Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's getting closer . . .

I ran across a new blog recently which has given me much pleasure. It is called box elder and hails from Brittany. Lucy spent a year living and teaching in St. Brieuc. We were never able to visit her there, so our impressions of Brittany came from her descriptions of a place which she found grey and oppressive. The creator of this blog, also called Lucy, has found color and much beauty in the place and her blog is filled with rich and evocative photos. On a day when all I had to show for spring in my garden were these scrubby snowdrops, Lucy’s photo collage gave me hope that better days were coming soon.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Two Forgotten Holidays

In my eagerness to commemorate Andrew’s birthday yesterday, I forgot that the day before was also worthy of celebration. It was National Potato Chip Day. Then I learned from Glenda’s blog that it was also National Pi Day. Clever, that one. 3.14.

I’m marking them on the calendar for next year. I am not sure how I will commemorate the Pi part, but the potato chip celebration is a no-brainer.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Andrew

“Thirty-seven years ago today Andrew was up on the moon looking for a family to come and join. He saw a family that needed another boy . . . “ There’s always a mantra like that at the end of grace when one of the kids has a birthday, so in an hour or so that’s what we will be reciting. Alas, no Andrew at the table, but we are counting the days until he comes home for a visit. Maybe I will get a better photo than this, which shows him with two of his children, Linus and Liesl.

I talked to his godmother this morning. A lot of happy memories there. And Andrew, I apologize. 6’4” it was

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Welcome, Lydia Jane

The phone call came at 5:00 a.m. last Friday, and though I had been expecting it, it did not waken me. But a few minutes later the insistent beep of the answering machine jolted me from sleep and I heard Jeff’s voice telling me that he and Elizabeth were already at the hospital. Thank heavens he had been able to rouse his parents around three o’clock and they had made it over to hold the fort. I waited for the light (and a few cups of coffee) and drove across town. Sandy had given the four kids breakfast and got them dressed, so all we had to do was sit and wait.

The girls were busy drawing. Evelyn (she’s five) drew mother and baby grinning from ear to ear in a room with a playground outside. Caroline, who is four, had relegated the baby to a corner of the room and had populated the room with a couple of ducks. She really loves ducks. (Click on photos for details.)

I answered the phone around 10:30 and heard Liz announce that Lydia Jane had been born half an hour earlier. It was such fun to give the children the news: they were delighted that the baby they had been calling “Peanut” was finally here. Elizabeth called Ernie and her siblings. Benjamin jumped on the school bus, eager to pass on the news to his teacher.

There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing that day. When Jeff came home I made it to St. Mary Mercy to see the long-awaited sight of Elizabeth and her daughter. This little girl has so much going for her: hardworking, loving parents and delightful siblings. You’ll be hearing a lot more about her.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Snow Day

Time was when I would have been glued to the television early in the morning, waiting to learn whether school was cancelled, whether I had to drag kids out of bed and feed them breakfast or if I could relax with the paper and another cup of coffee. It was 9:00 a.m. by the time I realized that today was a “snow day”, and that was because Kate called to ask if she should send over a team to shovel. Thanks to my wonderful neighbor, Dave, who had worked his magic on the driveway with his snow blower and a cheerful energetic woman who shows up with her shovel on snowy days, everything was clear by 8:00 a.m. The sun has been shining, and although the snow is still thick, many pathways are now clear.

I can smell beef stew simmering in my kitchen and I’m going to take some over to Dave. Then I’ll check out the neighborhood snowmen. Happy Snow Day.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

An Alan Ladd Moment

I like Charlie Gibson. I think he’s a good news anchor. I don’t think he takes himself too seriously and he doesn’t look over manicured. But I’d never really studied his physical appearance until last night when he had left his customary seat in the ABC studio and was standing outside somewhere in Texas reporting on the Texas primaries. He was talking to George Stephanopoulos and I wasn’t paying much attention until I heard Ernie ask, “Is Gibson tall or is Stephanopoulos short?” Then I couldn’t take my eyes off them. Gibson was towering above Stephanopoulos. I kept thinking “Hobbit.”

It was warmer in Texas tonight but they were still wearing their overcoats and standing side by side. Tonight, however, they were pretty much the same height. I kept waiting for George to fall off the box on which he was standing, but then Ernie reminded me of the stories of Allan Ladd and the ditch. Wonder who else had noticed the incongruousness and who came up with a solution.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Matter of Convenience

For more years than I care to remember, I cooked three meals a day for seven people. Eating out was an occurrence rarer than the appearance of Halley’s comet, especially as the kids got older and our “party of seven” included teenage boys who grew to 6’7’’ and 6’3”. Keeping the food bills under control was a full-time job. Even if there had been the huge array of today’s convenience foods available, the additional cost would have ruled them out in our household. (In the interest of full disclosure, I confess to using cake-mixes. I don’t do cakes. And there is an apocryphal story the kids like to tell involving me, driving lessons and Hamburger Helper, but you don’t need to know that.) So I chopped, pared, peeled and diced with the best of them.

Now there are just two of us and it is not unknown for me to buy a bag of salad or a container of melon pieces. But here is where I draw the line.

Click on the photograph for more detail: 14 ounces of individually wrapped apple slices. I didn’t check the ingredients carefully, but these apples are surely packed in something pretty chemical to stop them turning brown during their shelf life. And even if the company could prove to me that there is no health hazard involved, they can’t prove this product is a bargain. On the day I took this photograph, the pre-packaged apples were almost $4.00, while these tempting looking fruit were on sale for 99 cents a pound.

Do the math.