Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall is here

Two squirrels, with tails as fluffy and fat as can be, chase each other around a tree trunk.  Faster and faster they go... round and round, on that invisible Candy Cane pathway.

Their bodies elongated, outstretched, dart like, to gain speed advantage and nix any figurative and/or literal tailwinds. 

No doubt an acorn, or misplaced foraged nut, prompted this squabble.  Their raspy, barking, chatter-chat echoed all around the tree.  On one of those ‘orbits’ I must have been spotted, for each took refuge in an overhead limb, clicking their protests from behind the first of Autumns leaves.  

Fall is in the air.  A passing breeze, firmed the notion.  The tree released a few of its personal confetti, which pirouetted and danced its way to the ground below.   A mosaic carpet of what once was, laid at its foot.  

This is officially my favorite season.  The stains of Mother Earth bleeding out before mine eyes, in this artful living palette, magically embodies my soul.  I love it when she shows off!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The day Satan went nuts ...Church parishioners bare witness.

It's Sunday morning and the sermon has just concluded.  Pristine weather allowed the stain glass windows to remain open, and morning sun dutifully illuminated them against the buildings white exterior.   Many people are still sitting in the pews.. some are exiting the building, including the few that have paused to chat on the second-story landing of the brick staircase.  The streets were quiet, as Sunday mornings typically are.  Birds flitted about readying their nests on this blessed spring day.  Squirrels foraged and feasted on the finds they hid away the months before.  All was lovely... a perfect day for a long walk with our dog... or so one foolishly thought.

Veggie-Man & Chocolate Dog Bones - Heaven help us.

Growing up my house was a bit on the - let's say - unique side.  Humor was twisted affectionately  and freely shared.  If you ventured into our little red-bricked home, it was every man for himself.  For within these walls was my Mom, a tall red-headed, Sophia Loren lookalike, bombshell.  

There she stood in the kitchen, sidetracked from making dinner.  Carrots and celery filled the sink... except a chosen few.   Her body blocked the view as she pondered her produce. 

In the meantime, unbeknownst to us, Billy - aka my surrogate brother - was on his way over for a visit.  

From time to time he would go to the church around the corner.  It was a great way of staying out of trouble, and the piano and organ in the church sanctuary ‘called’ to him.  Fifi, the beloved church secretary - saw past the riffraff of Billy’s rebellious mischiefs.  When he asked if he could tinker on the piano... she opened the church doors with huge welcoming arms.  It is here he spent hours - HOURS - practicing and literally enlightening his soul with music.  

It was common, since our house was so close to the church, for drop-by-any-time visits... Billy did this often.  We had an open door policy.  So on this day, in the door bounds Billy.  

The 'Happy Mommy Dance' brings joy to all.


I’m standing at the kitchen counter making lunch for the next day.  I vowed to myself that I would not have another morning like this morning!  I hate starting the day in chaos.  Sometimes all that is needed is a little active planning.  

Dinner tonight was quite successful.  It made for a nice evening... Why?  Because I started last night.  Geez Louise, this Happy Homemaker stuff is for the birds.

Nevertheless.... everyone is fed, happy, and organized onto the next step.  I set up the coffee pot for the morning as well.  The dishwasher is already cleaning the days ware... except for - of course - the dishes Charlee is still eating off of.  She is the last one at the table... always.  No matter.  I am still WAY ahead of the game.  Feeling good...

I scooped out some peanut butter and slathered it on the bread, doing a little happy mommy jig as I did.  

It was at this moment it all went sour.....

An odd sound came from Charlee’s direction... Why?  Well, because the rotten kid just near choked to death on her mouthful of food.   Why?  Because she just witnessed her mother attempting to dance.  She held her hand over her mouth, trying to catch the rice pieces that were flying about each time she unsuccessfully held back her laughter.  

Through her clenching teeth, she questioned?  “MOM?  {insert pause so her cute little nostrils could gasp for a breath of air} What was that?!”  

I needed a moment to catch up to what the what was she was referring to..... then I realized, it was me.  



“What do you mean?”  She spewed out another piece of rice at my bewildered inquiry, still not able to swallow.  Rice bits clung precariously to her lips, and through her self-imposed lockjaw she managed to mutter,  “What?  Are.  You.  Doing!?” 

I was now fully on board.  “What?”  Turning back to my PB & J I re-danced my jig,  “I’m happy... I’m dancing.”

That un-swallowed mouthful was thus far not under control, and when I started to dance again, she had to jump up from the table so she would not choke.  No longer able - or trying! - to contain her mouthful, she shouted a garbled “MOM!”  Rice shot in the air... and into her hand... and on the table...

Good grief?!  Am I really that funny?  Or bad?  Or... what?!  All I know is that this kid is messing with my happy moment... my successful I’m-on-top-of-it evening is being ruined by rice being shot all over my dining room.  

“Charlee!?  What?  What is so funny?!”  She choked another laugh back, as if to say ‘How could you not know?!’  “Stop!”  another piece of rice flew... “Seriously, STOP.  You’re making a mess...”  (Forget the fact that she is going to inhale chunks into her lungs.  Right now if I had to Heimlich her I fear I might be tempted to perform it with unnecessary vigor...)  “MMooomm??”  Her hands clamped over her mouth and she looked at me like I was nuts.  Nuts because how could I possibly be mad at her, when this is clearly all my fault!  After all... the dancing fool...  the parental court jester!

I said what any mother that has reach my state of embarrassing-mother-status would say,  “I’m going to punish you if you don’t stop!” 

At that moment she finally squeezed down that long awaited swallow.  Just in time to beam a huge toothy grin, sans rice, and say, “I think it’s already a little too late for that!”

Rotten kid, you’re so pleased with your funny-ha-ha...  and you think watching that dance was punishment?  Stick around kid... next time I’m going to wait until your drinking... and then watch you deal with nose squirts.....

I stood there for a moment - baffled - with my peanut-buttered knife in hand, “So, what does it mean when your daughter laughs at you when you attempt to dance...”  She mimicked my moves as only Charlee could, and said, “It means don’t do it again.”  (Okay... so yea... I'm laughing with her....)

I turned to the sink to wash the knife... she came up to my side, put her hand on my shoulder - - maybe to console me, maybe to steady me and keep me from charging her - - then giggled through, “You should be a professional.”  (Uh... Didn’t I mention I had a knife in my hand?) {insert shoulder pat, pat, rub, rub.}  “No seriously, Mom.  I would pay to see that again...”

No worries people.  She is fine... In fact, after I read her this documented proof of child abuse story she seemed to have a change of heart... Over and over she tried to make amends or retract with “I think I was just really tired.  Really.... r e a l l y  tired.”

{Just for the record... I wasn't that bad.... check out this Parental moment - willingly - caught on video.  Disco Dad Dances to Bieber

And another, just because... Justin Bieber Wedding Dance.* *No children were harmed during this video :)}  


Written many years ago... Posting it today was  prompted by the bug my 'little darling' thought she killed on her way into a voice lesson.  (So much for focusing on her lesson...)

Charlee walked up to me with a distraught face.  In her hands was the old fashioned jelly jar I gave her to collect bugs.  I found it at Dee’s.  Of course, it originally had jelly in it.  Blueberry.  Actually the best blueberry jelly I have ever tasted.  The jar was just part of an overall customer enticing plan... which worked.  I bought the jelly.

The jar now has holes in the lid.  It has already housed a number of inhabitants... and I for one, can’t wait for those wonderful summer nights when the fire flies fill our yard.  The nostalgic picture I have in my mind includes these very jars.

But for the moment, Charlee held her jar, not with joy and enlightenment, but with sorrow.  She handed it to me and asked me to look closer.  I started looking for the flying ant we had caught earlier. Thankfully, it wasn’t a termite as originally thought.  Then I reminded her, and myself, that we let the ant go.  ‘No’ She corrected me.  ‘Look, on the cap.’  I turned the cap over and saw, caught in the threaded rings, the remains of something. I t was no longer recognizable.  This was not good.  Charlee never kills anything.  We even have a hard time when it comes to mosquitos.  It wasn’t until last summer that she let us kill them.  Now, as I tried to figure out what I was looking at, she started to sulk. She was waiting for me to say something.  I knew she wanted me to tell her the bug was okay, but that was not going to happen.  There was no chance for this bug.  My silence was telling her all she needed to know. The bug was squished.

Charlee walked away.  She didn’t say a word.  Neither did I.  She gets very upset when anything suffers or dies.  She came back and asked me to please take the bug off the cap.  She didn’t want to see what she had done, the visual reminder was too much for her.  As well, she wanted her jar back.  She still didn’t say anything, however, she was way too solemn.

I figured I would just let her work thru this in her own way.  It is one of life’s little lessons.  One that is better learned on a bug than any other alternatives.

A few minutes later, I searched her out.  She was sitting quietly.  I asked ‘How are you doing?  Are you okay?’  She looked at me with a quivering bottom lip, her eyes giving away the pain she was going through.  I felt so bad for her.  I know this is about a bug, but her pain was real.  How my daughter became so compassionate and empathetic is beyond me.  But here she was.  Now what!?I was at a loss as to how to console her.  As I stood there, she could bear no more.  The tears began to fall, and with each one she spoke.

‘I didn’t mean to hurt it!  And I killed it.  I never killed anything.  Now I did!  I killed it!  The POOR bug.  It was a beautiful beetle.  I shouldn’t have picked it up with the cap!  Why did I have to do that?!’

She was so upset.  Part of me was smiling, because my daughter struck me as so loving and sweet. Here she was crying over the death of a bug.  No bug has ever been so mourned.  In actuality this was a lucky bug.  Oh, to be so loved by such a wonderful human being.

‘Charlee I don’t know what to say.  You didn’t mean to do it.  Sometimes things happen that we can’t help.  Maybe it was sick or dead already.’

I was trying anything...

‘Mommy, I killed the bug. It was alive. Its legs were moving. I saw them, I looked.’  Major emphasis on the ‘I.’  I believed her.  After all, Charlee is quizzical when it comes to nature.  We just got finished with butterflies and moths... now were onto flying ants and, apparently, beetles.  Each creature requires a Google search.  We find out where it lives, what it eats, how long it lives... The butterflies only lived for a few weeks.  So we kept them for two, Charlee’s orders.  ‘We can’t keep them their entire life in a cage.  We will watch them for half their life, then let them go so they can fly around and see the world.’  She waved her hands in the air, indicating her hope for her butterfly’s beautiful dancing flight. ‘Maybe even meet a friend and make babies...’ It was fun when release day finally came.  I bet no one was more happy than the butterfly, but it was a close tie.

‘Honey, whatever happened to the bug, it’s over. He isn’t in any more pain.’  I thought - hoped - this would end her sympathetic suffering... but all she did is look at me as though I was ridiculous and crazy.  How could I not understand what this bug went through!?  In an attempt to fully impress upon me, the full magnitude of what was suffered, she looked straight into my eyes and wailed ‘MOM, IT WAS SCREWED!!!’

I tried really hard to keep her pain in mind... however, the fact that the bug ‘was screwed’ was an understatement, and so totally out of the mouths of babes.  I had to walk away so she would not see me choking back the laughter.  am a horrible mother..... emphasis on the ‘I’.