Sunday, June 29, 2008

where'd that time go?

I'm halfway through my last Learning & the Brain assignment, and have two to go in Educational Psychology. Of course, the two finals are still pending, and DH flies in this Friday. This week is going to be busy.

Last week was, too. The weather has been not-beach-day, but not impossible. I worked most days on various things but we went swimming just about every day. Saturday (just yesterday? Yes --) was a beach day, and I went with the kids for about 3 hours in the afternoon. But the rest of the week was consumed by landscaping: shopping for plants one day, digging up everything (OK, not the azaleas) and then planting on the next, and finally, mulching the last. The kids helped plant and mulch, rather unwillingly and for less than an hour each day, but hey, it was something.

Me? The digging/planting day started at 8:30AM and ended after 4:30PM (and I still took the kids to the beach for a swim in the humid, cloudy evening) -- my legs still feel like I caught two nine-inning games, but at least my hands have recovered. (I don't have any gloves here. Of course I could've got some, but I didn't want to deal with it at the time.)

On top of all that, I haven't been sleeping very well, which I suspect is because of the humidity. Unfortunately, there's no end in sight for this ridiculous weather, wherein we have about 5 minutes of blue sky a day, and then it threatens rain for the rest of it. We had some sun in the early afternoon today, and I wanted to go to the beach, I knew it wouldn't be for long because of the storms pressing in -- but the boys didn't want to go! "We went yesterday," DS1 declared. Yes, I replied, but God only knows when we'll get to go again!

We didn't go. I napped on the couch, making up some of my sleep deficit.

I refuse to feel guilty for letting the kids do nothing today. We've been making lots of memories this summer, one down day is not a vacation-killer.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

late save

It was a steamy day, but thunder rumbled constantly, and it seemed it would rain any moment for most of it. Finally the storm broke over us in late afternoon, cooling everything down rapidly but leaving within an hour.

After supper, it seemed as if all the drama was over, so I suggested a walk to the beach. The children were excited to get out, especially when they all came running back in, shrieking, announcing that it was raining again (or perhaps just still raining, after all.) Who cares? I asked, and they were stunned: We can go in the rain?

Yes, yes. We walked in the gentle rain. About three-quarters of the way there, we saw an extraordinary double rainbow. I acutely felt the inadequacy of my camera.

We arrived at the beach and the children immediately went wading, while I was attacked by gnats as I tried to find some vantage point from which I could get the entire rainbow in one photo. The water was so warm the kids were begging me to let them go home and change into their bathing suits so they could return and go swimming, but I nixed that idea: too buggy at the little beach.

The big beach, however...

We got home as quickly as possible, and got approval for the somewhat crazy idea from my sister-in-law. We all changed into our suits and piled into the car with our towels. On a school night, my kids would've already been in bed, but this is summer. The waves were disappointingly small, but the water was delightfully clear, if a bit cool. OK, we did feel cold on the way in, less so on the way out since the air was about the same temperature as the water. We all traipsed far out on the sandbar and watched the sunset, and I regretted leaving my camera at home.

We weren't the only people at the beach -- there was one couple there, perched on the boulders surrounding the parking lot, snuggling. I'm sure we completely ruined their romantic interlude, but hey, it's a public beach. There was much whooping and hollering and exclaiming about the coldness of the water and the general awesomeness of being on the beach, at night, with no one else around, the sunset sky a gorgeous array of colors, and the first stars peeking out overhead as the cloud cover broke up.

We left the beach about 9:45PM, and of course everyone had to have a hot bath or shower to get both clean and warm; nice hot drinks were made for those waiting their turn, and everyone was beyond exhausted by the time they finally got to bed.

Sometimes, even the longest, dreariest days can play out wonderfully.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

rained out

We went to the beach today, but didn't get to stay: within moments of the completion of my application of sunscreen, a nasty little storm blew through. By the time everyone was huddled in the car, sand-blasted and shivering (the temp must have dropped 10-15 degrees), all the towels and gear stowed, the storm was mostly over. We could've stayed but the lighter-weight peewees voted to go home and get warm, and I couldn't really blame them.

Back home, of course, there was nary a sign of rain, and hours later, it still hasn't rained, here. Feels like it will, though.

I do wish I had the presence of mind to fish out my camera and shoot that storm as it came in over the water, it was an awesome sight. I was, instead, rooting around for my wallet so the kids could get something from the ice cream man. I'm sure they think I made the right call, but I'm not convinced.

Friday, June 20, 2008

sole survivor

Managed to find one still-pink Lady's Slipper orchid in the woods along the Sea Farm Marsh trail today.

Nearly all are gone by now, eaten or just dried up and blown away. Next year, we'll have to hit the trails in the first of week of June to see them in abundance.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008


This is our last day of "just us" here at Mom's; my brother and his family arrive tomorrow. The kids can't wait to see their cousins again, they've been planning their adventures since we said goodbye at the end of last summer.

As for me, I've enjoyed this week beyond reason. I'm not on vacation, yet, but I've taken a few days off from school to work outside. This house has been only minimally maintained over the years since my father died (1997), and surrounded as it is by encroaching woods, such neglect was passing from the benign to worrisome.

I brought a pressure washer a few days ago. I spent a day on the deck, which still has some greenish planks, but I think some deckwash might work just as well on that. I spent a day on the driveway. I think the last time it was swept was when I was here last summer, but I can't be sure of that:

I'm making the kids help, too. They've done some weeding, some raking, and some (very little, really) lawn-mowing with the push mower. Mom doesn't need a real lawn mower, since this is what we're mowing:

I know one of my nephews did some leaf-removal for my mom earlier this spring, but I'm not exactly sure where he put them. I think those leaves were part of the tremendous piles I've pushed back to the brush line.

Speaking of tremendous piles of leaves, there's yet one more to be shoved into woods:

These ones were under the side deck and all along the terraced side of the house, drifts inches deep. Tomorrow we will rake the whole mess behind the brush line and thank God that we don't have to bag it all.

I think the best part of the day was loading up the beach car (the sticker for the beach doubles for use of the town's landfill) with the old pile of wood that had been cluttering up beneath the deck for several years, and then taking it all to the landfill and heaving it into the huge dumpster full of construction and demolition trash. There's something very satisfying about heaving huge chunks of wood into a giant metal box.

Then again, the best part of the day was probably when we went to the little beach when I got home. We caught all sorts of things: brine shrimp, a tiny whelk, really obnoxious hermit crabs. There were these weird jelly-filled tubes, I think they must be some part of a jellyfish life cycle. The water was cool but not freezing, and the beach was deserted except for a group of young teenage girls: I say young because they were not too cool to go swimming and goof around in the water.

Tomorrow's Mom's birthday and I have a cheesecake cooling in the oven for her. It looked a little weird last time I checked it; I warned her that I couldn't be sure how it would turn out since she didn't buy the Philly cream cheese... the batter tasted good, though.

I'm on deck to make pizza for dinner for the crowd (11 of us, I think), but that's fine. No pressure washing, and only that last little bit of raking to do in the morning, and then back to schoolwork. The forecast says it will be too cool to go swimming tomorrow, and DD wants to go beach combing; we'll see what happens.

My to-do list for the yard is still a bit long: weed and mulch the flower beds, clean up the other side of the house, pressure wash the patio and all the outside furniture. But I don't need to get all that done now; my goal was to get the backyard in decent shape so the kids could go out and play back there without dealing with tall grass and dead leaves everywhere. We've already had one tick incident (DS2, on Monday) and I'd rather not have anymore. The other stuff just needs to be done before July 13, when we're having a party for my brother's sixtieth birthday.

Today I thought, there must be something wrong with me: I had so much fun. Mom's concerned that I'm working too hard, she thinks I'm crazy. I'm not, I'm really enjoying myself. In years past I was too tied up with child-minding or not physically capable of doing what I'm doing now. When I lived here (as a snotty teenager), I had little patience for yard work -- the only saving grace, nearly 30 years ago, was that the trees were much smaller and many fewer, and so we had less work to do. I can't recall ever having this much stamina in the past. I would be good for one day of hard physical labor, but not three in a row. (Yay, me!)

At the risk of jinxing what has been a remarkable run, I will come right out and say my rheumatoid arthritis is in remission. The only parts of my hands that hurt are the thick muscle under my thumb, and the few blisters I've developed. This is extraordinary given that, when I first arrived, both my mother and my sister were suffering major weather-related flares.

Whatever else is happening, just knowing that this is within walking distance is enough.

frequent visitors

This pair of mallards lives on my mom's street. Yes, on the street. It's not paved, and there are a couple of little girls who run their hose every day for their paddling pool, so we have near-constant puddles. Apparently, that's good enough for this pair of odd ducks.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Blogger won't upload my photos, and I don't want to invest the time to working around it just now. Maybe later.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

wading day

Nina wrote today about visiting the beach in Deauville, Normandy, where the season hasn't yet begun, except for certain people...

It was great to see the sun today, but now we're bracing for a heat wave.


Never see one of these out of my window at home.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

here, again

It was a long day, but really the best trip ever with the kids. They did their thing, I did mine, it was almost relaxing.

Finally got them into bed about an hour or so ago -- we're all too wound up to relax properly. They love this time of year. Me, I would love it more if I had been able to wrap up my classes already. Ah, well.

I brought way too much stuff but the weather is iffy here this time of year, and since we're here for so long, I'd rather have more than less, and I don't want to be doing laundry every three days, either. I brought a bunch of books, mostly for school, but also some of the ever-growing stack of books I want to read -- but those, I'll ship home at the end of the trip when I don't need them anymore. No way am I lugging them back on the plane. The idea is to read real books and not spend so much time attached to the computer. I think it's a good one.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Polished off the Educational Psych midterm this evening. *whew*

I know I can't get 100%, because I forgot to answer part of one essay question. I did exactly this same thing on my Learning & the Brain exam, except that time, I caught it when I was doing my final review. This time, I didn't: having spent many, many words describing Piaget's four developmental stages, I then neglected to say why I should pay attention to the developmental stage of my students in the classroom. At worst, that lapse will be worth 5 points, but maybe it will be worth only 2, there's no way to know right now. Maybe the instructor will be so dazzled by the brilliance of my reply he won't notice that I failed to answer one of the questions. Regardless, I know already that I got full marks on the multiple-choice part, so I'm pretty sure I'll be OK.

Accomplished much, today, actually. It's a good thing, too, since tomorrow is packing day, and we have a bunch of other stuff to do, too.

None of this seems quite real.

Monday, June 02, 2008

semi-annual event

When you have three children, you have to schedule regular purges, times when you go through all the books/dvds/video games/board games/toys/clothes/shoes/papers and get rid of everything.

OK, not everything, just a lot. I appreciate that as the children get older, they stop acquiring things at the same frantic pace, stepping down to a slightly more manageable rate of accumulation. Even so, it took me over an hour to go through all their school work and dispose of about 98% of it. I do love the feeling of lightness, afterwards.

Meanwhile, we have a stack of books, video games, and toys to go to the various entertainment exchange places. We'll do that tomorrow.

In other news, I knocked out my two EdPsych lessons and thus have just the midterm to deal with before Wednesday. I have to complete my study guide but overall I think I will do OK on this one, it all seems like so much common sense to me. I have to watch feeling complacent, because I could easily mix up the names of important theorists or skip something in describing developmental stages or similar multi-part theories.

Une petite crise: I had borrowed the DVD for Learning & the Brain from another teacher, and returned the wrong disc to her! So she has my Classroom Management dvd, and I still have the L&tB disc. There will be some frantic phone calls made around that, starting tomorrow. Oddly, I'm not panicked about it... yet. Things are falling into place fairly well for Wednesday's departure.