Sunday, May 29, 2011

Flower Child

Zane came to visit the other day.  It was one of the few sunny days we've had this month.  It wasn't hot, but at least it was warm enough to be outside without freezing to death or getting wet.  So, it was a good day to plant some flowers, and I figured Zane could help me.  Kids like to dig and play in the water, don't they? 

I already had the petunias I wanted for the front window boxes.  So, armed with digger, watering can, flowers and hose, we started planting. I thought we could have a nice time together digging and planting and taking our time at it, but it turned out that I planted those petunias as fast as I could, since Zane only wanted to dig where I had already planted the petunias and his idea of handing me the plants to put in the hole was to first pull off the dirt, then hand me the rest. 

The watering he got down fine, until he wanted to water ME.

Here's another cute Zane story.  Before we starting planting together I was putting some plants in at the back of the house, and got my hands dirty.  Being too lazy to run inside and wash, since I might miss something cute Zane did, I rinsed them off in the water sitting on the base of the basketball hoop, into which Zane was putting flowers he was pulling off. The next thing I knew was was going to my scattered dirt and putting both hands in it, just so he could go rinse them off like "Maury", which is his current name for me.  I might like to keep this one. 

Oh, there's more.  From here, Zane and his folks went to see "Papa", which is the name Grampa gets.  Zane got a ride on the excavator and crawler tractor, and when it was time to leave, didn't want to go. 

Another day, Lynette and I went to Grand Island to shop, of course we stopped in to see Zane and family.  Zane was in his little pool that he and his mom had filled by the bucket with warm water.  As soon as we came, he got himself out of that pool so fast we didn't know what was going on.  He ripped off his wet things and started hollering for a shirt.  Then he started saying, "going to Maury's house".  He got himself all dressed, demanded his flip flops put on and was ready to go.  Sadly, we weren't going home, we were going shopping and we sure didn't want him along. But, that desire to be with me, oh, what a feeling!

That's the message today.  Grandchildren do something that no child does to their parents.  I don't know if it is the fact that they are an extension of our aging selves, the evidence of our heritage going on, or just the fact that they are OURS and are so stinking cute.  But, what I do know, is that tugging of the heart strings, that joyful and painful feeling when we look at our grandchildren, makes it all worthwhile.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Take My Advice

We had Zane overnight without his folks for the first time last weekend. He did really well. Of course, we expected that, since he lived here with us for two years. What I had forgotten, though, is how hard it is to keep things picked up off the floor with a little one around.

This is why it is so hard for young mothers. 

Of course, my house isn't really a mess.  It just has a few (very few) toys on the floor.  When I had kids it was about 100 times worse, plus there were dishes and laundry not done, or partly done, and lying around, and we won't even talk about dust and bathrooms. 

I noticed, however, as the kids got bigger, it was easier to keep things picked up, they didn't play with many toys anymore, and I had more energy and desire to clean up.  I WANTED a clean and tidy house.  So, now that I am infected with that germ, I have to learn to not sweat the small stuff all over again.  (I'm not sure I did that so well when the kids were little, though.)

I'm not going to put pictures on here of what life with kids is really like, and lest you think I'm crazy for thinking the few things on the floor I've taken pictures of, constitutes a real mess for me, it doesn't.  I wrote this post to point out to myself some of the changes that have been taking place in my life.  I'm used to "no toys on the floor" and when I got the twinge, (after walking over that crazy train for the 20th time), of "oh, no, there's toys all over and I don't have time to pick them up because I'm cooking", I was able to take a deep breath and think, "big deal, Zane won't be here for very long, I'll have plenty of time to pick them up later, and this isn't anything like what I used to do",

And, really, anytime I'm able to take a deep breath and think about the really important things in life, I realize I must be growing up after all. 


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bad Spellers of the World Untie...

Okay, so this isn't a book about spelling, it's a book about punctuation.  Punctuation is as necessary as good spelling, which both are going the way of the dinosaur, due to email and texting, according to the author of this book.  I'm inclined to agree with her, which is why I read this book. 

On the back cover is this joke:

A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.
"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes toward the exit.  The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
"I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up."
The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
"Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China.  Eats, shoots and leaves."

So, punctuation really does matter, even if it in only occasionally a matter of life and death.

I find myself thinking about the proper uses of various punctuation marks, as I type these days.  I already knew most of the rules, and I'm sure my punctuation will pass most people's scrutiny.  I wouldn't want a real expert looking on. 

This book is for all those people who cringe at the sight of usages of "your" instead of "you're" and a whole bunch of other punctuation errors.  It is also a how-to book, to tell you when to use commas, quotation marks, dashes, semi-colons, and colons, all put together with some spicy commentary, along with her biggest pet peeve, the apostrophe.  It does have some very special uses, especially in possessive noun situations, and a great many exceptions.  It's a useful book, since everybody wants to know the right way to use punctuation marks  

She is especially virulent on the subject of misplaced apostrophe's. It was originally invented to take the place of removed letters.  One of my favorite tips in any contraction, and especially the "its", "it's" conundrum, and she also uses, is if the word represents, "it is", use the one with the apostrophe.  This works for "you are",  for your're, and others.  She has another bone to pick with those that done know where to use them with possessive nouns.  For example: Anastacia's book, as opposed to Anastacias' book, unless there are more than one Anastacia, in the family, or room, or school, which I doubt. 

I would love to tell all the rules and mistakes and tips right here, but that is stealing Lynne Truss's (that's correct, look it up in her book) thunder.

If you want to be able to write the King's English, and shudder every time you walk by a badly pnuncuated sign, (and correct this post) READ THIS BOOK!!


Another thing I've learned after writing this post, is that I don't know how to spell punctuation. Every time I typed it, spell check flagged it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring at Home

Spring is so beautiful!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's For The Birds

I enjoy watching birds and figuring out what kinds they are.  We have several that come and feed at our feeder over the winter. We have a cardinal pair that lives around here, and we are always watching for the first robins of spring.

Every few years we have the privilege of a black bird convention right in our yard. Big deal, you say. We do have plenty of ordinary blackbirds of the grackle variety. (Sounds ever so much more exciting to have grackles flying around than blackbirds). But, THESE, are yellow-headed black birds. They are big: they are beautiful; there are SO many of them.

They were fun to watch.  Here's a few and then some more come to join in.

They just sort of "roll over" as they feed on our lawn, the ones from the back fly over and land ahead of the front lines.

They saw me, and all flew away.  Notice the white spots than you can only see when they are flying.

They really know how to decorate a tree!.

Now into the front yard. Tails up, its feeding time!

They are digging to get worms or something from the ground.   They just keep "rolling forward" as I said before, but they all bunched up by the driveway.

Someone drove by and away they go.  They stayed away this time.  And the next day they were gone.  They only stay about a week.

Lorene called later and said the birds making such a big noise by their place had yellow heads.  So, now I know where they went.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Home is Where My Heart Is

 I went home today.  It's funny that when I say I'm going home, it's the home I grew up in.  And yet after "going home" today for a  funeral, and driving 6 hours today, I was glad to be back home again.

So, I went home today, I went to attend a funeral.

She was our neighbor, she was the mother of my first and best childhood friend. I don't see that friend very much anymore.  We don't live in our home towns anymore, we aer busy, we have family, and that family is growing.

She is one of the last people on earth that communicates by writing letters.  That's how we've kept in touch over the years.  A letter once in a while, a phone call when I was in town, a class reunion. I didn't know her mom terribly well, you don't really get to know other kids mom's sometimes, but I went because I know my friend would like to know people remembered.  That they remember her, and the family, and what we used to know, and what we used to do.  And that what we had then, no one can ever take away. We went to school together every year, all the way from kindergarten to seniors. We played ball, we played outdoor games, we played board games, we rode bikes, we talked and picnicked and played. 

We had a nice visit and a nice little remembering time.  We remembered the times when we wanted  go on a picnic, we would walk uptown to get a Shasta for 15 cents.  Then we'd make a little lunch and go "back of the park" to eat it.   I remember asking if we could go first, though. 

We have a lot of memories together.  I wonder if she remembers the time her mom sent us uptown to buy an onion, we were stumped at the grocery sore, on how big of one to buy. we bought the biggest one there was, it was as big as a grapefruit if my memory serves me right.  Her mom was dumbfounded.  I don't think she ever expected us to bring one home that big.

Or the time we were walking by an old lady's house and we heard banging and cries of "help" coming from inside.  I stayed with her my friend ran for help. The poor woman had fallen and broken her leg, and had been lying there for hours.

It was a beautiful sunny spring day, with a little nip in the air.  I got to mom's in plenty of time so we took a tour of the town.  Mom wanted to show off the hospital addition and I wanted to see the school addition.  The elementary students are bused out of town to a new addition on the high school.  Those buildings don't look anything like they did when I lived there, almost thirty years ago.

I liked our little town, and it looked so clean and fresh driving familiar streets that took me to school and friends' homes. The elementary school building is empty and some of the houses I remember are gone. Streets are paved and houses are built where there was gravel and nothing before.  But the streets on main street are still brick and several blocks east of there, too. It's  painful sort of memory, of times past that can't come again. A memory that is hard to put in words, hard to take the pictures that tell the story, hard to remember what was there and what is gone. It's a feeling, and it means I'm growing older.  It also means my folks are growing older, and some time there won't be "home" to go to.

And it will be my kids, coming "home" to see me. .

Monday, May 2, 2011

The King's Bathtub

When I was a little (and not so little) girl I would go all around our neighborhood finding all the different kinds of violets I could find. In our yard we had the common white ones, light purple ones, and the while with purple streaks in there hearts.  I had to go farther afield to find anything different, and I found some red-violet ones, and once some yellow ones.

I find that the kinds of flowers I like best come from books I've read. Remember "violet vale" from the Anne books, and the buffalo wallow, "a bowl of violets", from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books in South Dakota.

I would go all around picking all the violets I could find, and then I would call on a couple old ladies I especially knew in the neighborhood, and give them a bouquet. 

If you pick off the petals of a violet blossom, you can see the king taking his bath.