Thursday, May 13, 2010

Needed respite

Tonight, my friend's 2-year-old daughter spent several hours at my house while her mom worked. After I put my kids to bed, I put her into my bed in an attempt to get her to sleep. I slipped her little diaper-clad body between the sheets, pulled up the duvet and reclined beside her. I watched as she wiggled about, giggling to herself, rolling over and over, obviously delighted by the way the soft cotton felt against her bare skin. She was the personification of joyful sensation. She paused and turned her sweet face toward me, grinning and wiggling her fingers in front of her, that squeaky voice making some approximation of the word "spider." Five rounds of "Itsy Bitsy Spider" later, her mom came to pick her up.

In a week that has been, at times, blackened by some of the worst humanity has to offer, she was a beautiful, simple and welcome reminder of the best.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The way it is

Overheard (and inspired):

"Yes, I am a person who is petty enough to look at people I don't really care for and think 'Oh, honey, you may not have the years, but you sure show the miles.'"

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Why I can fix that

Most people who know me would agree that I'm not very good at the word "can't." If something is broken or needs work, whether it be a relationship or a project or a light fixture, my first inclination is to break out the tools, roll up my sleeves and get started.

That I might fail, or not be up to the task at hand, rarely even occurs to me.

When I was younger, I chalked this up to being one of two daughters of a man who had no sons. We learned to shoot before we learned long division. We did yard work. We went fishing. We cut firewood. We helped build things. Now don't get me wrong, we were not complete tomboys. We took ballet lessons and learned to cook and sew too, but our experiences were certainly not limited to those reserved for the fairer sex.

As a young woman, I credited my father's influence almost exclusively for my willingness to charge forth when faced with a new situation or task. As I grow older, I recognize that while some of the technical ability came from my father, the mentality is one most accurately attributed to my mother.

She grew up in the midwest, one of 10 kids in a Catholic farm family. Her brothers and sisters all still live within about 20 miles of the farm. So do their children. So do their grandchildren. But she left, and she didn't stop at the next state. Not too long after high school, she packed up and first headed south, but found that not quite the right fit. She went, of all places, to Fairbanks, Alaska. I wonder if she was scared. Perhaps she just figured she would make it work.

Through the years I have watched my mother employ that technique in almost everything, from raising us to starting a business to running a household to home improvement. She just seems to step up and figure it out. And most times, it turns out OK.

When my chainsaw won't start or my water pump starts sucking air, I roll my eyes, curse a little, then pick out the right tools and figure out a way to fix it. My father taught me which tools too use. My mother taught me to have the courage to pick up the tools in the first place.

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Afternoon anthem

Sunshine streaming and sleepy eyes on a Saturday afternoon: It's perfect for drifting.

Come Away with Me

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo

The air of warm-weather festivity was markedly lacking this afternoon. Yep, those are snowflakes. Apparently, nobody bothered to inform the weather gods that it was the fifth of May and thus snow was wildly inappropriate. Can margaritas be served hot?

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