August 7, 2010

A Visit to the Grocery Store

That sounds like a picture book title, and that visit may actually lead to a picture book.

While I wandering through the dairy section, I overheard a little girl ask her mother a question about brown eggs. I won't repeat the question because I want to save it for a writing project, but it showed the girl's imagination. Her mother smiled and answered honestly. The question and answer routine gave me an idea, which led to some research, which led to an even better idea.

Another bonus to this shopping trip was a surprise meeting with someone I used to teach with. He and his daughter were buying supplies for her eighth grade year. When I last saw them, she was moving into first grade.

I didn't get everything on my shopping list but I went home with a smile because of two wonderful surprises.

August 4, 2010

Summer Colds, Basement Skeletons and a Red Pickup

I woke up yesterday morning with no voice, no energy, and a tight feeling in my throat, attacked by a summer cold. I love everything about summer--the heat, the humidity, the loose time structure of each day (a carryover from the summer freedom from school schedules), and a cold in the midst of summer bliss is just not right. Colds are meant for the winter, when it's COLD. Something's off kilter when it's hot and sunny outdoors and one must view it from inside, surrounded by cough syrup, Kleenex, and Zicam. Books and DVD's and a knitting project vie to take my attention away from preoccupation with my respiratory misery, but what I really want to do is get outside and rescue the garden from the newest crop of weeds and wayward grasses that have grown up after the latest rain. As I hack and sputter indoors, they grow and travel over and around and across whatever might still be surviving in the August heat. I long to be outside with them! In the meantime, I'm sure Peter is enjoying my silence. I'd be wise to use this quiet time to meditate or work on my next writing project, another historical novel for young readers, but I've never made any claim to wisdom. It's much more satisfying for now to grumble!

A monarch enjoys one zinnia arising from the weeds.

A honey bee finds a juicy marigold.

Buddha's serene, weeds or no weeds.

As I play host to a summer cold upstairs, the basement languishes in its skeletal state below me. Its 2x4 bones have yet to be fleshed out, although we're entertaining bids for the job. Now that we've gone through the worst part--the winnowing and throwing out--we're taking our time in getting things back to a habitable state down there. For now, we're content to have a working laundry facility and convenient access to the back yard (where all the weeds are). We're in no hurry to reopen our vast storage area because we now know what happens when you have a lot of storage. It gets filled with stuff--ours, theirs, everyone's. One good thing has come from this massive clean-out and re-do--one office will move down there, thus making a more utilitarian use of the space and also relieving one room upstairs to be a true guest room. Right now, any person who dares spend a night with us must squeeze onto the futon that fills the entire space of my office when opened. Not comfortable nor very private. The question now is: will it be Peter's office that goes below, or mine?

In the midst of cleaning up and out, our Honda had some repair issues, which set us to wondering how long the '95 Accord (190,000 miles) would be in good enough health for us to keep. We've been a one-car family for almost two years and have managed to juggle our schedules and accommodate one another enough to make it work. However, what would happen if the Honda died? As we pondered that possibility, our mechanic mentioned that he had a Chevy pickup for sale and would we be interested. We were, especially when he told us the price. So now we have a little red pickup. Although we have room for it in the basement, it seemed more practical to park it in the driveway.