Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Weekend in "Im not telling"

You might think it rude to not divulge the name of the slice of heaven where we spent our weekend. I guess I am still suffering the aftershocks of witnessing several of my favorite unspoiled and relatively undiscovered areas become discovered and consequently spoiled.  This particular place is still quiet and unpretentious.  I am convinced that anyone who visits here will immediately want to move here and I can't afford to risk Paris Hilton catching even a whiff of it's swank potential.   Sorry. 
Having seven sisters with whom I am, as Corey believes, dysfunctionally close, I have a possibly warped attitude toward friendship.  I am a bit intolerant of surface relationships and definitely do not put maximum effort into nurturing said surface relationships.  I don't need a lot of friends, but I do need good friends.  When I met Kathryn 4 years ago, I knew immediately that she was going to be one of these good friends.  Even when she moved to Alaska after less than one year in Spokane, she had become a permanent fixture in my life.  They promised they would move back and since Alaska is almost as far away as Russia (thanks Sarah Palin), I didn't believe they would escape the magnetic pull of the Arctic North. Three years later and they are back. They invited us to their lake house this past weekend.

This is Harwood at the end of the "boys" ride.  Kathryn and I went on a road bike ride later that afternoon.  Considering that Kathryn became one of the best road bikers in Alaska, it is a good thing that she is almost five months pregnant.  I could actually keep up with her this time. 

This is Corey taking a brutal turn.  Judging from all his scrapes and bruises, he took the majority of the beatings.

The view from the semi-top of our hike.  Some of us wanted to keep going, but the whining of just one (Ansel) made us all eager to finish.

Savanna is a true writer and carries her notebook with her everywhere we go.  She is writing a novel and must document the steady flow of ideas. Her notebook is dirty and covered with the remains of several meals.  
Someone once said that Good Friends are people with whom you can do stupid things.  

Post Post:
I just read Corey's blog and he blabbed the location.  There are two kinds of people in the world.  Those who can keep a secret and those who can't.  I guess Corey is one of the latter.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An hour of free time

I finally invested the time to figure out the whole YouTube thing. Sometimes, the thought of doing something computer related is really far more treacherous than actually doing it. So I am sharing some of our latest accomplishments by video.
1. Ansel learned how to whistle on his own and is VERY proud of his folky achievements. He reminds the girls almost daily that he knows how to whistle and they don't. They of course remind him that they know how to read and he doesn't. It is one of the repeated conversations of which mothers sarcastically never grow weary.
2. After much research (thanks, Corey) we found a trampoline that we felt was 99% safe. Of course, participants must remember to completely zip the net. Savanna somehow bounced out the open door the second night and procurred a small gash in her head. I was a little disturbed, but feel confident that they will never forget to close the net again and also feel that we got the injury out of the way quickly and there will never be another one again. (knock on wood).

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Seasonal Collision

I call it Summall......the brief period of time when Summer and Fall intertwine. It is possibly my favorite time of year. The mornings and evenings are washed with cool whiffs of the changing foliage while the afternoons are still warm enough to liberate your toes from shoes and socks. Darkness is held at bay long enough to allow the girls to enjoy plenty of after-school outdoors time (in the winter this far north, dusk falls soon after the dismissal bell rings). I have one hand firmly grasped to summer and the other clutching at the coming autumn. It is a delicate and succulent balance that won't last long.

I don't function well on a tight schedule. I think it may have something to do with being an active participant in my mother's multi-faceted comprehensive agenda. It seemed that she had at least 2 or 3 things going on at once, all day long. She flourishes in this hectic and chaotic environment while I seem to collapse if I don't keep my life fairly simple. I don't think I'm lazy. There are a lot of things that i enjoy doing and I like to keep busy. I like to accomplish things. I just need to have a bit of room to bounce around in.  
I couldn't sleep last night and re digested portions of Annie Dillard's "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" I thought her intricate descriptions of minutia would lull me to sleep. On the contrary, I was reminded of the book's brilliance, the endorphins kicked in, and I was awake until 4:30( I had to pick up Newsweek to completely kill the adrenaline rush).

Again, I have to resort to quotes...I am not capable of doing justice. " I've been thinking about seeing. There are lots of things to see, unwrapped gifts and free surprises. The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. If you crouch motionless on a bank to watch a tremulous ripple thrill on the water and are rewarded by the sight of a muskrat kit paddling from its den, will you count that sight a chip of copper only, and go your rueful way? It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple." (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

I have been finding a lot of pennies lately.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dissecting Anna Karenina on the First Day of School

Tuesday was the first day of school. I have done the first day of school thing as a parent for 6 years now. Reason would possibly dictate that each year I would be more at ease with the situation...that I would have the motions and emotions of the day on a certain level of autopilot. When will I learn that parenting is anything but reasonable?

Kindergarten has never been that hard for me. The 2 and a half hours seem to whizz by and really, what can go wrong in Kindergarten(German translation...children's garden)? First grade is where it starts to get tough for me. Outsourcing the care and nurturing of my children over to Spokane School District #81 for 6 hours seems at more pessimistic times a drop-off at an unsterilized assembly line packaging plant. I miss them. I MISS THEM. Every year, the other kids get a little meaner(not mine, of course), the clicks get more obnoxious, and my children get a little more distant from me and a lot closer to the big scary real world. Yes, I should be thrilled and joyous at their increasing ability to function on their own...their ever improving skill of noticing and bringing attention to my many mistakes.....their increasing capacity to solve a problem on their own. Isn't this the goal of a good parent?

So what does all this have to do with the dissection of Anna Karenina?

I finished reading Anna Karenina the night before school started. Since it has been rated one of the greatest books of all time, I decided I had better give it a shot. I am not going to go into a detailed review of the book. I think that Tolstoy was a genius at giving a voice to inner thoughts and struggles and had a way of making the reader face the truths of human nature in a bitterly painful, comical, and sometimes embarrassing way. I have to admit that I found much of the book tedious and repetitive. But I also have to admit that I sometimes find life to be tedious and repetitive. Anyway, I didn't much relate to Anna Karenina herself and found instead a kindred soul in Konstantin Levin, who is an awkward, shy, social misfit of sorts, who finds the most happiness after working in his fields. He is really intense and this scares people a little, but he has a pure ideal of family happiness and dizzying quest for the meaning of life. He is finds life to be an intoxicating wrestle between joy and misery.

So, again, what does this have to do with me and the first day of school?

I will answer with a quote from the book. This is when Levin is finally able to see his newborn son after a long and mysterious labor (they didn't tell the husband ANYTHING back then).

"Smiling, hardly able to restrain his tears, Levin kissed his wife and went out of the dark room. What he felt towards this little creature was utterly unlike what he had expected. There was nothing cheerful and joyous in the feeling; on the contrary, it was a new torture of apprehension. It was the consciousness of a new sphere of liability to pain. And this sense was so painful at first, the apprehension lest this helpless creature should suffer was so intense, that it prevented him from noticing the strange thrill of senseless joy that he had felt when the baby sneezed"

Sometimes, with my children and others that I love, I ,too, am blinded by this sphere of liability to pain, that I am prevented from noticing the senseless joy of motherhood. It can be paralyzing. Luckily, I am often blinded by the senseless joy of motherhood and humanhood and am prevented from noticing the sphere of liability to pain.

This is what Ansel and I did on the first day of school.