after the storm

January 30, 2009

It is nap time. And I find that the quiet in the apartment mirrors my inner feelings . . . watching the snow fall outside as I muse on the cycles of childcare. In this case, it is the post-meltdown calm that I contemplate. As I tried to explain in conversation earlier today, one never quite gets immune to the power of a distressed child: somehow, no matter how many teary sessions you have lived through, the moment is always new and all-consuming in its terrible immediacy. And so once she is happy again, it is as if you have permission to breath–and consequently, the peace is so much sweeter than if there had been no crisis prior to it.

made for walking

January 29, 2009

This morning I admired a shiny green frog as I crouched over the tub washing my hair. When I emerged, tying up my hair in a towel turban, my charge was absorbed in her project of “organizing” the contents of my suitcase. She was also modeling my shoes for me, which I gratifyingly complimented: her fine figure seemed to set off my gray flats rather stunningly :-)
[*I am currently enjoying a visit with an old friend, during which I get to hang out with her toddler on the days she is at work.]

a faucet affair

January 26, 2009

One of the things I have most enjoyed about home maintenance projects is how some of the more apparently daunting amongst them have turned into surprisingly straightforward ones. Today, for instance, I installed aerators into the water faucets. When I pulled the little gadgets out of the box they looked frighteningly minute. And with no instructions to go by, I had initial visions of dismantled parts, unhinged pipes, and the like. Looking more closely at the rim, however, I decided to try my luck at simply unscrewing [my grandpa taught me my “lefty loosey” ;-)] . . . and it worked!
I now have high falutin’ energy-efficient aerated water pipes. And yet another photo of my faucet.

in and out the buttercups

January 22, 2009

Today I had a visit from an old high school friend. This meant that I also had the distinct delight of meeting her little one. As I snapped this shot of his blond halo, his mischievous grin seemed to say Watch out world, here I come!

plumbing beauty

January 17, 2009

Some days it is the simple things that one must be grateful for . . . the hum drum practicalities of life can be things of great beauty. Running water. A good plumber. Beautiful.
I learned that a portion of this house has old, hardy water pipes, while the other portion has new, copper pipes. And the combination of an exposed pipe plus these brutal temperatures proved to be a bit much. So I awoke to no water flow. Thankfully, I was able to get ahold of my plumber before opening hours, so that he bumped me up to top priority for the day. WIthin the hour, he had come, had located the problem, and had thawed the pipes before they had a chance to burst under the pressure. What could have been a major disaster was diverted, and future issues with the pipes were prevented.
And I am deeply grateful for the practical beauty of a faucet’s flow.

the 5 yr.old lefty scrawl

January 9, 2009

Since returning from my holiday travels, my days have been consumed by house cleaning and clearing out. A portion of that work has included sorting through decades of my family’s belongings in storage. As you might expect, this is a rather large task, in an emotional way as well as the simply practical aspect.
One surprising find was particularly interesting to me considering my recent return from teaching at my elementary school alma mater: a folder of the letters I mailed home from school.
Here is one of the letters [the text was written on the back of the painting and, in case it is not perfectly legible, reads Dear Mummy and Daddy. I like painting pictures. They look pretty on the wall. Our seeds are coming up. Love from Anna]

life in a new year

January 2, 2009

A day spent with an old friend has left me thoughtful in a slightly stereotypical, but still meaningful, way about the significance of this new year. What I am realizing, after reflecting upon the happenings and learnings of this past year, is that this new one is a year about, simply, life. Life at its most basic level, stripped of the trappings of societal expectations, material possessions, and self and other-imposed stresses. If I let go of all the preoccupations I so readily get caught up with in any given day, what do I have left? What am I really living for? What am I spending my time working towards? If I am honest, in a gut-level way, I fear that I must admit to many trivial, superficial tendencies. May I live in such a way, in this coming year, that my life reflects what I really care about. May it be a year of family, a year of meaning . . . a year of life.