Sunday, February 28, 2010

As I found them

Often, as I'm walking through the house, I'll come across something the kids have been playing with, and have left to go do something else. Most of the time, the kids aren't there to explain what it was, so one just has to wonder what they were playing when they made these creations...

I can't help but wonder... is he breathing fire? Is it a speech bubble, and he's warning the other dinosaurs about the coming comet?

I'm not sure about this one, either, but I'm sure it would make a pretty good children's story.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fiona wants to know....

...what this symbol means:

She found it on the lid to a jar of applesauce. She said I could look it up on the internet (the source of all answers, obviously!) but I haven't had any luck so far. Maybe you know?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Being Amazing

Deborah and I watched Julie & Julia the other night. If you haven't seen it, do: It's a very sweet, funny movie, and very well worth your time. For those who haven't seen it, it's the parallel stories of a bored diplomat's wife in Paris (Julia Child) who learns French cooking as something to keep her occupied, and a frustrated writer/government secretary (Julie Powell) who decides to work through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year, and blog about the process.

In both lives, separated by many decades, there's the question, What should I do with myself? and the relatively straightforward answer, What do you want to do? What are you good at? Each attacks the challenge with gusto.

It's a question that hits close to home, for nearly everyone, but also here. Deborah, especially, has been vacillating on the question of what to do with herself. My weak admonition — usually on my way out the door — is "Be amazing."

Of course, that gets interpreted in various ways. I leave it open-ended: washing all the dishes is amazing; so is calling up friends to organize a get-together, trying new recipes, teaching Fiona to play the piano. They all count. The stuff that doesn't count? It's the stuff that fills up most of our time in between planned activities — little games, Facebook, idle clicking through channels, blogging (no!), things that don't advance the cause of anything. Now, don't get me wrong — we all need down time. But we need up time, too. How many of us while away the hours and never go do something amazing? I know I'm guilty.

Be amazing.

I wish it were that easy.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 9:10

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Wild Irises

Love should grow up like a wild iris in the fields,
unexpected, after a terrible storm, opening a purple
mouth to the rain, with not a thought to the future,
ignorant of the grass and the graveyard of leaves
around, forgetting its own beginning.
Love should grow like a wild iris
but does not.

Love more often is to be found in kitchens at the dinner hour,
tired out and hungry, lingers over tables in houses where
the walls record movements, while the cook is probably angry,
and the ingredients of the meal are budgeted, while
a child cries feed me now and her mother not quite
hysterical says over and over, wait just a bit, just a bit,
love should grow up in the fields like a wild iris
but never does
really startle anyone, was to be expected, was to be
predicted, is almost absurd, goes on from day to day, not quite
blindly, gets taken to the cleaners every fall, sings old
songs over and over, and falls on the same piece of rug that
never gets tacked down, gives up, wants to hide, is not
brave, knows too much, is not like an
iris growing wild but more like
staring into space
in the street
not quite sure
which door it was, annoyed about the sidewalk being
slippery, trying all the doors, thinking
if love wished the world to be well, it would be well.

Love should
grow up like a wild iris, but doesn't, it comes from
the midst of everything else, sees like the iris
of an eye, when the light is right,
feels in blindness and when there is nothing else is
tender, blinks, and opens
face up to the skies.

— Susan Griffin