Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Friendly Beasts

I have officially arrived into the Christmas season with Songs for Christmas by Sufjan Stevens.  This version of The Friendly Beasts has been known to make my brother cry and now it is making me cry too.  Enjoy.

Friday, November 23, 2012

How to kill a boxelder bug

I really enjoy the poetry of Bill Holm.  When we first moved to the rolling prairies, I discovered his books of poetry and essays at an area library.  He is a local writer, the descendant of Icelandic immigrant farmers, so the section was well-stocked.

I recently re-checked out one of his first books I became acquainted with: Boxelder Bug Variations: A Meditation on an Idea in Language and Music.  Oh, how it makes me laugh!  I had forgotten.  Boxelder bugs are a common, harmless pest that over-winter in Minnesota homes (though I never really saw them until moving to the southwest part of the state).  I have a tender-spot for them because of this book.

There is a Borealis family legend that tells of Squeeze's great-grandma, Mammy, being so disgusted by boxelder bugs that one fall that she poured gasoline over a large cluster of them on the trunk of a boxelder, killing the bugs, but also the poor tree.

So in honor of Mammy, I offer this poem.


                                                             Take two bricks.
                                                             Creep deliberately up
                                                             Behind the boxelder bug,
                                                             Being careful not to sing --
                                                             This will alert him.
                                                             In a graceful flowing gesture,
                                                             Something like a golf swing
                                                             Or reaching for your lover in the dark,
                                                             Gather up the boxelder bug
                                                             On the surface of the left brick
                                                             Bringing the right brick
                                                             At the same time firmly down
                                                             Together with the left brick.
                                                             There will be a loud crashing,
                                                             Like broken cymbals,
                                                             Maybe a breaking of brick, and
                                                             If you are not careful,
                                                             Your own voice rising.
                                                             When the brick dust has settled
                                                             And you have examined your own hands,
                                                             You will not see the boxelder bug.
                                                             There is a small hole in the brick
                                                             And he is exploring it,
                                                             Calmly, like a millionaire
                                                             In an antique shop.

         ~ Bill Holm
            Boxelder Bug Variations

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sometimes it is just so hard

Today is beautiful, sunny and in the upper-50's F, so I gave the older boys a choice for quiet-time while "the baby" napped.  Upstairs with books, or outside playing. 

They decided to play outside, which I think was a smart choice (duh!), but they begged for me to come and sit outside to watch them play. 

Their quiet-time is my quiet-time too, and the only time I have alone day or night, since I've been going to bed and getting up at the same time as them.  As much as I love these boys, I need my space.  I need that meager hour of QT in the afternoons.  I need the silence and solitude.  It is like a balm to my brain and soul.

I did go outside on the front step to hang diapers to dry while they transitioned from inside to out.  It was lovely and warm with that crisp fall scent in the air.  Diego bobbled around, looking for boxelder bugs, but Truen stuck close to me and regaled me with an endless minutiae of questions about plants and seeds.  So adorable, of course . . . but after 10 minutes my mind was buzzing and all I could think of was escape.

His string of questions included, "Remember those balls with seeds in them?  Where did they go?", "Remember when I planted them?", "Here's my special plant, do you see it?", "Will my plant grow as big as Diego?", "Where did Diego's plant go?", "The hen-and-chick, yeah -- where did it go?", "Will Diego's plant grow as big as Diego?", etc.

I tried to keep up with it as best I could until I realized I needed an escape and put an end to it after the second or third straight question of, "Will ____ grow as big as Diego?".  I finally very gently said, "Uhm, Truen?  Remember that this is my quiet-time too . . ."

"I know," he said good-naturedly, "but I just wanted to talk to you."

Heart-stab.  Of course he just wanted to talk to me.  Most of my morning was spent in the kitchen putting together a salmon chowder and a BBQ beef for the slow-cooker and keeping Jamie satisfied.  I hardly saw either of the older boys all morning while they played hard, enmeshed in their world of make-believe. 

Of course he wanted to talk to me.

It is moments like these when I think, "What kind of a mother am I?"  Seriously.  What kind of a mother am I??  And while I am able to see the larger picture, and I do know that I am not hard-hearted or even unusual in my short-comings or inabilities, my heart was pricked by his sweet desire to converse with me. 

It is so hard to be human.  I never used to think about that, I don't think.  I liked to complain about my slavery to the 40-hour work-week or how busy I was in school, but I'm not sure I ever felt so depleted as I do now.  Mothering is so intense, sucking the very marrow from our bones.  It doesn't matter if the well is dry or whether "I have it in me" . . . because all these little people need me, all the time.  They need my attention, affection, eyes, ears, hands, heart, mind.  My everything.  And they deserve my best.  But it is just so. hard.  Overwhelming.  All-encompassing.

{And I love them}

Friday, November 16, 2012

Two weeks later...

A list-post is the only thing that will do.
  • I haven't left the house more than a handful of times for the last month and a half.  I am going stir-crazy.  This is probably good, meaning that I have some of my interest in life and liberty coming back, but . . . I'm still really tired.  Going somewhere only appeals to me as an emotional outlet.  Otherwise, it is just too hard.  Tired.
  • Even the boys are begging to go somewhere.
  • I am 12 weeks.  
  • Twelve weeks and starting to feel a bit more energy flowing through my veins, but...
  • I still get really sleepy in the afternoons.  And I am completely tied and bound to food.  Getting hungry sends me in a downward spiral, and fast.  So "like usual" only way worse.
  • I can't believe I get to have a newborn again next summer.  I was re-reading about newborns from my pregnancy book last night with the insight of an experienced mother.  It made me smile and coo and squeal a little bit.  I can't wait to savor those first few days, weeks, months.
  • There have been a lot of inquiries about our pregnancy, asking, "I thought you were done...?"  Heh.  And so we thought.  But things got a little murky at the end of August and here we are.  I couldn't be more thrilled, just to be able to do it all one last time.  It makes me so happy.  Squeeze is happy too, feeling like it must be "meant to be".  He has said that he is excited about it with the exception of "all the work".  Always practical, that Squeeze of mine.  And what a lot of work it is.  Especially combined with manhandling 15 acres into submission and maintaining two large gardens.

Gotta go.  That's all she wrote para el día.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Annual Pumpkin Picture

If this series isn't positive proof that we need Squeeze HERE while taking pictures, I don't know what is.  I couldn't get them to hold still or look at me at the same time.  Sheeeeeeeeesh.  We ran out of time on the weekend we carved them and it is too dark to take pictures by the time he gets home from work.  I wanted pictures before the pumpkins started to mold and rot, thus the solo attempt.

I carved Jamie's cute little guy and Squeeze carved the boys' pumpkins based off their specific instructions.  They picked their pumpkins out on our outing to "Pumpkin Fest" (though Truen ended up using the one good one from our own garden vs. the lop-sided mammoth that he had picked out).

Pumpkin Pictures: 2011, 2009, 2008