Archive for the ‘Assorted and Sundry’ Category

Sumer Is Icumen In

June 5, 2018 @ 5:23 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry


Helen Holmes, The Hazards of Helen — my inspiration photo this week*

*hahaha, I started this post almost a week ago! Photo still applies, though.

This incredible Portland spring seems to have been going on for at least four months, and yet I find myself absolutely gobsmacked to hear people talking about summer like it’s imminent. Oh sure, I’m aware Wonderboy’s last day of school is around the corner and Jane’s Cal Poly graduation is the week after that. I’m making our SDCC plans and paying June bills and harvesting a strawberry a day from the hanging basket…BUT STILL. Summer? Seriously?

We’ll stay in high tide for most of June because we’re having so much fun with our current slate of studies. So I don’t have that end-of-term winding-down feeling I’m seeing so many of my homeschooling pals express. I’ll probably be firmly settled into summer mode about the time everyone else is gearing up for fall. Being out of sync with the crowd is more or less a way of life for me, though, so no worries. 🙂

It hit me recently that we’ve been here almost a year now and I’m going to have to stop talking about Portland as if I’m newly arrived. It’s been such a fast year, though! And everything is still so new! Every week: a new wave of bloom, a new slant of light. So much we haven’t done yet! Sauvie Island, the Columbia River Gorge, the zoo, the rose garden. (I’ve been to the latter on a previous visit, but not with the family.) And yet…in some ways I’m more rooted than anyplace I’ve ever lived. Or rooted differently, I guess? Because of the advocacy job, I regularly attend the coffee hours and town halls of state legislators. Some of them know me by name now. I drive to Salem at least once a month. I’ve manned tables at community events. Perennials I planted last summer are blooming once again. How is it already JUNE?

Wednesday

May 21, 2018 @ 6:23 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

I think this is my favorite photo of the hundreds (thousands? eek) I’ve taken since we moved to Portland. I posted it on Instagram with a riff on the much-beloved William Carlos Williams poem:

so much depends
upon

a red garage
door

glazed with rain
water

beside the pink
dogwood

And while I’ve appreciated “The Red Wheelbarrow” for many years, I feel like I get it in a deeper way now. There’s a feeling I get when I look at gray-blue clouds piled over a blue mountain, or sunlight shining through black tree branches, or the evening sky shot through with light and shadows—a feeling like Emily Starr’s flash, you know?

I started writing this post last week (thus the title) and didn’t have a chance to come back and finish until now. It’s Monday morning, early, kids still in bed, sky like mother-of-pearl. I’ve been awake since before dawn, dunno why. The enthusiastic birds outside my window, probably. I contemplated getting up and taking my walk early—I usually go in the evening, during golden hour if I can possibly manage it—but I opted to lie in bed and watch the walls turn from gray to blue. Got up around six and slipped out to the back yard to smile over our little garden like a proud mother. We have radishes coming up in the garden, and my first strawberry is very-nearly-almost ripe.

Anyone remember my big long strawberry-rhapsody post from a million years ago?

Eighteen dollars: less than four times the amount we paid for last night’s gone-in-a-flash berry feast. And now I get a steady stream of berries from June to September. Like the wantons they are, the plants have multiplied with abandon: we must have hundreds of individual strawberry plants now, each fertile and heavy with fruit in its season. I am a neglectful gardener (just ask my neighbors) and I do nothing to baby these plants. I ignore them. I don’t do chemicals and I can’t be bothered with fertilizer or compost. We have terrible soil: thick red Virginia clay that is not at all disposed to encourage root growth. The kids’ caterpillar farm (fennel and rue) springs up right from the middle of the strawberry bed. The strawberries don’t care. They thrive on adversity. They scoff at the miserable growing conditions; they sneer at the crabgrass; they launch themselves over the retaining wall and bloom in mid-air. They send exploratory runners into the lawn, and Scott mows right over them. For this callous treatment, they reward us with a riotous, bountiful harvest. You can’t beat us down, they proclaim. You only encourage us to flaunt our fertility. We will, we must, reproduce! We will fill the world! Let those fat, bland, expensive greenhouse-grown excuses for berries beware! We are sun-warmed and sweet. We will make you weep for joy.

There is no modesty in strawberries.

And there was no brevity in 2005 me, apparently. 😉 Oh for the days of big long text-heavy posts!

May 14

May 14, 2018 @ 8:08 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Nature Study

Hello hello hello hello!

Today is my 24th wedding anniversary. You know I gotta post that pic I always post. 🙂

Still crazy about this guy. (Understatement.)

We celebrated Mother’s Day by…cleaning the garage and basement. Yes, I am THAT woman: the one who saves the grungiest jobs for the day her family lives to do her beck and call. 😉

My gift was a really lovely surprise: a couple of weeks ago I posted a pic on Instagram of some perfectly GORGEOUS flowers (Hayley Mills voice there, obvs) I spotted in a neighbor’s yard on one of my walks. I learned that they are called Lewisia (after Lewis of Lewis & Clark) or, commonly, bitterroot. I adore them.

I swooned hard again when I saw them at a nursery the week after—but I was there for garden starts and I Firmly Resisted the Temptation to Indulge. And then the other day after my first post-treatment mammogram (all clear, hurrah!) Scott surprised me with a detour to the garden center. Unbeknownst to me, he showed my Insta photo to an employee…and now I have my ownty-downty little bitterroot plant. Bliss.

my week in pictures

April 13, 2018 @ 5:14 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Photos

Some things I shared on Instagram this week. Lots of rain, but quite a lot of sun, too, and we even had short-sleeves weather one day. As for the rain, well, I’ve become a person who puts on her boots and gets out for a walk, rain or shine. Charlotte Mason would be proud.

(My hair, though. Hoo boy, my hair.)

Songs in heavy rotation on my walking playlist this week:

Anthem by Leonard Cohen (this version performed by Perla Batalla & Julie Christensen, which I adore beyond reckoning)
Life on Mars

Thursday (a scintillating post title)

April 5, 2018 @ 4:32 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

One of the talks I gave at the VaHomeschoolers Conference was about habit-building, so my own habits (good and bad) have been much on my mind—especially my lost habit of daily blogging. I’m rusty!

And a bit blank. I always feel like I have so much to say as I’m opening the tab, and then it all skitters away.

Well: there’s always notes about the day. We’ve had steady rain all day and I had to settle for only a short walk, not the long rambles I’ve been enjoying. This morning we meant to do some Serious Lessoning but instead I wound up showing the kids YouTube clips of 70s and 80s theme songs and other important pop culture touchstones. 😉 H.R. Pufnstuf’s opening remains as bizarre as it was when I was little, for the record.

I spent the afternoon working on my final issue of this year’s BraveWriter Arrow lineup: The Thing About Luck. And now I’m drying off from my walk and realizing it’s just about time to get ready for the next event on my list: a town hall with my state senator and representative. Time to put on my advocacy hat.

What was your Thursday like?

April. It’s April. It’s APRIL.

April 4, 2018 @ 5:22 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Photos

Who, me in denial? Tax day around the corner, and deadlines not far behind?

Not to mention someone’s twelfth birthday coming up. TWELVE.

Things we did today:

• Fed the neighborhood goats, Woodrow and Grover
• Made a cloud in a bottle
German with Felix & Franzi

pretty in pink

March 30, 2018 @ 8:14 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Nature Study, Photos

Flew home from Virginia on Tuesday and have spent the week catching up on Everything. Catching up—and taking as many nature walks as humanly possible. Rilla and I have been casually tracking the waves of blossom here in Portland—first came the crocuses and hellebores; then the flowering plum and pear trees, with quince close behind; and now everywhere is a sea of daffodils and grape hyacinths, and the bees are tumbling in the cherry blossoms, and the first tulips are filling their cups with sky. When I left for my trip last week, Klickitat Street was a froth of pink and white, giving way now to a veil of soft green.

Why am I inside right now? Goodbye, I have to go for a walk. 🙂

A Friday in March

March 9, 2018 @ 9:20 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

Good morning! On my list today:

* a long walk
* Journey North Mystery Class
* Moomins and other readalouds
* poetry teatime
* German lesson
* painting lesson
* writing the next chunk of a BraveWriter Arrow
* ordering books to be sold at the VaHomeschoolers Conference I’ll be speaking at in a couple of weeks
* taxes, mutter mutter
* A bit of work on the current novel and oh dear there are about fifteen other things I should add to this list but let’s be reasonable. There are clouds to watch sail by.

Re my Portland pics on Instagram: Sometimes I worry they could be annoying to my dear San Diego friends but then I remember I did the same thing (only it was here on the blog, back then) in 2006 when we moved to California and I worried I was bumming out my Virginia friends with all the PACIFIC OCEAN-PALM TREES-NO MORE WRESTLING WITH CARSEAT BUCKLES OVER SNOWSUITS rhapsodizing…

…and before that I worried about my NYC friends when I moved to Virginia and went crazy over the Blue Ridge Mountains and redbud trees and monarch butterflies and fields of chicory like patches of sky in a meadow.

Then I remember that Anne Shirley loved Four Winds every bit as fervently as Avonlea. Hearts are big, with many rooms.

I have forgotten how to title posts

February 8, 2018 @ 8:20 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

I opened my drafts file here yesterday and saw that the last post I started was a one-line fragment written on January 16:

We’ve been sick, most of us. Just a cruel bug: aches, sore throat, cough.

—Which I suppose answers the question of why I fell off the internet for a month. 🙂 My cough hung around for a good while and still hasn’t vanished entirely. But I’m more or less back to myself, and everyone else is fine. But yikes, that virus really squelched my plan to get back in the blogging groove!

And now I can’t get any photos to upload here. Hmm. I was going to pepper you with photos of the incredible bloom happening in my neighborhood right now—crocuses and camellias and hundreds of little daffodil spikes—but no luck. Well, some of it’s at my Instagram if you’d like a peek. (You can view IG pics on a laptop without needing to log in or download the app, FYI.)

What else are we up to? Journey North Mystery Class, flying solo for the first time in many many many years. (Sniffle.) It’s Huck’s first time participating. He and Rilla each picked a mystery city, and I took the one that looks to be somewhere in Antarctica. Plus we’re charting photoperiods for both Portland and San Diego, to compare. Huck is much more into the charting than I expected. Then again, he loves math. Rilla tolerates the math because she likes the discovery part of the project so much.

Things we’re reading together: Paddle-to-the-Sea (the last first time!); The Children’s Homer (“you purchased this item on Feb. 5, 2005,” Amazon tells me); Our Island Story; and Moominsummer Madness. And the usual assortment of poetry books!

Oh, and Huck had a birthday. This baby? Is nine years old.

(Huh. So photos from my archives still work. Just can’t get new ones to upload. Okay. I can work with this.)

(I remember the first time I put that shirt on him, and Rilla, who would have been around 3 1/2 or 4 at the time, exclaimed: “He’s wearing a MAN SHIRT!”)