Tuesday, July 26, 2016

365 | beetles and eggs and blues and bells and eggs

Monday 4 July 2016, Independence Day | My grandma loves this holiday. She's not particularly patriotic, but man does she love fire works and barbecues. Grandma had everything prepared when I got off work, but Wolfman did the grilling and the lighting of explosives. He didn't eat sitting outside on the deck with Grandma, Sierra, me, and the kids. He sat at the kitchen table, watching us through the window. I love everything about him, everything useful, everything wild, everything persnickety.
Tuesday 5 July 2016 | I had no idea these would be the last mannequins I'd dress at my little shop. I never got around to posting them on Facebook or Instagram, but I have this photo for myself and this space at least.
Thursday 7 July 2016 | Wolfman and I took the kids out to the new splash park in Fuquay-Varina. Ella felt a little iffy about the whole venture, but when I asked her to pose in the jets for a photo she did so, squinting at me with the tight, funny little smile you see in this photo. She thinks I'm a little crazy, but she indulges me anyways.
Friday 8 July 2016 | Unemployment, Day 1. Even after those years of dancing en pointe, I still had pretty(ish) feet until this year. So many shopgirl months of wearing orthopedic shoes have splayed my already-long toes and flattened (and widened?) my feet a bit. I love my naked gorilla feet, though. I usually see a lot of them in the summer (and the fall, and the winter up until we get ice), but I'll see even more of them summer. I've got no job and no reason to put on shoes.
Saturday 9 July 2016 | On my first day of unemployment, I lounged by a pool and talked for hours with my husband and a friend, Kathy. Unemployment Day 2: I made it out to the Apex Farmer's Market with my menfolk and ate not-incredibly-impressive food truck dumplings. What a pleasure and privilege. Were it not for the lack of pay, unemployment would be a breeze.
Monday 11 July 2016 | The pteranodons at the Museum of Natural Sciences look a lot different from the ones on Dinosaur Train. Today is my mother's 52nd birthday.
Tuesday 12 July 2016 | Took the kiddos to The Cary for Film Day Fun Day. Our brave little creatures were among the first to leave their parents' side and take advantage of that big ol' play mat.
Wednesday 13 July 2016 | We didn't make it out to the actual sea shore until 6 pm, where I spent a stressful hour trying to keep Mads from floating off to sea like a merman. Then, back in the car and home. New decree on the drive in the dark to our waiting, woeful old dog: no more day trips to the beach. We spend the night, or we don't go at all.
Thursday 14 July 2016 | We've reached that point in summer in which being outside is no longer an option. Trying to keep 3-year-olds occupied indoors is tricky, however. I made moon sand today, which the terrible two played with properly for perhaps 15 minutes before starting to literally toss it up in the air and then roll in it, like dogs.
Friday 15 July 2016 | Watermelon Salad: watermelon, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro (or mint or basil), feta, lime juice, drizzle of olive oil. Yum.
Saturday 16 July 2016 | When I was pregnant with him, the midwives always said the same thing at our appointments: it's an active, happy baby. He hasn't stopped being either of those things.
Sunday 17 July 2016 | I'm not sure when this happened. It's always so sudden.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Garden Update | she's pretty as a daisy, but look out man she's crazy

I am quickly becoming a crazy plant lady.  Point-in-case: in the newlywed bungalow, one of our little kittens (Birgitte, the pretty one) ate my first Venus Fly Trap, and I told her calmly but unhappily, "The truth is, I liked the plant more than I like you, so this is a problem." 1. It is crazy to talk to one's cat (maybe). 2. It is crazy to love a plant more than a mammal, particularly one as pretty as Birgitte. I only tell this unflattering story because it was a hint to my future as a crazy plant lady (and my future even beyond that of becoming a less fit Poison Ivy, obviously). 

Because they are such a big part of my life and habits, and because they have brought me a greater sense of joy in these past stressful weeks than almost anything else (besides, you know, my loving husband and beautiful son, or whatever), here's an update on some horticultural happenings around these parts.
Succulents are magical--if you break a leaf or stem, just stick it in dirt and wait for new growth.
After admiring the Corylus Walking Sticks at a local nursery, Grandma ordered one for me through the post. I thought perhaps it was a dud (that Grandma had paid the cost of the plant and shipping only for me to be watering a curly stick stuck in a pot of dirt), but suddenly last week, leaves appeared.
My Pitcher Plants were looking a little brown and sad in the kitchen, so I moved them out to the (very) damp front porch. Still some brown, but quite a bit new growth.
I've had this Pothos for over three years. A couple months ago, I began training it to wrap around the kitchen window, and now I am just one step closer to living in a proper witch cottage.
I've not had much luck with growing avocados from pits in the past, but this one was already split when I ate the fruit.
The beginning of our autumn garden, lettuce and spinach.
Beetles love the okra.
Our zucchini is not doing incredibly well this year. It produced, overnight, one miraculous, giant squash (with which I made my favorite chocolate chip cookies) and then went into some kind of hibernation.
Okra flower.
Finally got around to pruning the Purple Heart Wandering Jew that had grown so leggy in my kitchen. It is mind-bogglingly easy to propagate this plant. So, be warned: everyone I know is getting a Purple Heart for Christmas.

Never-posted photos from this past Spring & Winter:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

365 | I wanna live where the sun comes out

Monday 20 June 2016, Summer Solstice | Grandma tells me that out at a garden center of one of the area hardware stores, in front of a display of heavy duty insecticides that boast "kills over 500 species of bugs," she begins complaining, loudly, "What are the birds supposed to eat? What are the turtles supposed to eat?" Spent much of the solstice sitting in Grandma's back yard with Sierra and the kids while Grandma dug in her little garden. Sioux Bea, her leggy, tawny mutt, found a turtle under the fig tree and excitedly bounded up and down, barking, and nipping at its shell. It hid for as long as we watched it, until we weren't watching it anymore and then, undoubtedly, disappeared as quickly as it appeared. Stumbling upon turtles (and usually it is the dogs who do the stumbling--and barking, and nipping) is among my favorite mundane bits of summer magick.
Tuesday 21 June 2016 | I miss putting my baby to bed on days when I close the shop, but I do savor these morning hours spent with my menfolk. Wolfman cut the front lawn with the push mower this morning, and I sat on the front step with a cup of coffee and watched him, ready with the glass of ice water for him. I watched Mads trail behind his dad with his toy mower and was very much in love.
Wednesday 22 June 2016 | Mads and I woke in the morning and went outside to check on our vegetables. I tried to set up the sprinkler, which resulted in my boy and me, running and shrieking through the yard in our pajamas, soaked. Not the right kind of sprinkler for the job. Mads loves watering the plants--he tells me zombies are hiding in the stalks and he has to spray them. He loves watering the garden so much, that when it's time to turn off the water, a fit always results.
Thursday 23 June 2016 | When I'm particularly impatient and exasperated with my kid, I find that if I just stop what I'm doing and listen to him, his requests are actually very simple and pretty delightful. Take today, for instance, when all he wanted was for me to help him cover his arms in stickers, like tattoo sleeves.
Friday 24 June 2016 | My baby will be three in just a little over a month. He won't be so much "my baby" anymore as "my kid". We've let him be wild so far. If he wants to be shirtless, we help him peel off his shirt. If he wants to clown at the dinner table, we laugh at his antics. If he wants to scream and howl, we scream and howl with him; we chase him around the house on hands and knees; Wolfman wrestles with him and tosses him onto the sofa. But soon, we'll have to socialize him, potty train him, civilize him, learn him some manners, get him to sit through one whole library story-time without bolting out the door. In the mean time, we're doing a lot of Bubba-ing. It's summer time, after all.
Sunday 26 June 2016 | Mads plays the trumpet. Long before getting pregnant, I pictured myself with as future mom to a little boy, a little boy with long hair sitting in a tree, a nature boy.
Monday 27 June 2016 | I don't get a lot of time to myself these days--just my lunch breaks, really, which are spent surrounded by strangers and their echoing voices at the mall. I sat by the carousel today and read Faerie Magazine, drank canned coconut water. Listened to the music filtering vaguely--from where?--and thought that even though Coldplay has become The Soundtrack to Your Mall Experience, Parachutes was a really important part of my musical upbringing, one of the first albums I fell really hard in love with. I probably bought that CD here, at this mall, at the Sam Goody that used to be across from where this carousel sits now.
Tuesday 28 June 2016 | Has North Carolina been declared an official Rain Forest yet?
Wednesday 29 June 2016 | Wolfman found this little guy while he was weed-whacking around the garden. I carried him to the pond behind our yard with Mads to let him go. I wouldn't have known this was a snapping turtle, had my husband not told me, pointing out the ridge on his shell. I hope this little guy makes it, lives to be huge and scaled and fierce. The back pond his haunted by these shelled dinosaurs, and I respect their right to be there by not dangling my toes or fingers in the water.
Thursday 30 June 2016 | My friend Kath knit this little tiger for my baby and sent it to us around his first birthday. Wolfman and I are the ones who began calling him Hobbes, and perhaps because we named him, making him special of all Martigan's toys, Mads took a liking to him. Mads does not get particularly attached to toys, not for periods longer than a day or two, but he still asks for Hobbes by name every once in a while, as I tuck him into bed. Today, when Mads and Ella stole a bottle of sunscreen from the hall bathroom, they rubbed all over themselves, a couple library books, and Hobbes. He got his first bath today, and though I worried about a loose stitch in one of his legs, he survived.
Saturday 2 July 2016 | Old man. He is never loved and adored enough. If he wrote a memoir, that's the story he would tell.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Madmartigan, 2 Years Old | one day, you'll be looking out your window when something wonderful comes your way

About Mads, 2 Years 11 Months Old:

  • Wolfman's mama taught Mads how to give a thumbs up. It's so dorky and so adorable.
  • When Mads and Ella find poop in the back yard, they stop everything and announce the fact until an adult scoops it.
  • Mads reads along to Little Blue Truck with me at bed time; he's memorized nearly the entire thing.
  • Everything in his hands is a potential grappling hook or "bat line"--it's the Batman effect.
  • He plays at going pee on the toilet, sitting and making a "pssss" sound with his mouth, but at this point he does not actually use the potty.
  • Mads is becoming more engaged than ever at the public library preschool story time (to which we go once a week), but he still will not participate in the songs and dances (though he'll sing the songs at home).
  • Mads says, "Do you guys smell that? It smells like Joker."
  • Mads pantomimes fighting the Joker.
  • Mads and Ella are very color aware. Everything they experience, they describe by its placement on the rainbow. Ella, however, is more insistent on the gender specifications of certain colors; specifically, she insists, pink and purple are girl's colors. (And she continues to insist this fact no matter how many times Wolfman and I tell her, "all colors belong to all people; there's no such thing as a girl's color or a boy's color.") When Ella's not around, Mads might tell me, "Oh, no, that's Ella's" if I pull the purple plate out of the cabinet at lunch time, but he's more willing to "bend the rules" than Ella.
  • Mads says, "I got to drive my wife."
  • He calls all spiders "Itsy Bitsy."
  • He wants me to join him in all things--eating cookies, taking vitamins, watching Scooby Doo.
  • Whereas Ella takes after me (and, I know, her mother, and so probably, our mother) and needs time in the mornings to wake (in which she sits on the sofa quietly and only grumpily if bothered, wrapped in a blanket), Mads wakes in the morning WIDE OPEN--with noise and energy.
  • Favorite shows and movies: Cars, Tarzan
  • Favorite books: Can I Come Too?, Your Alien
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