With Nana and Papa

With Nana and Papa
Family Times at Flathead Lake

Monday, June 27, 2016

End of June Update

Cotton is a summer precipitate in Colorado, catching sunlight as it lazes through our shade awnings, glowing like super-sized fireflies. The offspring of the cottonwood trees catches in low-slung, grassy cobwebs and forms a soft white trampoline for unlucky insects.  The drift of the seeds, the heat of the afternoons, inform us of summer's arrival.

With the demise of baseball our schedules have opened enough to allow for deep breaths, lazy afternoons of reading, lego-building and planning. We watch through streaked windows as the sun bleaches our back patio, droops the red geraniums in their pots, chases the cats from their favorite indoor hiding places to new, cooler locales in front of the AC vents.

Despite the languor of late June, summer's appearance has an edge. A house full of dirty socks and slightly bored offspring signals a lightning storm of flared tempers. In addition, the rapid pace of our first four weeks means that camps and other travel adventures sit like obstacles in front of me, and I have to maneuver quickly to scramble for babysitters, car rentals, and extra house keys. July 4th hovers, only a week out, like a faintly menacing UFO.

But swim team prelims are here, in conjunction with the swimming Olympic Trials - mercifully televised - and my stack of magazines and library books lies in wait for hours at the pool. Strong and tan, the kids quiver to chase down PR's and carbo-load with friends, and I write to preserve these moments, the best part of the summer.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Blackjack

An ode to our black 7-month-old kitten, Blackjack.



Blackjack

Slinky stinky kitty
Curls around corners,
Bony backside swaying,
Big black ears pricked over
Balding brows.
Scanning for toys, which he
Pursues with loping sideways gallop,
Back end heedless of front,
Five pound cat like a herd of horses.

Kitty scarfs down kibble,
Steals food from older brother in
Frantic inhale of protein and air.
When relaxed, his under-tail
Releases sulfurous farts.
Amid chorus of moans his lifted head
Surveys room with eyes like
Green-gold marbles,
Falls asleep again
Disappears in the dark.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Summer Funnies

A few summer funnies to brighten your day:

"I can't WAIT to color-coordinate my socks to the days of the week!"
- Daniel on arriving home from Target with new socks and underwear.


"Mom, was Queen Elizabeth after Henry VII?"
- "Yes, she was his daughter."
"Wow! And she's STILL the Queen!"
- "What? No, that's a different Queen Elizabeth...."
- Conversation between Daniel and me after reading the back of Aden's historical novel.



"I can't remember why I walked into this room."
"Maybe if I went out and came back in again."
"Great, now I can't remember why I walked into THIS room!"
- Garfield, by Jim Davis, 6/13/16


And some truly happy news to light up your Thursday; our new niece and cousin, Mae Patricia Clavadetscher, was born on Flag Day! Mom Pam and baby are healthy and headed home. Sending much love their way :-).

Monday, June 6, 2016

Acccelerando

Riffing off the idea of summer rhythms, I think it's fair to say that our weekend took things up-tempo. We accelerated into the two-day marathon with the arrival of Bill and Connie, who braved the two long days of driving from Ohio to watch a swim meet and four baseball games. Throw in a bar mitzvah, birthday party, and Sunday brunch and you get the idea.

While William warmed up for his baseball game I took a hike up the bluffs just south of Ridgegate Drive. Not only is the exit new, but the thousands of homes marching up the base of the bluffs shine with fresh spit and polish, as well. Climbing a dirt path several hundred feet up, my sandals freed me from the ballfield for a whole forty-five minutes, while I turned my attention to the bright red-orange of Indian paintbrush and the sweet lilting call of the meadowlark.  The air smelled sweeter, and the grasses were soft with seeded heads. I turned my back on the view of DTC and downtown Denver, and pretended I was in the mountains.

The short hike reminded me of Leath Tonino's interview of Craig Childs in the June issue of The Sun. An extreme hiker, backpacker and outdoorsman, Childs says, "I often go backpacking in the canyonlands of southern Utah. In that place you're constantly touching rock:you're climbing; you're picking up rocks and running your fingers over them. Maybe three weeks into one of my rips I noticed that my fingerprints were gone. I had worn my fingertips smooth from so much contact with abrasive sandstone. It felt liberating. I had no identity." (The Sun, Issue 486, pg,10).  Nature as eraser, liberator, freedom fighter.

We had a wonderful visit with Bill and Connie and look forward to seeing Rob's Aunt Jennifer tomorrow. Looking forward to more hikes amidst the ballgames, more outdoor time with all the family. And, speaking of The Sun, here is the promised link to the Reader's Write page on Swimming. My entry is third down. Cheers!
Swimming - The Sun

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Summer Rhythms

Low-hanging clouds obscure the sun this morning and a fine mist lingers in the air. Our geraniums shake off the raindrops from last night's storm, which conveniently descended after our trip downtown to the Rockies game. Two home runs in the first inning last night, hard-hit meteors which descended gracefully toward our cheap seats in the "Rock Pile." The ballgame was a finale to a standard-setting first weekend of summer: yardwork, barbeques, visits with family and friends, our first swim meet.

Without further ceremony or preparation, summer is here. No lunches to make, homework to check, backpacks to fill; we've swapped them for swim bags,towels, goggles and sunscreen. Our mornings are a shuffle of different practices and routine chores flung out of order, bewildered cats galloping up and down the hallways, in shock at the number of people at home. Heads and pillows smell like chlorine, my favorite perfume, and tans will soon start to show strap marks and goggle lines.

Fittingly, my short piece on Swimming has appeared in the June issue of The Sun, in the Reader's Write section. That's a step up from a letter to the Editor and some lengthy distance short of a short story, but a timely stride in the right direction. I'll post the online link when the June issue goes up on the website; in the meantime, I am enjoying my two extra copies of the magazine and a free year's subscription - my first payment.

Time to do some writing while the big kids are a-bed and the little one works out at the pool. I'm desperate to make writing a part of this crazy summer schedule, and we'll see how things unfold.