Saturday, May 25, 2013


It's been a rainy week.  Q went on his first school field trip - to the zoo!  He loved it, of course.  We haven't heard about the monkeys yet, but that's only because he was so tired he could hardly stay awake to eat.  Q's therapy schedule has been a bit light as some of his people have been out on vacation.  It's not all bad - he gets longer school days and especially loves the longer time he has in the library, music class, and PE with those longer days.

We haven't run as much over the last couple of weeks because of various injuries and odd little bumps in the road.  The girls have been talking about increasing distances and training for a sprint tri or half marathon.  There had been some talk of training for a marathon in the hopes that we could make the finish time cutoff for Boston.  I'm relieved to report that "technical difficulties" make that idea a non sequitur.  I think we'd have to drop everything but math, running, and music in order to pull off that kind of training - something none of us is prepared to do.  Hopefully the various hiccups will resolve in the next couple of weeks and we can get back out there.  They'd been doing so well with longer runs and with speed and strength work, and I hate to see them lose any ground.  Quite a bunch of troopers, these punkins - especially as they jostle for Q-pushing privileges during any given interval.

Between rain showers, I poked nasturtium and annual morning glory seeds into various locations throughout the yard, looking for enthusiastic groundcovers to keep the weeds out while we grow as much food as possible.  I'm hoping that the weather will cooperate well enough on Sunday to allow the baby tomatoes to be set out.  We've been trying to think creatively about how to make trellises for green beans against the back fence with just rocks and twine, since we already have plenty of both.  I was hoping to have sunflowers again this year, but we're probably a bit late for them.  We're going to go a little crazy and try short season cantaloupe and small watermelons.  The west side of the house retains crazy amounts of heat with even a little sun, so maybe we'll even see some fruit!  Lemon cukes are also ready to set out.  A friend surprised us with a packages of short-season veggie seeds, and those will go out too, directly into the dirt: round zucchini, fat little carrots, and Delicata squash.  A family friend stopped by a couple of weeks ago and after receiving a tour of the backyard, declared it an "edible park."  What a charming description.  We would love it to be true.

A young man with a diagnosis similar to Q's passed away this month.  Jorden was twelve years old, one of the five children (of whom I'm aware) with some form of Polymicrogyria in this state.  He had a seizure one Sunday morning, while his family was getting ready for church, and he did not recover from the loss of oxygen.  Jorden's thoughtful parents chose to donate his organs, and many other children are now living more promising lives because of the family's kindness.  If you would, please say a prayer for Jorden's parents and siblings as they celebrate his life with their church family and many relatives this coming week, and as they navigate life without their beloved and joyful young Nascar fan. 

Peace be with you.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Beatus diem matris

Sometimes when this part of the week arrives, I feel like I've skidded into home, knees and uniform a mess, and dirt up my nose.  Another six hours in this day wouldn't have gone amiss.  I wouldn't be caught up, but things would have moved further along, which can feel just as nice as being all caught up.

Three and a half servings of Q food are cooling on the stove, awaiting coverings and the fridge.  His towels are running - extra pre-treat, bleach, etc.  The kids are all in bed, the dishwasher just stopped, the house is getting quiet.  Apart from the big fan (it was 83* here today), it's still enough that one might hear the plants growing. 

Speaking of plants, a favorite subject...  This week, a neighbor brought over a Shasta daisy to share.  It's waiting to go into the dirt, behind the Rainbow Ascot euphorbia, with it's chartreuse bracts and their little red middles, and behind the Lucifer crocosmias.  I dug the grass out of the crocosmias yesterday, much to E's delight.  She'd gone looking for them and thought them dead, their leaves blending too well with the misbegotten weed blades.  The nearby coreopsis and Strawberries and Cream yarrow are looking fluffy.  I hope the lilac is okay - no blooms this year, though the new growth looks healthy.  I think all the moving around and heat last fall gave the poor thing palpatations.

The callas are poking their noses out, and the baby hollyhocks are holding their own.  The irises (sent by a friend, all the way from her garden on the other side of the country) are budding, and promise a swoony blue, so far.  There are more buds coming up, and each one will be a new revelation.  I had a little Miracle-Gro potting soil left from a couple of summers ago, so that went onto the Pacific Giant delphiniums today.  They need fertilizing, but we haven't any, so this shall have to do.  They're making spires already, and will try for a full six feet in height by the end of the summer.  I can't wait to see them in full bloom, their little center "bees" all fuzzy gray, offsetting the deep blue violets as if they were velvet and watered silk.

In other news, we're emerging from the spring spate of Busier Than We'd Thought Possible.  In under a week, the girls had their big orchestra performances (Mendelssohn's 5th Symphony and Rutter's Requiem), and all their spring recitals.  E played viola for the first time in public, as part of her sisters' violin recital performances - quartets.  She also played a piano duet with each of her sisters, in addition to her own solo piano performance.  K also had a solo piano piece.  We've discovered the best way to beat K's pre-performance nerves: running a race the morning of the recital.  By the time she played the three violin pieces (two as second violin in quartet, one as her piece), she was loose and happy.  S played second and third violin in the quartets (in addition to her own recital piece), and couldn't have loved it more.  Still, we're all glad that particular week is done.

The punkins are all asleep, so I'm headed up myself.  Happy Mother's Day, all you lovely mamas.  Take good care of yourselves - you make the world go round.


Saturday, May 04, 2013

Skipped the showers, on to flowers

So April flew by, eh?  Between lessons, school, rehearsals, running, and therapies, I feel like we blinked and found ourselves in May. 

Things here are good.   We're neck deep in history and literature discussions, grammar and Latin study, math, sets of splints, tomato and squash seedlings, recitals, annual testing, and baby lettuces. 

The trees have bloomed and promise oodles of pears and Asian pears, and maybe some little plums.  The rosemaries are bright and healthy, the morning glories have volunteered, and baby lavenders are thriving.  The bleeding hearts, bronze fennel, and blue hyssop have lost their minds - exceeding last year's growth by leaps and bounds.  Sweet woodruff and blue vinca carpet the east side in front of the fence, while purple sage and succulents are taking over the west.  Red yarrows are coming up, the Jethro Tull (ha!) coreopsis is all leafy, and the chocolate mint is doing it's work: holding down the hillside to the north and making the trash can area more pleasant on the east side, by the gate.

I was sure we'd killed the banana mint, but it's back, with two little leafy spires.  I need to check on the cress seedling babies and probably give them a little water, since it's been warm and gorgeous for nearly a week, with no rain predicted.  The hollyhocks did a nice job of self-sowing last fall, and their progeny have been watched with bated breath.  The pink-flowering strawberries I found for twenty-five cents apiece are fluffing up, and approaching the edge of the wall - something I hoped would work out so Mr. Q could pick berries himself, from his chair or stander.  Next year, the Hidcote lavenders will afford a similar opportunity - providing there aren't too many bees for Q.

In other news, it sounds like the quote for ramps might come down.  The pharmacy rep was out during one of Q's therapies this week and noted that the math has shifted.  So I'm waiting to hear.

To be clear, there's no budget for ramps, and I don't know what comes next here.  Little and not so little miracles have strung together for the last nine months, and we're still afloat, and I just don't know what else to say about that.  I find myself thinking that we can't possibly last another month like this, and then something completely unexpected occurs, et voila: speechless.

I'll come back and say more about the outdoor portions of the domicile, and our many hours of weeding.  It's kind of amazing that we have so many plants - many of them gifts or grown from seed.  Some have come from the local plant guy, who's been known to knock off 40% or just give my kids the plants they've dithered over, after they've fretted a little about how far their dollars would stretch.  More miracles.

Time to crash - we have church, orchestra, recital, and running to come before Sunday evening.  I hope you have a delightful weekend: all rest and sweetness, peace and renewal, with enough accomplishment to make the coming week easy and rewarding.  Hug those babies, y'all.