Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day in the Outdoors




We are very much a family of explorers; too often, though, mental exploring wins out (fantasy books, graphic novels, and piles of scrap-paper sketches sprawl everywhere) and S. tries but fails to get us all out for a Sunday walk. So for Father's Day, we made sure to visit one of our favorite parks, without any cajoling necessary.




It never fails once we all set aside our other activities and actually get outside that we're thrilled to kick off our shoes under the open sky. We've raised a family of little nature observers, and this trip we were particularly enjoying a whole colony of crawdads camouflaged in the bottom of the pond.


We also delighted in the sight of a dog happily paddling around in the deepest pool. There actually was a trio of pooches there, and they seemed very friendly (though also very wet and dirty from their swim). On our return walk towards our car they were lounging on the grass and wanted to be petted, so we tried to ask the couple on the picnic blanket that had been nearby the whole time if our kids could say hello to their dogs.


They didn't really answer, though after we persisted (our girls were already petting away, but it was the principle of the thing), they made some noncommittal response. But just a minute or so later, they packed up their stuff and started walking out of the park -- no backward glance at the dogs, who didn't follow them. In fact, we finally realized, they were NOT the dogs' owners, which explained a bunch in terms of our interaction... 

After a happy interlude getting slapped by very big, wet tails, we reluctantly went our way home as well, wondering about the dogs. There was hardly anyone at the park that day, certainly no one near the animals, and we worried a little. But they were clearly well-socialized and well-fed dogs, so we knew they couldn't be strays, and tried to have faith that the little mystery would resolve itself in the end.

Thank goodness, we didn't have to worry long; as we were in the parking lot, another nice couple pulled up and asked if we had seen some dogs. There is only one private house right near the park, and they belonged there (that had, in fact, been one of our hopeful theories); I guess they snuck out for an afternoon swim.

Certainly, an enjoyable Father's Day for all!




Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Long Winter



"It can't beat us!" Pa said.
"Can't it, Pa?" Laura asked stupidly.
"No," said Pa. "It's got to quit sometime and we don't.  It can't lick us.  We won't give up."
Then Laura felt a warmth inside her.  It was very small but it was strong.  It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up.
  
-- From the wonderful book, The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

It's only a small exaggeration to say that I hate winter.  Even in the best of years, winter is an expected yet unwelcome visitor that lingers and lingers and lingers till we won't even look each other in the eye--there's a mutually understood hostility.  I don't remember how strong these feelings were in my youth, but now I can hardly wait for the sun to come back and make everything all better.  I'm sure there are places in the world where winter looks natural, perhaps even an improvement, but not here.  This year, with its double-digit snow days and unrelenting cold, was harder to bear than most.

Now that the light is back and the warmth is back and May colors are everywhere, I can hardly remember the winter at all.  The world is transformed, and for the next six months leaves and blossoms and laughter will cover winter's chilly bones.  Still, judging by the pictures, even the barest bones of winter were enough to support a warm house, a good new job, and a loving family.  If winter sets the baseline, it's not a bad place for the year to begin.


Snow caves on the front lawn.


A New Year's visit from Uncle Alex and Aunt Amy


Lucy accidentally made a burr-puppet.




I finally succumb.


Nora gets toothier and toothier.

Holly pretends she's a grad student.

K. and the kids all submitted art to a contest for families of state employees.  Here's Nora's abstract creation.

And here's Sage with her felted flower fairy.

And Lucy with her still life.

And Ian with his Celtic knot.

And K. with her B&W photo of Lucy.

Fortune Tellers predicted a good birthday for me.



Okay, winter, I guess you're not so bad.  No rush, but maybe 
we can do this again some time.  How does 2028 look for you?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Who Knew [Our State] Was So Beautiful in November?

We found two new places, an enchanting urban garden and a coastal bird sanctuary, and took a couple fall trips last year. I was really, really taken by the light and textures and took way too many photos, though I've tried to trim them down for you.


 








Above, poison ivy and holly all dressed up for autumn; and below, a snag simply crawling with ladybugs.












Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Holly Jolly Christmas



Holly the Christmas Cat came to stay with us today.  She's a very sweet girl--curious but not aggressive, and very, very friendly.  Let's just say that the kids were especially vocal in their thanks to Santa this year.




New pet aside, it was a wonderful day--maybe our best Christmas yet--full of thoughtful gifts, good family, and generous hearts.  I think we're getting the hang of this whole "Real Meaning of Christmas" thing.  All our love to all of you out there!