the view from here

September 30, 2009

We had been following narrow gravel roads for an indefinite, but decidedly long, amount of time, seemingly getting closer to pretty much nowhere. As such, we were beginning to wonder about the effectiveness of the climbing guide book’s directions, with its striking lack of street names, with directives like “follow the first paved road to the right until you reach a sharp curve of gravel road that becomes a rough dirt road, occasionally impassible, depending upon the time of year . . .” I kept having the urge to console my trusty Toyota and apologize for subjecting her to such treatment.
But then as we rounded one bend I gasped and blurted, “Stop, please!” Understandably perplexed, J did so and waited while I fumbled for my camera and hopped out, and then on top of, the car [for prime viewing purposes]. This, then, is the documentation of the day’s climbing adventure, as I’m afraid I did not snap any while scaling the cliffs . . . hopefully the loveliness of this sight will suffice for the snapshot of the day :-)

the scolder’s secret

September 25, 2009

Bathtime!, I call out from upstairs, in my habitual sing-song tone–Lego time’s up: chop, chop!
Then I slip into the hallway, folding a Spiderman pajama top and pretending not to be waiting . . . listening for the patter of little running feet . . . watching for the white flash of a little bare bum.
Rinsing the suds out of his blond curls, I “remind” him to put his dirty clothes in the hamper, where he knows they go . . .
What I don’t tell him is that I love every second that I spend picking up those tightly rolled jerseys and strewn-about socks. I smile each time I see that forgetfulness, and the sight of a rapidly shed pair of shorts, knickers still propped up inside, more lovely to me than a Mona Lisa smile.

dreamy conversations

September 17, 2009

As I have indicated, my seven-year-old charge has quite an intriguing thought life, as children so often do. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that his dream life is also an interesting one–certainly more so than mine at the moment. And as such, I have grown to look forward to those unscripted conversations that come when we are not in the middle of school preparations, bedtime routines, mealtimes, and the like.
Mind you, I do not always have the privilege of such thoughtful insights: sibling relationships being as they are, such conversations are much more likely to occur when big sister is not with us–like this evening . . .
We were heading to the bus drop off, discussing the odd nature of the rain that had been falling in fits and starts all day. Then T launched into the topic of his dreams: one in particular. In this dream, he discovered a new talent for turning pencils into wands. Each pencil that he picked up turned into a different wand. I asked if they each had different spells but he said that no, they did not. He, however, was able to tell all manner of different spells, no matter which wand he held. Because, of course, he was the one with the magic skills, not those pencils: didn’t I know pencils couldn’t cast spells?
Yes, of course–silly me :-)

cloudy conversations

September 13, 2009

My 7-year-old charge and I had the exquisite delight of a 4-hour marathon at the creative children’s museum today. Returning home, we spent a portion of the drive in that contented sort of quiet that follows such a happy expenditure of energy. Revealing his own train of silent thought, T interrupted the reverie to note that he had just spotted “one of those spiny-backed dinosaurs–but without a head–made out of clouds.” I looked up through the open car top long enough to affirm his assertion, prompting a few other mentions of cloud creatures. He then launched a new series for our conversation: a series of questions that I dutifully responded to after considerable contemplation for each . . .
“What would you do if it started raining . . .
houses? [I would click my heels and say ‘there’s no place like home’]
street signs? [I would get even more lost than is my general tendency]
cars? [I would drive until I felt almost as classy as I currently do in my temporary ride–a convertible VW]
asteroids? [I would dig a hole and burrow for cover]
kittens? [I would adopt 20]
puppies? [I would adopt 1, and name it Kiwi Jr]
. . . And so on. All in all, I decided that T’s inner thought life at the time was
considerably more interesting than my own, which was pulled aways from ponderings as
to what I could quickly prepare as a passably edible dinner for us. Yes, I think children have infinitely more intriguing thought lives than those of us on the more old and crotchety end of life :-)

as nature intended

September 10, 2009

I have developed a bit of an obsession with the changing colors . . . perhaps easily attributable to this being my first autumn in New England? As such, I was telling Mom this morning that I have been longing to snag a bit of photo-taking time for myself, in the middle of a rather hectic Fall season thus far. So this afternoon, once I had returned from the airport drop-off, I did just that. And now I am unapologetically pleased with the [untouched, edit-wise] resulting shot :-)

not just for boys

September 8, 2009

Though I’ve wanted to for some time now, it was not until tonight that I sat in on my stepdad’s weekly Kung Fu lesson. Because of a passion for the sport and a love for teaching, he has spent the past year sharing his black belt skills with a few children and their parents. While the basement lighting leaves much to be desired for photographic purposes, I thought this “action shot” illustrated, decently at least, his intensity of dedication. It also, incidentally, has the perk of showing off in the background one of his favorite big kid toys, which I intend to try my hand at as soon as possible :-)

what’s the buzz?

September 5, 2009

This, disconcerting as the thought may be, is a foot-long hornet’s nest that has been living in the front yard of my French students’ home. Since discovering it approximately a month ago, the girls’ parents have been debating how exactly to undergo the eviction process without risking any lives or limbs in the process. Some of the possibilities included waking in the coldest hour of the night to startle them with a strong whack. They would have a trash bag ready to whisk the entire nest into the freezer–this option would have the benefit of extermination plus preservation, for future posterity. But their mother nixed this idea, deciding that her small freezer was not suited to a hornet’s home nestled between the popsicles and frozen peas. So they have just completed round 3 of super-spraying and, seeing no live creatures for the past few days, an intended chopping down this evening. I have entertained the thought of joining in on the fun . . .

picking a peck

September 1, 2009

I actually snapped this shot yesterday, as I admired the bountiful harvest of my apple-picking neighbor. But it seemed rather fitting to share it with you all today, considering the fact that we have just entered the month in which the “harvest” season begins. He admitted to me that he actually did not know what variety these are: the family has always simply titled them “snack apples,” referring to their small size, sweet taste and, I would add, picture-perfect appearance :-)