Saturday, July 31, 2010

i have concerns

Okay we’ve talked bobcat.

Taxidermy old bobcat. His name is Bob. How crazy is that?

Well, the mice are feasting on old Bob. They like his nasty old dusty fur to line their nasty little nests.

My parents called to talk about this. How do we dispose of Bob in terms of Kari, aka Lydia? Help us out here, Val.
I said I’d talk to her.

Lyddie, aka Kari said it was okay. If Bob is falling apart, it’s okay. Old taxidermy bobcats are like that. No special ceremony needed. Just disposal, and thanks Bob for being cool.


Okay, and this is the story of my dad and also my mom—kind, forgiving, generous... I mean the people are so incredibly nice.

oh yeah, those two a couple years ago with their first great-grandchild on his baptism

But maybe not so much.

The garbage guy comes to fetch their mini dumpster and he sighs and looks inside. He sighs some more, makes it seem as though the truck dumping the dumper is a personally difficult situation. This is his fatal fault: He lifts the lid to look inside as he does his sighing.

God help him.

My dad has strategically placed old mouse chewed Bob to be right there when he opens the lid. My petite, sweet mother actually laughed most devilishly. Trash pick up is tomorrow. Wow. Oh, karma, I’m a tad bit afraid. Be kind to my parents… (covering head) Har de har har, you two. You guys are living dangerously, and I’m not totally kidding here… Love, Val

a golden birthday

the birthday girl, in a photo handily swiped from elsewhere

it was the usual party, pretty fun

this guy isn't even in a high chair anymore

these parties get a little loud

getting ready to sing. maria baked this fine looking cake.

I hope this next year is as incredible as the past year was. We love you so, Val

Thursday, July 29, 2010

a sweet dad story

t.c. and alicia, July 09

This was written exactly one year ago. (I've got your cake baked for tomorrow, Alicia. Happy Birthday!)

It's a sweet dad story:

"Tonight we had a family party for our daughter in law Alicia's birthday and everyone was here for supper. All the girls and daughter in laws were sitting at the big table in the family room and all the guys and loud children were outside on the patio.

The girls were talking about how much more fun it was to do errands with Dad than with me because he always says yes about Skittles, and usually about Mc Donalds. Heidi, age 24, said, "Whatever you ask for."

Then she continued, "If you asked him for $20 right now, he'd give it to you." Kari is 9, and she was a little skeptical whether he'd hand her twenty bucks.

Heidi said, "Probably not because you're a little kid, but if you told him *I* needed it, he would."

Kari went out to the patio and then came back to the family room. I said, "What did he say?"

She said, "He's getting his wallet."

A couple minutes later, he came to the room, extracting money from his wallet, and handed it to Heidi. She said, "I don't need this, but YOU get a hug." He was all baffled, and not sure if he was being laughed at, so she explained, arms wrapped around him. He put the money back in his wallet and wandered back to the patio shaking his head, laughing.

Also made me laugh--John insisted on frosting Alicia's birthday cake so that I could hold l.c. He ran the mixer while I poured in the milk one-handed, and he set about frosting the cake, even though I told him the layers were too warm.

Well sure, the butter melted on contact, layers wanted to slide. He kept spreading the frosting too thin and going over it too much, but I ignored the whole thing and then he said to put it in the freezer fast so it'd set up again.

We brought it up a couple hours later and this lumpy, disheveled cake sat there on the Fostoria cake plate, looking pretty funny. We'd told Alicia this story ahead of time, so she said nothing. We put candles on, sang, ate cake. Then she said quietly to John, "How come you didn't put any sprinkles on my cake?" Oh yes, fake innocence. He lit into the story of the melting and the sliding.

Time for bed. I attached a cute pic of Heidi and her dad, taken 20 years ago. Notice how they both are biting their lip in exactly the same way. love you, V"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

for real

Okay, today when we left for our trip to the little pool, Maria was busy baking friendship bread. Every ten days or so, she does this. I don't know why. We are all glad she does it though.

(She's almost sixteen. She can use the oven when I'm gone. Plus Little Jay was home, and he's an actual adult.)

The cake in the oven smelled wonderful, and there were more pans lined up waiting for their turn.

Just as we were getting to the pool the phone rang, and it was Maria. "Mom, where is the toilet brush? I'm cleaning the upstairs bathroom and I can't find it."

We don't actually have a toilet brush. We have one of those bath scrubby things tied to a handle and I keep it in an undisclosed location so it's safe.

Anyway, I explained where it was and then had to tease her, "Maria, whatever you do--don't put it in your mouth."

"Okay, Mom. I promise." After we hung up I thought, WHAT A KID.

First she's baked beautiful cakes. Then she's cleaning the damned upstairs TOILET? Where did she come from?

I'm thinking this is the kind of kid to have. love, Mom

Monday, July 26, 2010


Seriously, our life is so opposite of exciting, I know.

This weekend I brought the sewing machine along to the lake and spent Saturday sewing curtains. The fabric has been in the closet for over a year. (Procrastination.)

Anyway, yeah.

Jay took the kids swimming, over to the sand bar on the island, bike riding, while I sat in the dining room sewing.


that's a dishcloth around her freezie because it's too cold to hold.

But it's good. It feels surprisingly good to have it done--the same the feeling as when you open the door on a clean refrigerator. Ahhh.

after--later we even moved that stupid dog kennel out of there and brought in the dryer. sam likes to lie down in that kennel sometimes, so we didn't want to get rid of it entirely, but it gets very little use.

Today was a quiet day. The sleepover guests went home this evening after dark.

My sister and her daughters met us at the little pool this afternoon, so we sat in the shade and watched the kids swim. My beautiful niece came back and spent the evening with us. She turned fifteen yesterday, and she's tall, with dark hair and eyes, polite manners, is insightful and funny.

okay, see that pole in the middle? tim had on goggles and turned to splash into the water and went head first into that thing. he bit his tongue, hit his forehead hard, the poor kid. he staggered out of the pool to my arms, but shortly felt foolish and wrapped a towel around his head until he felt better. unh. who knew that could even happen?

The crew baked while I took Tim to softball, and they ate everything they made. They're good bakers. We enjoyed the bits that were left.

At the end of the night I drove my niece home in the dark. They live out in what once was the country. Even now, with housing developments all around them, the big farm on the hill is operational and it smells like my aunt's house, animals, milk, and warm grass. Their road is very dark with crunchy gravel, yellow lights in the windows.

We said good-bye and headed home again through the summer night, warm wind lifting our hair, Freddie Mercury on the radio. Back at home, we tucked Julia and Tim into bed, said prayers, and fetched the damned Yo-J.

Okay, this is a Julia story: One night last winter, I said I'd get the Yo-J while she was putting on her pajamas. She said no, no, no. "First pray the prayers. Then kiss us and shut off the lights. THEN I'll yell for Yo-J."

Yeah, it felt like a plot designed to annoy.

Sigh. Beautiful, perfect July. love, Val

Sunday, July 25, 2010


luring sunfish with their toes. we have not bought a fishing license and have no way of actually catching them.

a pretty tiny sandbox

This weekend was ...gosh, I don't know... there are adjectives. Superb? That one seems to work.

Oh yeah, it was so laid back, happy, and good-natured, it was hard to return to reality.

okay, this is sam, who realized we were packing,and who then sneaked out the front door and inserted herself in the car at LEAST an hour before we were ready to go. we coaxed, pleaded (actual meat was involved,) and begged her to get out and come back inside, but she wouldn't even consider it. the vehicle was in the shade, but still.

a friend of little jay's playing checkers with kari

we cooked hot dogs in the fire

and ate shrimp and watched Toy Story

a broken chair got fixed

okay, these are picture julia took of her rock families. there were two families, one on this yellow towel, and the other on my lap. i listen a lot and try not to ask questions

well, okay, this is my lap, with the rock family on it. yeah.

the three shell babies are sleeping, and the dad rock is the big one... seriously, i nod a lot. you think i'm kidding. i'm not.

okay, this the rock dad from one family, on the phone.

i can't even remember what they're doing here. my ears get tired.

kids swimming

sunfish, channeling pirhanas. JAMES was bit in the nipple this weekend, and he hated it as much as his dad and dan did

here's where they count, and re-count, going to jump together. (it's not over either of their heads here, btw.)

jay said, "they never get their numbers together." i suggested to jay that we just shove them in, but we're not actually that mean.

they finally held hands and jumped when they told them we were going home. grab yer stuff. we're leaving in 30 minutes.

And here I am with invoices to type, wasting time in the middle of the night. Apparently the fun was not over, because the friends they invited to the lake this weekend are still sleeping over tonight. (honestly, not a problem. i don't care.)

I'm informed they stayed up until 3:30 last night playing Monopoly. Wow. Glad I missed that.

This pic was earlier, basketball in the driveway. Woo Hoo, and all that.

love, Val

Friday, July 23, 2010

stunts on a stump

click on this if you want--it's a much prettier picture larger

those two don't get much cuter

yes, lydia, deep in thought

Happy Friday. love, Val

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

another summer day

Today I worked a bit in the morning, and then we met Julia's little friend from preschool at the park for lunch, with her mom and brothers. She has one brother who is Tim's age, and her little brother is a gorgeous hunk of baby, the most chubby luscious lips and roly thighs. (The 8 year old brother is cute too--blonde curls and big blue eyes.)

They played and LAUGHED. Julia loves to laugh and so does her friend. They were seriously LOUD. I held the baby for a long time, nibbled the edge of his ear and squeezed him, kissed the back of his neck. He's a cuddly little guy, smiled at me, big baby smiles.

Julia discovered she can do the monkey bars, her long body moving in deliberate ways that are entirely unconscious, traveling from bar to bar. There's an elegant rhythm to it, coiled muscles storing energy, a way of swinging the legs--Kari and Kirsten and James can do it too, and some of the other kids. I never could. (I've got goofy shoulders that don't support this kind of thing.)

But then after she did the monkey bars over and over, a huge, nasty blister turned up on the palm of her hand, and that bad boy has hurt all day. We've got ointment and band aids on it tonight.

We went to the little pool later--too hot in the house. I looked at all the dog hair and mess and thought, "Do I want to clean this now or go to the pool and do it later?" (Later. Sheeze. We did get it done though.)

But her hand hurt in the chlorine and she hung on my lap in the shade. Tim and Kari swam without her.

Burgers on the grill, softball for Tim in the evening. Kirsten turned up here at bedtime. Her roommates are gone and her house is scary-quiet, so she's sleeping over. (Kind of nice, I admit.) The day is done. love, Val