Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dog Cookies

Ah, New Year's Eve. A night fit for profound thought. Or not... @ and I were talking about cookies. He decided I should make dog cookies for blue doggie (his constant snooze companion).

Me: Do I make them out of real dogs?

@: Dog cookies aren't made from dogs, they're made from things dogs like.

Me: But apple pies are made from apples, not things apples like. 

@: Just make them out of cat poo. Dogs like cat poo, especially Butchie.

Me: Eeeeew, that sounds pretty gross. 

@: But it's funny too, right?

Me: Yep, it's gross and funny.

@: Oh, and it has to be really fresh so the dogs are attracted by the smell.

 It's official. I've been verbally one-upped by a six-year-old.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Don't Need a Leaf Blower...

I asked for one thing out loud this holiday season. And I got it. In fact, @ tested it out and it blew away my expectations. OK, not exactly. It blew away the leaves in my front yard. Yes, I am now the proud owner of a leaf blower.

Maybe it's the editor thing, but I make a clear distinction between the terms need and want. And that's a good thing to teach @ when he proclaims a deep abiding neeeeeeeeeeed for 17 different things in 34 minutes at Target.

Truth be told, I don't need a leaf blower. And I'd never buy it for myself. But I wanted one. I have a lot of rocks in the landscaping of my yard. It makes things easier. And while the novelty of it lasts, I have a very small, but determined gardener to "help."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sticky Situations

Things are well-fastened at my house.

An elaborate system of bungee cords connects doors to one another so that "you need to know the unlocking secret" to enter a room.

Fear of being tangled like a helpless fly prompted me to remove the ones strung between doors in the hallway. Forgetting the web in the middle of the night could leave me as bait for the dreaded bungee spider.

Various arrangements of electrical- and duct-tape striping code the orange cones I once used to coach soccer practices. The coding has something to do with guiding guests through the house vs. women in cleats around a soccer field. I've received the explanation a few times. Next time I should probably take notes.

And we just had a long series of one-page bedtime stories from The Jumbo Duct Tape Book, immediately preceded by a conversation along the lines of "No, we don't really duct tape dogs and horses." (A conversation to which Luke paid rapt attention in the hopes that the message would resonate clearly with @.) One hundred pages down, 329 to go. My eyes started crossing at page 78.

All of this is very serious business to @.

My first inclination as the "aha!" expression creeps across his face as he lunges for his tape-laden backpack is "Wait, stop, no!" But watching the scenarios unroll is fairly fascinating and I have to remind myself that as long as no dog, mom, child, or piece of furniture is harmed, it's all good fun.

Unless there really is such thing as bungee spider.
And I forget to unweb the hallway.
In which case, I'm basically screwed.

P.S. Dear Mom and Al, Thanks for the plethora of industrial-grade fastening devices now festooning my humble abode. Should the bungee spider be real -- well...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Solstice Walk

smell of woodsmoke and wet leaves,
feel of brisk air and misty rain,
dark of evening masking suburbia
as i walk on the evening of solstice

There are plenty of holidays to keep everyone amused this time of year. But for me, winter solstice has the most meaning. This is the longest night. Tomorrow the nights will get shorter, the days will stretch longer bit-by-bit. It marks a turning point that doesn't have retail mania and free shipping.

The leaves have fallen, the nights are darker, and so many things are seemingly in stasis waiting for their next act. And that next act is rebirth, growth, reaching for the sun. It may look like everything is dead, brown, wilted, but there is plenty happening in preparation for the coming of spring. The rain is cleansing, removing the dust, restoring the damp to the ground.

I am not very different. This year has brought me many things. The arrival of fall marked many of them. As the leaves fell from the trees, I was uncovering aspects of myself that I had hidden or been unable to acknowledge. And walking in the rain is as much a metaphor as it is a physical sense of renewal.

I was a duck with one flat foot firmly nailed to the floor -- moving in circles. The scenery wasn't changing and I hadn't really noticed. I was too busy moving in my little circle, doing my daily deal, taking care of everything around me. Then the late summer sun glinted off that nail on that duck foot of mine. And I looked up and realized so much of the scenery was too familiar. And I looked down and saw the circular path I'd worn in the floor.


So I've set about using new tools to pry up that nail so I can remove myself from that circular groove and move forward. Maybe not in a straight line. The best journeys are those where you can experience the scenery, stop and take the side roads, meet the characters along the way, and remove the time-bound sense of "gotta get there." 

Some of these tools have surprised me -- they were always there and I just couldn't name them. I put too-specific meanings on words like spirituality and faith such that I couldn't use them. I released the words from that binding. Now, just being able to integrate those concepts and those words in a way that has meaning for me has created a new energy and a relief that I can't really describe.

I set that darn nail pretty well. I've always been thorough. Removing it is a process. But I have maps to guide me through the steps that will take me there.

Unlike before, I also know that I don't have to be little miss tough girl and do it all on my own. That admitting my own challenges takes more strength than combating them alone.

On this evening of the solstice, I have walked in the rain, smelled the woodsmoke, and found clarity in the cold air. And for me, that is celebration.