Family Matters

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NaPoWriMo Fifth Post

Posted by on 06 Apr 2017 | Tagged as: Family Matters, Gardens and Life, good things, NaPoWriMo, poetry, Poetry Month

Hundreds of miles from home
I am home again
with my grandfather
walking the streets
past the bookstores and
ice cream parlor
past the little shops and
around the park
Home again with my grandfather
When I am with my grandfather, I am home.

More NaPoWriMo poetry can be found at the website.

Decades

Posted by on 08 Mar 2017 | Tagged as: celebrations, Family Matters, Gardens and Life, good things, Tom

I remember the first time I started really thinking in terms of DECADES. Our elder son was about ten. Off the cuff, I mentioned something that had happened about 15 years before.

It was his first true realization that there had in fact been “life” before him…

And it was my first recognition that I was “old.”

Today I am thinking in terms of decades of commitment. My darling Tom and I have officially been a couple for longer than we were not.

This particular threshold feels almost as momentous as that first “double-digit” birthday, or the realization that once high school is over, childhood is also gone.

Are we really old? Perspective suggests we would have been considered on the cusp of old age in our grandparents’ generation. Today, however, people twenty years our senior are running marathons, picking up new instruments, learning new languages, and conquering mountains.

We aren’t old yet, but I have to say I am really looking forward to growing old together.

I love you, Tom.

Important Dates in our Lives

Posted by on 23 Feb 2016 | Tagged as: celebrations, children, Family Matters, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, Uncategorized

Today is the 21st anniversary of the day our older son became a big brother.

He was so proud of his little brother!

Here is a pic of the birthday boy and his big brother the day after he was born…

Feb 1995

Feb 1995

When he was about 3 or 4, he LOVED that Snowman toy!

Grant and his Snowman toy, off on an adventure in the back yard.

Grant and his Snowman toy, off on an adventure in the back yard.

When they were about 6…

Thurston County Fair, possibly 2001?

Thurston County Fair, possibly 2001?

I am so proud of my sons.

And today, I am beyond-proud to be the parent of two full-fledged (in the eyes of the law) adults!

And one more, of a proud mama and her son, probably taken in 2002.

Walking at the Nisqually Delta, a favorite jaunt in those days.

Walking at the Nisqually Delta, a favorite jaunt in those days.

Happy Birthday, Grant.

Too quiet (delayed post from June 2014)

Posted by on 15 Feb 2016 | Tagged as: Family Matters, Gardens and Life, house building, housefire, Uncategorized

I have been “silent” for many months, working very hard at school and just trying to keep ahead of the work. I love my students, and spend most of my energy on them during the school year. It’s hard to keep that “work-life” balance sometimes. But as things calm down and become more predictable I find small moments when I have both time and energy again.

Here is a musing from quite a while back:

When the house is clean
And the kitchen is tidied
The outside beckons

Too late the weeding
the mowing
the tending
the sowing

Too late the gentle breeze
before the storm

The children are gone
from my arms
from my time

We built and built again
a home

And alone
I work quietly
alone

Wait for a reason
To put joy
on the walls
in the halls
for the

[originally written 23 June 2014, mid-afternoon]

I stopped writing the poem at that point — what did I have in mind? We had only moved “home” about three weeks earlier. I was again temporarily jobless and simultaneously trying to find the “must have” items from the boxes that had come from the apartment, the “cleaners” and the storage locker; while sorting out the items that I wished I could keep but were no longer worth keeping even for sentimental value. I was trying to find and reestablish the garden again after more than a year “away” — so much doesn’t get done when you don’t live on site! I was trying to make some decorating decisions which I quickly gave up — no money even if I had the heart. Tom was working full-time, Grant was working full-time, Matthew lived elsewhere. I was ALL ALONE. No companions of any kind except my grief and longing.

I still deal with the feelings of loss, I still am absolutely, devastatedly, achingly lonely when I am at home with no one around, no one to care for. I have a precious few hours with Tom each week, usually on the weekends; fewer with Grant who very much wants to earn enough and save up enough to leave home. The rest of the time, if I am home, I am alone.

And this loss — the loss of security and home, the loss of heritage in the artifacts that perished outright or turned out too badly damaged to keep — this loss is relatively small compared to the losses we witness daily around the world.

It’s part of the human condition, it hurts, and it does not abate. Yes, there is still joy, and yes, I look forward to each new day and the seasons that are changing. But like many types of grief, this one is now an enduring, permanent feature of my life. I treasure moments with the people I love more now, I think, than I used to — always with a sense of longing as I remember that these moments do not last.

As I finish this post on February 15, 2016, the little waq’waq’ is singing by the fish pond. A casserole is in the oven, Tom’s pumpkin pie is cooling on the counter, his bread in other oven perfuming the air. Grant will be home in a few hours and will sit with us and watch a little TV before I give in to my sleep schedule and leave the two “menfolk” to hang out for a little while longer. Life IS good. There is much to look forward to.

Hanging on to each precious moment with the people I love.

Also worked in the garden, but…

Posted by on 01 Jun 2015 | Tagged as: Family Matters, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, music, percussion, Uncategorized

here is the main event from the weekend.

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Snippets

Posted by on 23 Dec 2014 | Tagged as: Family Matters, Gardens and Life, good things, hope, house building, Uncategorized

I am trying, during my two-week (16 days!) break this year to get ahead on a few household tasks as well as spend some time just doing the artsy-craftsy-teachery things I enjoy. The teacher-tasks are waiting until Thursday afternoon, when I will enjoy sitting down while watching football or movies and going through scope and sequence for the rest of the grading period. The artsy-craftsy tasks are mostly waiting until I have my office in better shape.

The house is already cleaner and better organized than it has been since just after we moved in. I keep hoping for that “Open House” but now I think it is going to wait until Spring break… It’s all “baby steps” for now while I try to finish the last organizational and decorating tasks and wait for the funds for additional enhancements.

Here is something Grant helped me put up today:

A gift from Mother (one of two limited-edition ornaments) this year.

A gift from Mother (one of two limited-edition ornaments) this year.

This is a “completed” task (but need to clean the windows properly before taking more pics).

Here is a “before” shot of the desk in my office/studio. At the time of writing, the surface is clear, but the shelving isn’t yet properly mounted. This is one of several tasks I have been needing to attend to for several months, and one that is finally going to get done!

The desk is three feet deep and five feet wide.  The surface in this picture is covered in months of additions waiting for their homes.  Some of them belong on the shelves that are about to be mounted above, others will go in files in the cabinet to the left.  The small set of drawers and the sewing machine under the window have already been moved out, increasing the floor space by over 8 square feet!

The desk is three feet deep and five feet wide. The surface in this picture is covered in months of additions waiting for their homes. Some of them belong on the shelves that are about to be mounted above, others will go in files in the cabinet to the left. The small set of drawers and the sewing machine under the window have already been moved out, increasing the floor space by over 8 square feet!

The house is definitely looking lived-in… now the trick is going to be getting the last remnants of construction and the last bits of demolition debris removed before Spring. Planting time is coming soon and the ground is not yet prepared. I will be putting some bulbs in pots this week, and the rest…

There is always another season, another year, another project. Here’s to seeing what 2015 will bring!

The classroom after an actual MONTH

Posted by on 02 Oct 2014 | Tagged as: 3rd Grade, 3rd grade, broken bones, children, Family Matters, Gardens and Life, Uncategorized

This is how I left the room today, set up for a sub who gets to do the “fun stuff” with the kiddos. 🙂 I try to keep a few tricks up my sleeve just in case, and today it was necessary to pull a few of them out.

Tomorrow, Grant has a surgery to repair a hand damaged at work earlier in the week. Should be an “easy” fix and he should be fine, but just in case I thought I should be there.

So I took a few pics of the classroom. Here are a couple. I am not commenting on them individually since they are relatively standard schoolroom pics, but the room is looking more and more lived in. The large leaves hanging from the ceiling are felt. I got them at a local large kitchen and bath store, and they have really made the room feel less cavernous.
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Memories

Posted by on 14 Sep 2014 | Tagged as: Family Matters, Gardens and Life, good things, hope, house building, housefire, loss, Uncategorized

A year and a half ago this evening, I was planning the pizza party for the class that had “most improved” in behavior and academics; and deciding to have cookies and juice for the other classes, who had been working very hard as well.

Tomorrow will be the 18 month anniversary of the last day of that grading period, the day that I entered in all the data I had and started making comments in the evening so parents would know how their kids were doing in school. That was a Friday. I was so looking forward to the weekend, to the following two weeks (right before spring break). The weather was lovely and we were able to take Lucky out nearly every evening for a walk. I had plans for the garden, for the house, for figuring out where I was going after the break (when my long-term sub position would end).

I liked my home, my cluttered corner where I planned lessons, read books and watched TV. I loved my purple and yellow and green bedroom with the basketry light fixture over the four-poster bed and the walls of books…

I loved the times we spent cooking in the cramped kitchen, eating at the linoleum-topped table, playing games.

I walked the gardens daily. I knew the plants, the animals, the sunrises and sunsets. Predictable, but ever-changing.

On Thursday, it will be a year and a half since all of that was taken from us, the bright Monday afternoon that home was lost and we learned the true meaning of neighborliness and friendship. A year and a half since we ended up in a hotel without a clean change of clothes, or toothpaste or even a hairbrush. A year and a half … that feels sometimes like yesterday and sometimes like a completely different world.

We have been back on the land, in a new house, since the first of June.

I still sometimes feel out of place, not sure where I am.

I don’t yet walk the gardens daily, too many things perished while we were gone.

I don’t yet have a handle on everything that is lost, because there are still boxes to go through. Every box holds memories…

Every memory I have to let go because the papers or fabrics are too damaged (and toxic) to keep hurts. It goes slowly.

And yet, a year and a half of new memories are already built. The picture of Grant and his girlfriend’s senior prom is clipped to my lampshade next to my new corner where I plan lessons, read books and watch TV, and think about maybe tidying up someday…

Once again, Tom cooks in the kitchen, this time a more spacious and workable space, with a separate area for the table where we eat and play games.

This autumn we will plant bulbs, tubers and corms in the back yard, reclaiming the ground that was damaged by construction for a pleasant view that doesn’t need mowing.

This winter, we will sit in front of the fireplace when it rains (or snows), something brand new for us.

And in another nine months, we will have been back almost as long as we were away, and I hope we will finally feel home again.

For now, the memories still invade at inopportune moments, and I have to catch myself and figure on which side of the memory I stand…

This loss hasn’t been the hardest we have faced, but it has been very difficult. Recovering from something like this … never easy. But recover we do, and every day a little more falls into place. Every day, the new memories are stronger and the painful memories are easier to bear.

Bedroom and Office spaces

Posted by on 22 Jun 2014 | Tagged as: Family Matters, good things, house building, Uncategorized

We are getting things put in place. I spent most of the last couple days on either the bedroom/closets or my office. We also tidied up the great room/kitchen a bit more. Here is an update.

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Today in the garden

Posted by on 14 Oct 2013 | Tagged as: children, Family Matters, Gardens and Life, good things, house building, seasons, Uncategorized

The garden holds so many lovely things in the autumn.

A view of the blueberry plant that is under the bigger chestnut tree:

Yes, the bright red leaves are the blueberry!  It was LOADED this year, but the birds got them.  Next year...

Yes, the bright red leaves are the blueberry! It was LOADED this year, but the birds got them. Next year…

This is a detail of the fennel — the darker sections are completely done, the greener sections have a lovely, brighter flavor. I’ll harvest some soon to make sausage with them.

Dark brown, and bright green umbrels of the fennel plant.  They look like little fireworks, celebrating the harvest season.

Dark brown, and bright green umbrels of the fennel plant. They look like little fireworks, celebrating the harvest season.

And the big news… looking “through” two walls (I was technically standing in Grant’s room when I took this) and the French door out my bed window!

20131014_161552

And Grant, standing next to the wall of HIS bedroom, just to the right of the window that looks out over the quince tree (temporarily on its side…).

Grant, for scale.  He is about 6 feet tall.  His room will be 12 feet deep and 17 feet long...  not HUGE, but actually slightly bigger than the current room in the apartment.

Grant, for scale. He is about 6 feet tall. His room will be 12 feet deep and 17 feet long… not HUGE, but actually slightly bigger than the current room in the apartment.

Okay, walls need a little more “filling in.” But, progress! And a stack of lumber to add on top of the sill.

And a week of dry, sunny days to help the construction team.

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