Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorable Memorial Day

Not really so memorable, just calm, relaxing, peaceful, productive. Work very kindly gave us Friday as an extra bonus, so I've been off for four whole days, a kind of mini vacation. What a luxury. It's a big change to work five days a week; even after a year I'm not used to it. Plus this weekend the weather was perfect the entire time. What more could you ask for?

When we were in Brooklyn last weekend the room we stayed in was very dark and we all slept a lot longer than we usually do -- it's a cacophony here, what with all the birds, although Brooklyn birds certainly do chirp a lot, too. Margaret our host happened to mention her room-darkening shades, which I sprung for in Cambridge but haven't had since, for some reason. I love them. As soon as we got home Dave got them for our three big windows and for Lily's skylight. It makes a difference.

Let's see -- Friday was Grandparents Day at Bement so my mom and Dave's showed up for Lily and had a great day, it sounds like. I told my mother that even as recent as a month ago Lily said she'd move back to Brooklyn tomorrow if she could. When she was at school, my mom talked briefly to the amazing Theresa Mullens, Lily's teacher, who has been saying all year that we have really thrown a lot at Lily this year, that we are really asking a great deal from her, in terms of moving here and then moving again, and two new schools, and all that.

She told this to my mom, too, and told her the story of Lily's first day: Lily saying to the class, "I was not consulted about moving to Hicksville" or some such word. Theresa said she had to leave the room to avoid cracking up in front of Lily and embarrassing her. My mom kinda got it, I think, how huge a change this has been for Lily, how lonely she's been for much of it, how much she misses her friends, and our apartment, and Brooklyn in general, and how she's had to adjust to a considerably new way of life here (maybe it's good we didn't go to Montreal).

Anyway, my mom asked Lily if she would move back to Brooklyn, and Lily said, she'd live one month here and one month there. And then she said, two months here. And then she said, what was it, no, she wouldn't. I think it's going to be okay. But it's been painful for her, I know.

She's so grown up now, so leggy and tall and pretty and stylish, so polite, and apologetic if she acts up or does something annoying. She's learned so much in school, academically and otherwise. I am so proud of her! And I hope she never tires of sitting in my lap.

While they were at Bement, Dave and I went for an extra-long hike around the Fitz Lake conservation area, the land behind our house. I'd never seen the meadow so we walked over to it. We saw a lot of scat, including some the Internet suggests was coyote, and some quite fresh moose, which is a bit more preferable than bear. We saw two snakes, one ribbon and maybe a garter. Using his memory and a book Dave was identifying wildflowers all over the place. We saw a lot of jack-in-the-pulpit, and we even have some right outside our kitchen window. We saw ladyslippers today, incidentally. Also bluets, star flowers, wild geranium, wild lilies of the valley, graywing, and lots of stuff I don't remember. Fun!

Saturday we went with the grandmas to the Paradise City Arts Festival, a biannual event that people all over the east coast look forward to. Then they took off and we went home and snoozed some more, me and Lily, and then showed Lily Groundhog Day, which she liked, and got: "Oh, he doesn't know how to love." BTW, I've discovered the trick to getting your kid to eat: Use those dinner trays with the compartments. She had rice in one, chicken in another, asparagus in a third, and when I said, there's nothing for the fourth little one, she said, I'll have apple. She ate it all, too. Yikes!

Sunday was busy. In the morning I went to the Y with Lily. She went into childcare, which she really likes, and I did my weights. Back home I showered and we ate lunch and rode our bikes to a nearby entrance to the conservation area. We rode over to the nearby Moose Lodge (no shit) where we met about 25 other people to hear our guide talk about wildflowers.

Lily didn't last too long but I'm really happy she wanted to go in the first place and she really wanted to ride bikes over there. I was nervous about riding on the very busy King Street but I talked to a friend who said what worked with her son was that he rode in between her and her husband and they played follow the leader. So we did that. Lily's pretty slow, and it was just me and her coming back, as we left early. But she did great! She's going to be a great bike rider. She said today, "I'm not so much of a runner, I'm more of a bike rider." I just love that she's trying new things and enjoying them. Then we went to Amherst for a friend's graduation from UMass bbq.

Today Dave and I cleaned house while Lily was at school (for a Memorial Day thing) and in the afternoon we hiked up Sugarloaf with her friend Ruth. That's the mountain in south Deerfield, not far from her school. The weather was gorgeous and we had lunch on the top, sitting on big piles of igneous rock in the sun, with the wind really strong. Dave was admiring the trees, how strong they were, how they just swayed in the gusts. "Think you could do that?" he asked me. "Just stand there swaying in the wind, for hours? If your ankles were buried?" Naw.

The view is of the whole valley -- this is where we went with Jenna and Harry after we had first moved here and it was so warm that January. Lovely! On the way home of course we had the required ice cream, and after we came home Dave and I snoozed on the lounge chairs on the screened-in porch while the kids played.

But then they were hot and I was feel re-energized, so I got them to wash my car. They started on the Subaru but petered out pretty quickly. I didn't get to the gerbils -- boy do they need cleaning -- but I washed my bathrooms today, did lots of laundry, and changed our sheets. Dave vaccuumed, and we had Ruth and her mom for a bbq. I actually, finally, made our family recipe for potato salad. And Dave liked it! All these years I thought he'd hate it because it has mayo and pickles. Go figure.

So now it's bedtime. Watch out for those suicidal robins -- anyone else have those? They fly right in front of my car, right at engine level. Oh, saw a rabbit tear off across King Street, was it yesterday? Really fast! She made it. Sat there looking at my car drive away.

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