Sunday, September 27, 2009


There are peaceful corners of the house into which I retreat. Notice the soothing colors. The books. The large pillows. The cardboard box in the lower right corner which is still unpacked.

This little corner will have a wood-burning stove installed very shortly. And then, you can betcha, I will retreat here often to warm my toes and sip coffee.

Again, another soothing color. So very therapeutic.

Here are the reasons why I need such soothing spaces.

Large trucks of assorted size (all a variation of large) and color.

A typical scene in the backyard. Here, Hubby is using a castoff playground slide for a cement chute. For him, even work is fun & games. You won't find him lolligagging around with his feet up in a peaceful corner painted in a soothing, therapeutic color. No sirree.

There are many other scenes that are worth showing. But I need material for my other blog,

So you will have to look there to know what I mean.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Recently, I was riding home with #1 Son when I made him pullthe car over so we could snap this shot. It's a business just up the road apiece. I think they fix things there.

I love their sign. It makes me feel like being naughty, knocking on the door when it looks like someone is there, and asking:

"Do you take credit?"

After a wordless gesture toward this fantastic sign, I would say:


And then drive away.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Front Porch Love

In honor of the Last Day of Summer, I bring you an informal, free-verse Ode to Our Front Porch.

We tacked up an old sheet to keep the evening sun from furrowing our brows. As redneck as it looked from the street (which no one but construction workers roam), the old sheet rippling in the sun & light breeze gives a cabana-like effect to our dinner table.

My zappy-blue table, coupled with assorted colorful placemats, gives mealtime a zing. I grabbed some flora from the brush along the river for a fall arrangement.

It's a veritable fiesta here, as evidenced by this Mexican dinner. (Homemade whole-wheat tortillas, spiced ground beef, avocado, fresh salsa & lettuce, chased down by a glass of iced tea.)

A night we can dine on the porch from now on is a total bonus. Indian Summer is welcome to visit any time!

Friday, September 18, 2009

fall in

Whether I am ready or not, fall has arrived.

new eyes

When I was in fourth grade, my teacher (whom I adored) brought a special kind of kaleidoscope to class and passed it around. Instead of being filled with shards of colored glass and multi-colored beads, it was simply a many-faceted mirror that reflected whatever object that was placed before it.

That kaleidoscope fascinated me to no end. It turned ordinary, everyday items into magical scenes resplendent with color and light. As it was turned round and round, the glass mirrors wrought fantastical images from seemingly dreary things. A fistful of #2 pencils morphed into jagged riffs of yellow and pink. The lines of the gray chalkboard meeting the industrial green-blue classroom walls became a modern painting fit to be framed and admired. A slight twist of the hand, and yet another masterpiece came into sight.

I have been thinking about that kaleidoscope lately, along with a worship chorus we used to sing.
"Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart. I want to see You."

I love the picture of a heart having eyes.
I love the thought of finding beauty in the mundane.
I love the intertwining of these two points of view, and how they stretch my boundaries a bit.

Perhaps I will dwell on these thoughts for a few days. Or weeks.
Or the rest of my entire life.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

more than one madman

Allow me to suggest a visit to a post from last year. It will help you to know what in the world I am talking about today.

#1 Son is full of tricks. Sometimes he draws things. Other times he designs or builds things. Other times, he just eats food and flops on the couch. Any way you shake it, it's always fun to spend time with him.

A few days before shuffling #1 Son off to Expensive Learning-Land, I took him to the National Gallery in Ottawa to soak in the culture. We ended up in the Contemporary Wing, as we usually do.

One of the works on display was titled, "139 Bricks". It consisted of a long line of brown fire bricks. #1 Son, caving in to his OCD personality, insisted on counting them. When he reached 139, he was slightly miffed.

"That's silly," said Opinionated Matriculating College Freshman. "If they wanted to make a statement, they should have included only 138 bricks."

He was really disappointed in their lack of vision. Some day if I am really fortunate, I may think like him.

Anyway. We came around the corner, and THERE WAS #1 SON"S ORIGINAL ART. "Scribblings of a Madman". Framed. On the gallery wall. We gasped in surprise and delight.

Wait a minute, we said as we squinted to read the tiny type of the museum-quality labels.
This is someone else's artwork. This artist must have read my blog and COPIED #1 Son's brilliant scribblings.

It is the only logical explanation.

Just kidding.

We generously assume that there is another madman running around out there in the world who makes finely detailed drawings of concert set-ups. But this particular guy took his scribblings to a higher level by having them framed and displayed in a major art museum.

We were completely inspired.

I chose to speak of these things today because #1 Son is up to his old tricks once again. He is busily designing the lighting and stage for tonight's exciting event.

(If you like the band photo, he did that too.)

If a mom can't brag about her kid on her own blog, where can she brag about him?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

what's up here

To write, to write, to to think through one's fingers.

We dine on the porch every possible evening, knowing that the gift of eating en plein air will elude us in the months to come. Last night we slurped up corn & potato chowder along with grilled pork chops, toast, and salad. We laughed uproariously at the antics of #1 Son. He goes to college now and tells college-tales and talks about Socrates and Mozart and Political Theory. He still can make Friend #7 laugh very very ridiculously hard.

#1 Daughter and I are in the thick of home-education. We listen to the Psalms on CD every morning. We are delving into Algebra 2, American Literature, Post-Impressionism, and scripture memory. History awaits us, as does Botany. As we settle into a study-groove, our brains jiggle into action a bit at a time. We break things up by cooking or baking in the middle of the day. This is her junior year and she is determined to work hard and learn a lot.

I love home schooling my kids. As for learning all about Post-Impressionism, we get to study paintings like this.

And this.

These objects, nothing more than pigment on canvas, make my heart sing. They cause my insides to be happy. They make folding laundry so much more than a mere chore. I don't know why. For me, a little art goes a long, long way.

Hubby is gearing up for the next step in our back-wing remodel. He spent Labor Day most appropriately bashing through rock and cement with an industrial jackhammer.

We leave this afternoon for our old stomping grounds. A church anniversary celebration will bring new friends & old friends together to recognize the faithfulness of God.

Have a good weekend, everyone. Perhaps my writing skills will return to me soon. They seem to have departed for summer vacation. Odds are good they will return with things to say.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Camp Overlook

Dear Mom:

It's been great at Camp Overlook. As you can see, the sun is shining. The total camp experience is here: pine cone fights, unheated cabins, mountain hikes, and bathroom faucets that you have to hold down to keep the water flowing.

We get to do cool things like eat outside on picnic tables. Food always tastes better in the open air.

Thanks to my culinary expertise, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. My favorite part was bossing the younger kids around.
I made boys chop things and do mindless prep like buttering toast for 65 people.

Speaking of toast, someone donated a ton of bread to our group. We disposed of it in various ways, most generally in the form of PB&J sandwiches.

Some of the group activities were swinging,

-and blanket-sprawling. Both of which sound easy to do until you actually try them.
We also played touch football and capture the flag. Our teams competed for points. The winners received candy.

I thought you would want to know the candy part.

I would have brushed my teeth more, but the faucet-thing made it difficult so I scratched the whole idea.

In the mornings and evenings, we sang praise songs and learned things from the Bible. The music would have been too loud for you, so I was glad you missed that part.

You will be glad to know that I feel like I love God more. I don't know why coming to camp helps, but it does.
As usual, we don't get enough sleep at camp. This kid tried a different method this year: fuzzy pink blanket on a camp bench. I hope it worked for him.

Thanks for letting me come this weekend, even though you knew it would take approximately 67.8 hours of quality sleep for me to be my normal, enthusiastic, obedient, and cheerful teenage-self.

Love, Your Kid

Thursday, September 03, 2009

mixing things up

I am mixing things up a bit by posting these pictures here on my regular blog. If they whet your whistle for more, click on over to . There you can see the post that I should have posted here.

It's fun to mix things up now & then. It keeps people on their toes.

We have some projects going on this week. New windows are being installed by my talented and seriously hard-working husband. They are replacing what looks to be the original windows. Heavens to Betsy, those babies are old and heavy. Does anybody want one? They are leaning on the garage wall. Come & help yourselves.

New windows are lovely things to behold. They bring light to places that previously were languishing behind dust, water-spots, and spider webs.

Speaking of languishing, this old table was doing just that in the dining room of the old stone house when I happened upon it. I said, (and I quote) "That table needs some love."

I have covered it in love ("Lattice Work", interior latex) and it is ready for its next life in my bedroom as my desk. For someone who doesn't believe in reincarnation, I sure make a lot of it happen. You know what I mean.

Oh, there there projects around every corner these days. One can come upon this one by strolling to the back wing of the house. Only don't do that without sending up a shout first. You might get brained by a large brick or cement-covered boulder.

Down comes "The Tower", as Hubby calls it. He likes to compare life's obstacle to epic movies.
That way, he can be Indiana Jones, the Gladiator, the Patriot, Braveheart, and Rocky all wrapped into one when he conquers something.

Note to scavengers: free old window frames and rocks. Come to the stone house at the foot of the bridge to stake your claim.