so Earl "volunteered" to stay home with them. Grace then asked if she could bring a friend. So Sarah, Grace and I drove to my parents' home in Florida.
It started out dreary and rainy. As we drove through Cincinnati, the rain and clouds were so thick we couldn't see the next bridge over the Ohio River. We spent the night at my grandmother's in Kentucky and then left at 5 a.m. the following morning to drive to my parents' house. We listened to The Lost Symbol on tape and stopped at the perfect restaurant with a Dairy Queen and a Subway, but a college bus had beaten us to it. We ended up driving through a Burger King, which I wouldn't recommend. Then we made another stop at a gas station. While I filled up, the girls went in to use the bathroom, then came back and said it was all truckers and hookers.
"They were sending us upstairs to use the bathroom," Grace said. "Creepy."
Of course, Sarah was half way up the stairs before Grace called her back.
Thirteen hours after we left, with few traffic problems and beautiful sunshine the entire day, we arrived to burgers on the grill.
The girls were quick to hop in the pool. They have plans to meet a friend at St. Pete beach sometime this week and want to go hiking and bike riding at the state park nearby. Meanwhile, it's just nice to be in the warm weather, to go for a run with the weather at 60 instead of 30, to let my hair curl because the humidity is too high to straighten it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More Tears

Just when you think the plane could be coming in for a smooth landing, things get bumpy again. Grace has been accepted at her number one college so things should be good.
Adding to her jubilation, this week, she found out she was nominated for Scholar Athlete. The newspaper asks each high school to nominate a male and female athlete. They get pictures and articles in the sports section of the newspaper, and 17 students are chosen to share a big pool of scholarship money. Grace was on cloud nine. The athletic director picked her from all the other female athletes in the school, including some with well-known parents. She learned that the athletic director talked to teachers and coaches before making her decision, so somewhere teachers and coaches are saying nice things about her. She felt like she had won for once.
Of course, the fly in the ointment, my husband works for the local newspaper. So he felt the need to clarify whether Grace was actually eligible to receive the scholarship money. After several rounds of phone calls, he found that although she could receive the plaque and the newspaper publicity, she couldn't receive the scholarship money since Earl works at the paper.
When I told Grace, she cried, leaving a wet spot on the leg of my pants. "I should give it back to them and let them choose someone else," she sobbed.
It's hard to know the right thing to do. Should Grace get the acknowledgement from the school and the city, or should she give up her spot to let another student at her high school have a chance at the scholarship?
I suppose even considering whether to return it means she's going to be okay either way. She thinks about doing the responsible things. Maybe she could be on one of those insurance commercials about people who do the right thing. Think she could get a scholarship for that?


I hate diets. I believe that dieting is at the heart of gaining weight, at least for me. If I limit myself, saying I can't have that one cookie, then I crave cookies and I'll eat a ton.
So I've always tried to eat what I want in moderation and exercise a lot. The past few years, it has caught up with me. That's when my friend Sheila suggested the Fat Flush diet plan. I liked a lot of what the book said about detoxifying the liver and getting rid of wheat, dairy and sugar to see if it is causing the fatigue or allergy symptoms. Plus, the first part of the diet lasts two weeks.
Knowing I probably wouldn't make it two weeks, I decided to give it a try yesterday.
My morning routine includes preparing a press pot of coffee, steaming some milk and pouring the coffee in to make it a lovely tan color then adding a teaspoon of sugar. Well, the fat flush requires no caffeine for the liver to deal with. So my morning started with a cup of hot water and half a lemon. Not nearly as satisfying. And a nagging headache started behind my eyes as I drank the cranberry water concoction that is required - 64 ounces each day. When I drank the cranberry water with a tablespoon of flaxseed, I gagged on the thickness at the bottom.
Breakfast was two hard boiled eggs with some cumin for seasoning. That wasn't bad. Then I walked for an hour with Sheila, chasing along behind her little, speedy dog.
My headache was increasing as I made my way back home.
I steamed some broccoli, sliced a cucumber and opened a pack of tuna for lunch. Then I gave up and headed to the couch for a nap.
Still my headache kept increasing and I felt pressure behind my sinuses.
This detox thing is really clearing out my sinuses, I thought.
That's when I started throwing up and it finally became clear to me that the headache/migraine was connected to my monthly cycle rather than the Fat Flush diet. I lay in a dark room for most of the evening, getting up to puke.
I was feeling little better as 9 o'clock approached and thought I would drive to pick up Spencer from basketball, about 20 minutes away. As I stood up, I ran to the bathroom to throw up.
Flax seeds? Again? How could they still be in my stomach after all day?
I prayed I wouldn't throw up as I drove to get Spencer and his friend. I had left it too late to send Grace to get them. She avoids driving on the highway so it would have taken her much longer to get there.
This morning I am walking carefully, as if I carry a dozen eggs in my head that must not be broken. I am having a cup of coffee to see if I can knock that nagging pain.
I may try the Fat Flush diet again tomorrow or once I get to my parents' house in Florida Friday, but as for today, I can't face any cranberry water or flax seed.
If you want to read about someone not puking on the Fat Flush diet, check out Sheila's blog called Life's Many Colors. http://lifesmanycolors.wordpress.com/

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Highs and Lows of Applying for College

This afternoon when we opened the mailbox, a big cream-colored envelope (recycled, of course) awaited us. It was addressed to Grace, but Earl and I tore into it since she was at school. The letter had finally come from her top pick college. She was accepted!
We rejoiced for Grace's acceptance to a school, a really good school where the incoming class hails from places like: Marblehead High School in Massachusetts, Seton Hall Prep School, Miss Edgar's & Ms. Cramp's School in Quebec, Lawrence Academy at Groton, and La Salle Academy in Rhode Island. I'm not sure Grace realizes the odds of a student from a small, public high school in Ohio getting into this elite college. I'm not sure that she realizes her good, but not great, grades were probably not enough to have pulled her into this school. Her freestyle swim stroke may be what twisted the arms of the administrators to allow her to attend. But we'll take it.
During her lunch break, I called and told her the news. She screamed then screamed some more. "I got in!"
The elation we felt for her rose to the ceiling, before falling to the wood floor beneath us when we saw the financial aid offer. The offer was so generous. More than $26,000 each year for Grace's college education. But the tuition is so much more. The college offer included a couple of loans and some work/study opportunity in addition to the $26,000 grant. The bottom line is that our family portion is still going to be more than $19,000 for tuition, room and board each year. Gulp!
It didn't take long before I was on the computer searching for our airline reservations, the ones that were supposed to take us to France next month. We still aren't sure if the tickets are refundable, but if they are, they can go a small way toward paying that chunk of tuition. We realize, now that the numbers are on the table, that we have to put the money toward college rather than a whimsical trip to France.
Even though we may not be going to France, I'm keeping the purse.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Swim World

While all around me here in Ohio people are obsessing about basketball, my weekend is all about swimming.
They call it March Madness and it's the college basketball tournament. Everyone, even people who care nothing about basketball, predict the winners of the 64-team tournament. Then they watch the results, suddenly invested because of those brackets they filled out.
As for me, I'm in a hotel room near Bowling Green State University for the biggest swim meet in the region. It's called the Great Lakes Zones and includes swimmers from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia. My kids events are conveniently timed so that they swim only one or two per day -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Both Grace and Tucker have dropped time on each event they have swum, so I guess it's a success. As for me, I am scrambling to finish grades which are due today and after I finish this swim meet Sunday then run to my writer's group on Sunday afternoon and take Spencer to basketball practice Sunday evening, I am taking some time to myself.
I mean it too.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Have Purse, Will Travel

Here's a picture of my new purse which I will be carrying in Paris this spring because we just bought our airline tickets! Yea!
I thought it wasn't going to happen. We went back and forth. Too expensive. Daughter going to college in the fall. Our 20th anniversary.
Finally, we found a good deal on airfare, $605 each round trip. And last night, I found this sweet little purse. It says spring. It says travel. It says. I'm going!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The "C" Word

No one has actually said the words.
Breast cancer.
The words fall beause they have no meaning. I can't equate those words with my friend. Yes, I followed the saga from lump, no big deal, to mammogram, to biopsy, to now.
But that isn't my story to tell.
All I can say is that I'm scared for my friend, but I can't allow myself to think for a moment that she's not going to be the same person who meets me every Saturday morning at the trail.
This isn't some mother of a basketball player who I wave to across the gym. This isn't the woman who drives the silver car, you know, you see her pull into school a few minutes late every morning.
This time it's different because she is my friend. She's my friend who has spent years convincing me that I can run a marathon and I can write a book, no, I should write a book.
She has hiked with me on the Appalachian trail and she has run with me through snow and rain and beating sunshine. She has stopped to listen to bird calls, to watch geese take flight and to pick up a nursing bat that lay in the middle of the path.
She has listened to me whine about my marital issues and my kids' problems and she has shared her own.
Now she has to face something horrific and she will face it with guts and love, but I wonder what I will do. Because, even though my family has survived tragedy in the past, my modus operandi is avoidance.
And I don't want to be that person, the one who asks her other friends, "Hey, how's she doing?" because I've been too busy to actually spend any time with her.
So, I resolve to be there for my friend.
But I don't know what that looks like. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to say. I feel like I'm floundering when she needs me most.
Is there a right way to do this?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


My Saturday night was spent not just dogsitting, but chaperoning this motley crew of 14-year-olds who arrived to celebrate Tucker's birthday.
If you'll recall, last year Tucker had the worst birthday ever. It included walking to school (late) in below zero weather. Getting two detentions. Not receiving the special lunch Earl dropped off for him so he had nothing to eat. And Earl learning that day that the newspaper was planning layoffs and he might lose his job, so we contemplated returning the birthday present.
I was determined that this year's birthday would be better and it was. After school I took him and five boys to a pizza place. Then this weekend we planned this party.
Tucker, out of all of my children, is presenting a challenge as he enters these teenage years. And sometimes I feel exasperated. At my wits' end.
Then I see my friend Ruth struggling with her son's anxieties that debilitate him. I see my other friend waiting to learn the results of her biopsy.
Each of us is walking our own path and sometimes things seem unbearable, but mostly just looking up from the path shows us that others have a more difficult climb. It reminds me to stop complaining.
I struggle to remember that the hardest and the easiest thing to do when a child wears me down, is to give him a hug and don't let go for a long while.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lucky Me

This little guy has kept me busy this weekend. No, I haven't lost my mind and adopted a puppy. The first few minutes of holding this wriggly guy, my thoughts were, "Oh, he's so cute."
But by the fourth time he peed on the one rug in the house and pooped on the wood floor behind the chair, I remembered why I don't have a dog.
Lucky is his name. He's a miniature beagle and pug mixture.
"What do they call that?" Spencer asked. "A bug?"
No actually they call it a puggle and Grace is dogsitting him. Of course, Grace has a very busy life, so while she's gone to swim practice and concert competition, I get to keep an eye on the dog. At first we let him run around the house. Then we figured out we needed to keep him confined to his kennel or outside. Last evening, I took him out twice and he peed twice within the span of half an hour. Fifteen minutes later, he peed on one of the girls at Tucker's birthday party while she was holding him. Back to the Kennel for Lucky.
He's 10 weeks old and about five pounds. I'll try to get a picture of him next to the cats so you can see how tiny he is, and so he doesn't look so evil.
We're making progress, I guess, because when I got up this morning, he hadn't peed in his kennel, which he did yesterday. Right now, while I have my morning coffee and check my favorite blogs, he's outside in the yard alone and he has stopped scratching on the door. I'd better go check on him. He goes home today. What a relief!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave...

It all started with an email about writing submissions. I'm part of a writing yahoo group that used to be very active, but lately only sends emails when someone gets a successful publishing deal. An email came across about submissions for an erotica anthology.
Now, I've never written erotica. Whenever a sex scene pops into my novels, I inevitably tone it down, leaving the details to the readers' imaginations. This submission called for erotica of 1200 words. I mean, who couldn't write that? The only problem was that I wouldn't want it associated with me. How embarassing for me, my children, my parents... So, I decided to create a pseudonym.
It took some thinking before I came up with a name that I thought would be innocent, yet provocative. Think sexy librarian. No, I'm not telling you because what would be the point of creating an anonymous pseudonym and then telling everyone.
What I didn't realize was how many steps it would take to create this fake persona. I thought I'd start a Facebook page. Before I did that, of course, I had to have an email. So I went to gmail and created an account based on my pseudonym. Then I went to Facebook. My pseudonym might as well be younger, one of us should enjoy it. She's about 10 years younger than I am, in the prime of her life. Aaah.
Of course, I can't post a picture of myself. Next I had to create an account to make an avatar. Remember that the avatar isn't of me, but of this erotica writer person. Am I giving it away by posting it on my blog? I have no idea how people can track down other people on Facebook. I sent a message to a friend asking her to add me to a group and then I wondered if that message is posted to her wall so everyone will know that it's me, posing as this other person.
I have resisted Facebook as myself. I don't want to spy on my teenagers. Really, I'd prefer not to know what they do most of the time. When I want to communicate with my parents (who do have a Facebook account but have no idea how it was created), I just call them.
I have a webpage called paulitakincer.com so any old friends searching for me should be able to find me pretty easily.
I spent a couple of hours this morning creating my fake persona.
I haven't written any erotica. Yes, I know the deadline is Monday, and chances are that I'll never finish it, much less submit it, but I did have fun playing dress up. Isn't this really the equivalent of playing let's pretend when you're a kid?
Now I'll go back to being a teacher who has papers to grade, a woman who needs to go work out at the gym, a writer who is 200 pages into her next novel, and a mother who has to get her teenagers out the door to school.
The fantasy was fun while it lasted.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cat Toys

This morning in the dark (yes, it's still dark at 5 a.m. in case anyone wondered) as I put the kettle on for coffee water, I noticed both cats sitting together staring under the refrigerator.
I hate that. I hate when the cats stare at something. Sometimes they'll be staring at me, except not really at me but over my shoulder so then I have to turn around and look. Almost always, there is nothing behind me. Then I wonder if there's something there I can't see!
Anyway, cats sitting together staring under the refrigerator could mean a mouse. I put the water on the stove and rinsed out my press pot for coffee. The cats had shifted. They were both staring at the tile on the kitchen floor and Tupi reached out an occasional big paw to bat at something. Tupi, like Hemingway cats in Key West, Florida, has two extra toes, so his paws are really big.
I turned on the light in the kitchen to see what was fascinating the cats. I leaned over and saw there an innocent little bug. Now I'm no expert on bugs, but this was a little guy who wouldn't have frightened anyone in my house. The bug was about the size of one of Tupi's toes. He was brown and had a kind of shell on his back and a pointy head that looked like a rhinoceros horn. When I later looked him up, I'd say he falls under the category of a stink bug. They're called that because they emit an odor to keep from getting eaten by birds and lizards.
This stink bug no doubt was taking advantage of the warm weather. Since Sunday the weather has been in the high 50s. Earl has had the doors and windows open which fires up the cats' feisty nature anyway.
The cats continued to poke at the stink bug as he made his slow way along the tile.
I put a white napkin on the floor in front of him and he slowly climbed onto it. I took the napkin with the bug out the back door and tried to shake him off into the grass. Apparently, stink bugs have grasping feet because he didn't budge off the napkin. I just lay the napkin in the grass, figuring I'd retrieve it later once the bug had moved on to greener pastures.
Now the cats are staring at me as if I'd stolen their only toy in the house.
Considering that they woke me up at midnight knocking over a pedestal lamp, I think they're pretty lucky to still be in the house.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Baby Texts

Yesterday was Earl's niece's birthday. I don't know why I say Earl's niece since we've been married 20 years, but I feel too young to have a 32-year-old niece. She brought her 4-month-old over to spend some time with us while she ran errands. Caroline is a little hesitant to warm up to us (especially Earl). But she loves Grace.
We had another beautiful day, so 20 minutes before the end of school, I put her in the stroller and walked up to the high school to meet Grace. Caroline fell asleep shortly after Grace joined us, so we stopped at the coffee shop and continued our walk home. As soon as we got home, Grace scooped her out of the stroller. She hasn't heard the saying: "Let sleeping babies lie."
She wanted to play with Caroline. And, as you can tell from the photo, she had important things to teach her. What four-month-old doesn't know how to text? How's she going to stay in touch with all of her baby friends if she can't text yet?
Caroline is practically going cross-eyed trying to focus on that phone.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Break a Leg!

The musical this past week was FABULOUS. I got to sit through it twice and a third time I was on costume repair duty so I scurried from backstage to the rear doors to watch various parts, especially Grace's scene which begins the second act.
When our French friend Marie came to visit this summer, she found it impossible to believe that Americans actually have "high school musicals."
"No, zhis must not be true!" she insisted. She also couldn't believe there were real marching bands. But, it's all true. These pieces of Americana make up the high school experience.
I'd never seen this musical before, so my expectations were low. But the music, the acting and the kids were amazing. The musical is called HONK! and it's based on the story of The Ugly Duckling. A number of the high school kids decided this was beneath them and didn't even try out. They apparently weren't aware of the sexual innuendo throughout the play. As Grace said, "Mom, what do you expect? It was created in England."
So no one should have been surprised when the duck mother was explaining to the Ugly Duckling that the island was too far away to swim. "Good gracious, no. It's farther than you'd think. I've only been out there once when your father and I were courting and I didn't mean to go that far then."
Grace, a hen, and Queenie, a cat, have a scene where the tom cat is chasing down the ugly duckling. The tom cat sees Queenie and a "love scene" ensues. She calls the tom cat a "scruff" but admits that when "you've had it easy, you like a bit of rough!"
So this was definitely no children's-only show.
Some of my favorite parts from the show: Grace was sick on Tuesday night so she stayed home while they were rehearsing. She was texting. I asked who she was texting.
"Isn't Carl rehearsing?" I asked. Carl played one of the ducklings.
"Yes, he's in his egg."
I loved the idea that Carl was on stage waiting to be hatched and busy texting.
On opening night, we were in the audience. The cat's goal throughout is to catch and eat the Ugly Duckling. A little boy a few rows behind us. Began to whisper in fear, "Oh no. He's going to eat him. He's going to get him."
His mother had to take him out of the theater. Then when the cat goes running out of the back door, as part of the play, the child and the mean cat came face to face. Kyle, who played the cat, scared children, and enthralled them every night.
In the final night, a little boy in the audience had the funniest laugh, kind of craggly. When Kyle the cat ripped open his yellow rain slicker (the one he'd been wearing to pretend he's a duck) the little boy laughed a big, raucous laugh. Everyone on stage had to freeze because the whole audience cracked up at the little boy's laugh.
At the end of the play Saturday night, Grace sobbed and sobbed. Theater and music made her high school experience worthwhile. Yes, she loved biology and she was an expert at English essays, but this was something she could not have gotten at home.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Most Gorgeous Day Ever!

It may be that the long, gray winter has influenced me, and the fact that it was practically light when I met my friends for our run at 6:15 this morning buoyed my spirits, but I think today is the most gorgeous day ever.
Sure, it was cold, in the 20s, and I couldn't really feel my fingers for the first half hour or so, but I love running on the trail with my friends. The sunlight reflecting on the snow was like manna from heaven. Today is Princess' birthday and she started it with a 7.5 mile run. Everything has to be good now. So happy birthday, Princess.
One of the blogs I follow, http://willows95988.typepad.com/tongue_cheek/ asked the question today about who is the storyteller in your life and what kinds of stories do you tell. Well, that Saturday morning run on the trail is all about telling stories. We tell stories about our lives and our kids' lives. We talk about work and we laugh and laugh.
Today's stories were all over the place, as usual, as we interrupt each other to point out bright red cardinals, disappearing bunny tails and the smooth water of the river right before it gets bumpy over the rocks.
Stephanie told a story about her mammogram that didn't happen because the machine was broken. We began to speculate about what could have happened to the machine. We pictured it getting stuck with a woman's breast inside it and how they would have to call the firefighters with "the jaws of life" to free her pancaked breast.
We imagined running a marathon at Big Sur and how we wouldn't make it very far because Stephanie would stop to look at every hole in the ground, every scat on the path and every movement in the bushes.
The Queen of Secrets pondered how three of her friends at work could have the exact same birthdays that her three running friends have. Strange coincidence or karma?
Then we laughed about our hiking trip when we were all a little more out of shape, Princess was on Accutane which was giving her old-lady joint issues, and we decided to hike 25 miles in the rain and slippery leaves. We didn't even see the night sky because of the clouds.
"Why didn't we just spend another night on the trail instead of going home?" I asked aloud.
"Don't you remember that you sat down on that stump and refused to move?" Princess asked me.
Oh, yeah. Now I remember why we returned to civilization. I was miserable, along with the Queen of Secrets and the Princess. Only Stephanie was cheerful, trying to keep us walking.
That trip, that miserable trip, has given us so many fun things to talk about though, as we meet each week on the trail to run.
Maybe we'll go again for two nights and a much shorter hike -- just so we don't run out of things to talk about on the trail.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Springtime Moon

I know if I were more knowledgable about the moon and the night sky, I could explain this, but a couple of times each year, I awaken to find the moonlight drenching my bed. This week has been one of those times.
We have wooden shutters on the bottoms of the bedroom window, leaving the "architectural details" of our Arts & Crafts' house windows uncovered.
As the moon moves through its cycle this week, its light reaches our bedroom window during different parts of the night. Sometimes I'll wake up to find Earl not in bed yet, but the moonlight is there. Other times I'll feel Earl lying next to me with the moonlight pouring onto him.
This morning, after a late night at the theater, I slept in until 6:30. (I know. Pitiful.) When I woke up, the moon was there dousing our room with light. It shone in the navy blue sky, whose only purpose was to serve as background.
The glass of the window distorted the view, but I wanted you to see my morning greeting from the moon.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Feathers Flying

Last week, my 13-year-old picked up his backpack off the floor and gave a sigh of exasperation. "Everyday I go to school leaving a trail of feathers," he complained.
It's true. My house is full of feathers. And I don't own a bird.
The musical at the high school this year is the story of the Ugly Duckling and I am, once again, working on costumes. The borrowed sewing machine is set up at the end of our dining room table, right in front of a heating vent
When the heat kicks on, the cut off pieces of yellow boa feathers stream up in the air then float down like tiny jelly fish under the ocean. We'll be in the middle of a conversation when a little, yellow jellyfish boa comes floating down before our eyes.
(This may make a general statement about my housekeeping capabilities that may appall some readers.)
No one in the play is wearing a chicken suit, though.
Since the fall play, Little Women, Jennie and I have been going to the costume room every week and reorganizing it. We've removed, classified and folded every piece of clothing in there. Then suddenly spring musical was upon us. Luckily, with 35 cast members, some other mothers have stepped in to help, as well.
Jennie and I "pulled" the necessary clothes from the boxes then we set to adding feathers.
I'm in charge of the costumes for the four ducklings and the evil cat.
Every time I cut one of the yellow boas, the pieces flew everywhere, including up my nose. I've swiffered and vaccuumed, but those yellow jellyfish boas keep escaping, much to the consternation of the cats who thought the boas and yellow tulle were only for attacking anyway. They'll stare in suspicion at the piece of yellow feather flying through the air.
The ducklings are the smallest girls in the cast. I'm not crazy about their orangish tshirts and leggings, but I do love the yellow tutus. The male duckling has a tail with tulle and boas, but it is not nearly as poofy as the girls' tutus.
The cat is wearing a pin-striped suit and I had to add fur down his back. I twisted some pipe cleaners together to fill out the tail and give it a little shape. Then I added some fur to his lapels. He's supposed to have a sleazy, 1980s look to him.

The rest of the time, I've been hemming pants, shorts and skirts then sewing boas onto them.
Grace has a nice part as a domesticated chicken, which she plays with a thick southern accent. Her best friend is a female cat and they have a nice duet, along with a solo for Grace. I'm excited for this production to get on stage and then be over.
I'm so sick of feathers yet don't have the energy to clean up the ones that remain in my house. The show is this weekend, so after Saturday, I'm finished with feathers.

Cockadoodle Doo or Cocorico?

 We stood in the middle of the road, having walked together 13 miles that day and Claudine grasped my forearm. "Mais non! It doesn'...