Tag Archives: family

Catching Up

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We’ve been…IMG_4637

…enjoying downtime before heading off to new adventures.

Rooting for our teams in the World Cup. Korea knocked out Germany! (Sorry, German friends). Belgium is still in! And England, oh England! (We’re watching the game right now).

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Eating peach ice cream at Chiles Peach Orchard…

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And tending to our garden.

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Play with your food!

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A few months ago, I was strolling the aisles of H Mart when I saw something that stopped me dead in my tracks. No, it wasn’t a glassy-eyed exotic sea creature lying on a bier of shaved ice. Nor was it a mysterious fruit all bumps and frondy appendages.

It was this amazing thing:

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…sitting on a shelf of other amazing little packages just like it. Obviously, I was obliged to buy them all…or at least the ones that had English instructions on the back.

Here’s what came inside:

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Have I mentioned that I’m a sucker for cute, miniature junk? This girl is too…

IMG_4214IMG_4220IMG_4239IMG_4231IMG_4234IMG_4242IMG_4243She had an appreciative customer:

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I just saw one of these sets yesterday in the international section at Harris Teeter in case you’re interested in trying it out and there’s no H Mart near you.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Snapshots 62

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Friday

We had to clear out of our parking spots at UVA for graduation by 12, so I got to spend the afternoon playing in my garden. In the pouring rain.

This young man had his very last full day of high school.

His younger siblings celebrated the end of the week with a game of basketball.
In the pouring rain.

Hanging out with my beloved book group was a fitting end to a near perfect day.

Saturday

We took the kids to the Alamo Cinema Drafthouse to see a movie.

“Anything but the Avengers!” my husband insisted. “I don’t ever want to see another superhero movie again.”

In the immortal words of the Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want…”

We did end up seeing a superhero movie after all.

RBG – the documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg gives you hope for the world by showing that there is at least one actual superhero living among us here on earth.

Sunday

That darn tree is still leaning precariously. Hoping to get it and the tree it’s using as a crutch taken down and away by the end of the week. I’m sad about the trees, but hopefully more sun will bring more flowers.

Weekend Snapshots 61: we’re still standing

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Saturday

img_4056My husband took my daughter to her soccer game in Blacksburg this Saturday. I played hooky and spent the day pottering around in my garden, getting a few more patches of poison ivy rashes on my legs. Meanwhile, my son took himself to his own soccer game, but had to come home early, having badly sprained his ankle. He’ll have to be on crutches for a week or so.

While he convalesced indoors, I kept being drawn outside to admire the flowers. I’ve been especially enamored with the irises I planted a couple years ago. They’ve finally come into their own this year…

I was annoyed, however, to see that a bright orange interloper had popped up in the flower bed.

 

My daughter noticed it immediately and asked “What’s that orange flower?!”

“That’s an iris. They must have sent it by accident with my order.”

I was just about to tell her that I was going to yank it out and replant it in some obscure patch in the backyard when she gushed, “I LOVE it! It’s SO cute!” So, I guess it’s staying…

What’s NOT staying is the huge oak tree, pictured upright just beyond the orange iris in the previous picture. Today it looks like this:

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Yesterday, I drove home from work through a powerful storm. It was late and I was so thoroughly exhausted that I somehow managed to pull into the driveway without even noticing that the tree had fallen into another huge oak tree, whose top sheared off and took down the fence with it, and fell into the road, blocking traffic coming from the other direction. When I came through the door, the kids came running up from the basement, where they had been cowering in fear.

“Thank goodness you’re home!!! Did you see the tree?!” my daughter asked breathlessly.

“Tree? What tree?”

YOU DIDN’T NOTICE THE TREE?!

She had to drag me to the window to point out the obvious.

Sunday

We sang in the choir all together for the last time. During the service there was a big, mushy send-off for the graduating seniors, including my son, who is heading to college in New York this fall. I was reduced to a quivering mass of exposed nerves, tears, and snot right up front and center in the choir loft. I’m sure I stuck out like a gaudy orange flower, and not in a cute way either.

But…we’re still standing.

Weekend Snapshots 60: Hoop Dreams Edition

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Friday

My daughter has been pining for a basketball hoop for ages. I was dithering, mostly because the thought of having to put it together filled me with dread. When I was shopping around, I saw that it was possible to pay someone to do the assembly and I seriously considered it. On Friday I picked my daughter up after her quartet/violin recital practice and we finally went to pick up her long-awaited basketball hoop. I asked the kids for help getting the box out of the back of the car. To my surprise, they not only got it out of the car, they immediately got to work assembling it.

They worked for as long as they could, using flashlights until they finally gave up for the night.

I helped too, obviously…by holding a flashlight.

Saturday

My daughter spent the morning diligently warming up for her violin recital…

As always, her big brothers did their best to help her keep her eye on the ball.

We were running early, so we killed a few minutes at the library, which happens to be right next door to the church where the recital took place…

We picked up a couple of Pocket Poems on our way out of the library…

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Show time!

Quickie post-recital haircut…

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…aaaaand back to work!

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I was feeling guilty for letting my kids do all the work putting the hoop together. I knew I should really lend a helping hand. I rolled up my sleeves and started to peel the plastic off the backboard. A gasp of outrage and betrayal stopped me dead in my tracks. I turned around to see my kids staring at me as if I had just kicked a kitten.

“That’s the best part! We’ve been saving that up for last!!”

“OH! Sorry!!”

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I went to meet my friend for dinner and a concert to take a break from my labors!

IMG_3908In keeping with the astronomy theme presaged by the Walt Whitman poem I had randomly picked at the library earlier that day, we heard Gustav Holst’s The Planets and Kaija Saariaho’s Orion.

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Sunday

After church it was back to work on the basketball hoop…

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The appreciative siblings gave the honor of making the first basket to the boy who did the lion’s share of the work:

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And then it was game on!IMG_3943IMG_3944IMG_3946IMG_3948

“True story,” I told my kids. I got my first ‘C’ ever because of basketball. We were doing a basketball unit in P.E. and your grade for the quarter was based on the average of a bunch of different layups. Every time you missed the basket, your grade would go down by a whole letter. So I ended up with a ‘C’.” My daughter sent the ball in my direction. “Here Mama, let’s see if you’ve improved!”

 

 

I got a B! I got a B!

 

 

 

 

Bewitched

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I still haven’t figured out what possessed my son to bring a cat inside the house. Unlike his siblings, he has never once clamored or cajoled for a pet. Unlike his siblings, he has never once fawned over an animal. I save photos and videos of pandas to a folder for my daughter to coo over. I routinely forward my older son articles about fish, octopus, or other sea creatures. I don’t bother saving any animal-related photos or articles for Jiminy Cricket, because I know he’s not interested.

Once I took my children to a goat farm during kidding season. The youngest and oldest were rapturous with joy as they nuzzled newborn goats. Jiminy Cricket stood off to the side with his hands jammed deep into his pockets and politely declined all offers to hold a baby goat. A couple times I took the kids to a live butterfly exhibit. The rest of us stood forlornly with outstretched hands, trying in vain to get a creature to alight on our fingers. The butterflies floated right past us and straight to JC, who stood there – a picture of suffering – his body shuddering with visceral horror and disgust as they landed all over him.

The boy has never even warmed up to any of our own pets:

When he takes the dogs out for their morning constitutional, he squeamishly wraps the torso of the one who refuses to walk down stairs in a paper towel, so his hands don’t actually have to make contact with his fur as he carries him to the yard.

So why would this boy insist on bringing a cat into the house? I can only conclude that he was overpowered by some potent feline bewitchment.

And how are things working out, you might be wondering?

Well…the words pussy whipped spring to mind.

For the first month or so after my son insisted on bringing the cat in, she didn’t budge from his bedroom. She stayed on a cat bed in the corner of his room unless she had to use the kitty litter, which he had set up right next to her bed. When I suggested moving the litter to the bathroom so it wouldn’t have to be in his bedroom, he demurred and said he didn’t think the cat would feel comfortable having to leave his room.

After she’d been with us for some time, I asked my son if she was starting to explore her surroundings a little more.

“Yes!” he replied. “Now sometimes she’ll come up to me when I’m working at my computer. At first I’ll feel her little velvet paws on my legs…and then I’ll feel her slowly sinking her claws into my flesh! Sometimes I’ll come into my room and I’ll need to sit down to do some work, but I can’t because she’ll be sitting on my chair and she just stares at me and she won’t move.”

“So do you kick her out of the chair?”

“No!” he said, clearly signaling with his tone of voice how preposterous he found that notion…”I just go away and come back a little later.”

After another few months passed, I started to hear strange thudding noises at night. Eventually, I figured out that it was the cat running back and forth, up and down the hallway. I’m convinced she’s in training…probably to murder my son while he sleeps.

“I think the cat needs to get some more exercise,” I proposed to my son. “Why don’t we try to let her outside for a little? I bet she’s really bored in your room, and would love to go out for a bit to stretch her legs!”

“I really don’t think that’s a good idea,” he replied.

One fine morning, I decided to insist. “Let’s just try to let her out for a little bit! We’ll let her right back in as soon as she wants to come back!”

“OK,” he said dubiously. He made his sister carry the cat down the stairs and to the door. He said he was afraid the cat would scratch him, but I’m pretty sure it’s because he didn’t want her to think it was his idea to make her go outside.

The minute the doors opened, the cat leapt out of my daughter’s arms and tore back upstairs to my son’s room, where she’s remained ever since. (Except of course when she trains in the hallway to murder him).

Like clockwork, the minute we sit down to dinner, the cat starts paging Jiminy from the top of the stairs.

“Oh,” he says, a guilty expression washing over his face, “Excuse me.”

He hustles up the stairs bearing food to the cat, as she continues to yowl at him the entire way. I swear to you, it sounds like: “Get. Your. Ass. Up. Here. NOW.”

He responds, “I’m coming. I’ll be right there. I’m on my way.”

In a much lower voice so she won’t hear, he mumbles: “Geez. I’m going as fast as I can. You don’t have to keep yelling at me.”

He comes back down the stairs and asks, “Mom, next time you go to the store, could you buy some more Fancy Feast, please? I like to alternate it with the Iams so she can have some variety.”

“Sure, Jiminy. Gotta keep the cat happy.”

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You looking at me?