Friday, November 23, 2012

thanksgiving week part three: blow your nose and be grateful

Everyone has a cold. Well, not everyone, only enough people that it feels like it is taking over.
I, for instance, am well. But the feeling of sickness is creeping up on me with every sneeze of this ghastly child, who, though picturesque in her red dress and combed hair, keeps coming up near me to afflict me with that which ails her. She rubs her nose on my arm or touches my hand with her germ soaked fingers. She sits very near me and then coughs in my face, sometimes gently, sometimes robustly. When she eats she has to stop and breath heavily in and out. And when she sits still, the noise of her puffing fills the whole space. As Fatty Lumpkin would say, "Ewwww". 
It seemed an interminable wait for dinner, on the very day of Thanksgiving.  Everyone sat around exhausted and waiting, having to watch the weird dancing singing and dancing of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and then after that, Football.

We've lately noticed that there can't be anything on TV without some kind of song attached. All the local PBS cartoons (which we sometimes watch on holidays) now have songs in them. Even Arthur. Gak.  So you can imagine how irritating it was to try to watch the parade, when there was actually no parade, but only "brief" numbers from Broadway Musicals which ended up not being nearly brief enough. But we watched anyway, because it is our Civic Duty. And also we all wanted to see Santa Clause.

Matt's mom set the table and did the flowers. She made little individual arrangements for each place setting and then five down the middle, with votive candles all down the center of the table. It was so pretty.

Very sensibly, she did all the flowers on Wednesday, and Matt did all his chopping. I, on the other hand, had various little temper tantrums about the fact that I had to do any work at all--like laundry and pies and bread. By the end of the day it occurred to me that while I had been wandering around in sweatpants shouting at children and complaining in my own mind, everyone else had been cheerfully industrious and that they had all done their work and were allowed to go to bed after a relaxing glass of wine. Whereas I, after taking the baby to the doctor for her Well Baby, would either have to stay up very late, or get up very early. After more fussing, I opted to get up very early.

The baby, by the way, is Very Well. She is fat (for us) and Very Tall (for us). She is in the 53rd percentile for height which makes her our Khloe Kardashian.She whined and moaned and eventually threw herself down on the floor screaming about having to be weighed and take off her shoes and socks and wait in the room and then, when it finally came about for her to have two terrifying (I thought they looked scary) injections, she didn't cry at all. She gazed narrow-eyed at the nurse and then picked in a desultory way at her Angry Bird Band-aid and shouted, "Mayiee, Baouwou", or, as it could be translated, "Mommy, Bottle."
Here she is with Marigold waiting and waiting and waiting for food. It seemed very hard to leave anything ON the table, like the water or the flatware. The water had to be poured on the floor six or seven times and then wiped up.
And also, the dollies had to be put on the table, even though they were supposed to be left to sit carefully against the wall. It was very hard to decide who should have the pink dolly and who should have the purple one.
For a short time, though, Marigold and Fatty Lumpkin felt that they would like to say "Cheese" very loudly and be photographed. And Elinor liked to grin in an awkwardly strange way, saying "cheese" for a long time. In the end, everyone over the age of 8 was glad not to have to eat with them, what with all the pouring of water and shouting and crumbling of food.
But Romulus and Gladys didn't mind. They sat to be photographed for a moment and then went back to lying around in the living room watching the excessive TV singing.
 The boys agreed to wear vests but not ties. Elphine really wanted them to wear their Sunday jackets and lobbied both me and them for a good 35 minutes before giving up and deciding that it didn't matter that much. I was just grateful that they sorted it out themselves.

And that's what the whole day is about, isn't it? Gratitude. Gratitude that we have so much more than enough. Gratitude that God has given us work to do that is fruitful and satisfying. Gratitude that Good Shepherd is thriving and deepening in faith and knowledge and love of God. Gratitude that our children are So healthy and curious and interesting. Gratitude that the table is so pretty and the food is so perfectly cooked. Gratitude that I can be married to a man who cooks the whole dinner while I whine about having to make A Whole Pie. Gratitude that his parents come all this way and do really lovely things like buy lots and lots of paper towels (what a luxury!) and wine and then tickle the babies and encourage Elphine to be the young lady longs to be.
And then finally, after a long day of eating and drinking and talking, I was grateful to sit down.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

thanksgiving week part two: my sermon last night

1 Chronicles 16:34
Oh Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

We memorized this verse this year, I and my kids, in a little ring of verses. The whole ring starts with 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth'  and goes through for 74 verses. We get to this one as we're flipping along and I say 'OH' and wait for everyone to fill in the rest. 
to the LORD for he is GOOD
and that's where I always stop and say to myself, 'well, that's the crux of the matter, isn't it'.
We have to say out loud, God is Good, because deep in our immortal souls, we don't really believe it. As my kids are whining through the ring, 
why do we have to memorize these verses right now?
can I have an apple?
when are we going to do something fun?
when are we going to have lunch and candy?
as I whine my way through my own day
why can't my kids do what I say the first time?
I don't feel like doing seven loads of laundry.
I don't know why so and so had to ask me to do such and such.
Oh man, I wish I didn't have to put six kids in the car and go to the bank.
we're no better than Eve on that day so long ago, that cool green beautiful day, in that cool garden where all was rest and light and God was there. There, in that place of joy and comfort and beauty, as Satan's breath curled its way around the corners of her mind, Eve doubted that God was good. Eve looked around at everything she had been given, everything she had, she looked at Adam, she looked at her garden and she said to herself, God must not be good, God has held something back from me, God hasn't given me everything that I need, he doesn't want me to have this thing over here, this fruit. He is not Good. I'm not going to trust him.

But that is a lie. 
Eve traded the beauty and goodness of God's provision for a lie.
And we, every day, sometimes every moment of some days, trade the Goodness of God for the lie that he is not enough, that we do not have enough, that what he has given us is not enough, that the beauty that surrounds us is not good, that the lovely people that surround us are not lovely, that the unlovely people can be trusted to God, that the work that comes to our hands is outside the providence of God, that the things that we do need, God will not provide for, that by anxious toil and fretting we might gain something better than God and his love for us. We, not seeing a beautiful cool garden all around us, but sin and destruction and eventually death, very easily trade in the truth of God's goodness, for the lie that we are good, that our own way and our own provision is better.

But even this is accounted for and prepared for by God, who is, whatever we happen to believe or feel about him, good. 
He says, not just in 1st Chronicles 16:34, but all over the psalms and in many and varied ways throughout the entirety of Scripture, 
he says, 'OH Give Thanks to the Lord'
Say thank you to the Lord.
When you rise up, and when you lay down.
When you get in your car and when you find a parking space.
When you cook your dinner and when you eat it.
When you make preparation for Christmas and when you forget and loose your list. 
When things go well, and when things go badly.
When someone hurts you and offends you and when they love and care for you.
When you are sick and well.
Give thanks to the Lord
For he is good.
And then we have some proof. How do we know that he is good. In what way is he primarily good?
For his steadfast love endures forever.
Nothing that we know and see and touch and taste and look at lasts forever. I have six children and so some of the things I love last even less time than a day, certainly not a life time. My inheritance, from my grandmother, comprises some lovely carved giraffes from East Africa. In my mind, they should last forever. But every day, as my children and pets careen through the living room, shouting and banging into everything, and they teeter on the top shelf, I await anxiously the day of their destruction. 
God's steadfast love isn't like that. It can't be shattered.
It can't be injured by your cold and indifferent attitude.
It can't be made to be sometimes steadfast but other times wavering by you forgetting to pray or choosing not to attend to the scriptures. It IS steadfast, and it does endure forever. It will go on after you have died. It will go on whether or not your dinner comes out the way you intended. It will go on if you loose your job or take a pay cut or have your house flooded or get sick.
In the face of all these bad things that both happen to us and that sometimes we choose, God is good, his steadfast love endures forever.
And this steadfast love came to a perfect culmination, a perfect conclusion, a true, most haunting, most beautiful answer to Eve in the garden, to us in our sin, to us in our complaining and lack, in the face of Jesus, on the cross, who looked at his father, in the place of death and suffering and pain, and did not say, You are not enough. I choose my own way. No, not in a beautiful garden where everything is lovely and peaceful, but on a hard and splintery and agonizing cross, Jesus looked at his father and said, You are good, your steadfast love endures forever, I will do your will.
If ever we have a moment to say Thank you, to bless God, to praise him, it is at this moment on the cross where he gathered up everything and accounted for it, provided for it. His steadfast love endures, it comes through trial, it can take it. 
So, Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.

Monday, November 19, 2012

thanksgiving week part one: the DOG has landed

Matt's parents are here for Thanksgiving (So Exciting!) and they have brought with them their dog, Levee, who was long ago rescued after Hurricane Katrina and who has recently been discovered to be an American Foxhound.

Before I go on, I would like to officially note, in writing, that I have permission to blog about The Dog and that I have been looking forward to and intend to relish the next two weeks and all the delights that await us. Also, if anyone would like to come and be with this dog, in the next two weeks, and earn a mite, facebook me and I'll hook you up. Levee, poor thing, cannot be left alone for any reason because of various anxiety issues (and who among us doesn't have an anxiety issue here or there, tucked away) which will make our movement around the great metropolis of Binghamton a touch restricted.

Anyway, where was I. Oh yes. Levee arrived with Matt's Parents yesterday around noon and was brought in and introduced to Ashy and all the children. Ash, in a fit of true bravery, barked at Levee, but also wagged his tale a lot and twirled round and round like we were all in the circus. And then we all went into the backyard and stood around admiring our gorgeous new fence. Matt's Dad, while saying lovely things about the fence, happened to look over to the large gaping hole between the house and the hedge and said, "Levee can't get out over there, can he?" And as I said, "Uh, maybe" Levee shot through the gap with boundless joy. And ran up the walk past the church and was lost from view. And so people still coming out of church were treated to the theatrical display of me running back and forth up the walk in my slippers, Matt running back and forth up the walk, Romulus...Elphine....Alouicious....Marigold....Gladys...Alouicious' friend from church....Ashy...all of us, back and forth, calling and freaking out. Finally Matt's dad got in his car and prepared to drive around, as did Matt (after yelling at me to 'Put The Dog And Babies In The House For Heaven's Sake') at which point Aloucious' friend retrieved the dog from the community garden and We All Calmed Way Down.

As I write this Levee is going to and fro and up and down doing his best to keep watch over the cat food both by day and night, hoping with a great great Hope that a cat will appear to be bayed at, as one bays and bays in the hunt, as it were. And here I am, blogging even though I need to go stop a child from banging on the piano, and get some of them dressed, and gather some cereal off the floor because We're Going Out, all of us, With The Dog. As I said at first, So Exciting!

Friday, November 16, 2012

quick takes

Matt just sent me this and I thought, 'what a gem'. So here it is.

We go in for baptismal cake at COGS so its nice it features so prominently here. Cough.
This is funny, of course, because Matt happened to fly out to Colorado to baptize an extraordinarily beautiful (his words) baby on Wednesday. And he came back with a lot of Real Tea and some Real Digestive Biscuits because the parents of the baby normally live in England.
So we were without Matt for a day. He had a calm time flying around the country writing his sermon whereas I played a lot of loud music so I couldn't hear the children and did mounds and piles of laundry and prayed that he would come back safely. The children pushed very hard to let me sleep first in my bed and then in the living room, both of which I strenuously resisted. I did finally sit down and watch Nanny McPhee with them, as Elphine had been only mentioning it three or four times a day since she borrowed it from her friend. On the whole funny in a tragic sort of way. Wish I could bang a stick on the ground and have the children fixed in their beds. And I felt for little Simon always having to get everyone out of whatever pickle. Still, I suppose its too much to expect to have more than one intelligent child in a big bunch like that. cough.
Yesterday for Shepherd's Bowl I made Kale Bean and Sausage Soup. I went rather heavy on the sausage which turned out to be a touch more "spicy" than I bargained for and so my one pot of soup turned into two as I tried to dilute it. Then I finally added a third smaller pot with a very bland sausage, hoping that children wouldn't scream about it being hot and scare their parents. One whole pot is left, so if you're in Binghamton and are you're starving around 12:30 on Sunday, come to COGS and have a bowl. IT'S NOT SPICY, I tell you, IT'S PERFECTLY FINE.
Fatty Lumpkin has taken it into her head to, as we so indelicately say, "use the potty", blech. She seems to have it figured out, warning us and everything, which is more than can be said for us remembering and having it in our minds that This Is Going On. Someone, a long time ago, asked me about Potty Training and I've thought about, at length, what Answer I might give for the hope that deep within me lies. And I think my answer is, "I have no idea." We go in heavily for panic and rage but I hear other people have systems and consistency and stuff.
Matt and I have been going back and forth about which direction to go for Thanksgiving, in terms of food, that is. I mean, we're not going anywhere. Where was I. Oh yes. Sundays have been a real pleasure this year with every week a vast cut of pork, a large salad, sometimes a loaf of bread, sometimes a pot of rice. That's it. No fuss. So easy. In Matt's mind this is how Thanksgiving will be. Easy. On the table. There it is. And yet, as we all know, that's not how it shakes out. There is the Turkey and the Bread and two kinds of Potato and Brussel Sprouts and Asparagus and Green Beans and Two Kinds of Pie...I feel like I've forgotten a few things. They all have to be prepped and cooked and on the table at the same time. And then all the dishes washed. Somehow, this year, I need to just give myself over to the whole enterprise. Just "live into the moment" as it were. Whatever.

And now we are going to race around and get ready for Matt's Parents who are on their way as I type. All of us are so excited its hard to concentrate and remember how to do anything.
Go check out Jen!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Part of the kitchen is clean. Isn't that a marvel.

Finally getting the rest of the apples cooked up into something. 
Who knows what. Apple butter? Apple Sauce? 
Not sure what this was about. 
I mean, I was there, I took the picture, but that's all I know. 
Don't blame me. 
And it looks as though I've finally killed off The True Vine. 
I'm praying for resurrection and life, but its looking pretty bad. Still, it lasted nearly five years. 
That's no small length of life for a plant in my neglectful care. 
Go check out Like Mother Like Daughter. I'm off to cook for Shepherd's Bowl. Cheerio.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Alouicious has discovered Calvin and Hobbes. He keeps coming and showing me the gross snowmen Calvin makes and chuckling to himself. In fact, the other day, he came to explain it to me in case I had never read it before.
"I know," I said, "And, when you're done with that one, we have all of them."
Honestly, its the FIRST thing he's reading without being able to put it down. So, even though I was rather hoping that first thing would be, you know, like, The Bible or Ivanhoe or something, I'm not really complaining. If you know and love Calvin and Hobbes, your life will probably turn out all right in the end.

Which brings me to my submission for the 2013 Lander Motto (gleaned from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which, as a movie was ok but not amazing). Ready?

It will all come out all right in the end. And if it isn't alright, then it isn't the end.

Past Lander Mottoes have been:

This too shall pass.
Let me be your morning cup of coffee.
Where are we going and why are we in this hand basket?
Cheer Up, Things could be worse. So I cheered up and sure enough, Things Got Worse.

I'm sure I've forgotten some. 
Pip pip!

Monday, November 12, 2012

stupidest movie ever?

Or maybe it doesn't even deserve that distinction.

It is a well known fact that Matt and I can't watch anything together except meaningless time destroying NatGeo reality shows and sometimes The Cooking Channel. And, not surprisingly, now that we have children the problem is weekly exacerbated by having to sift through the endless ghastly "Children and Family" sections of Netflix and Amazon. Sometimes we land on a true gift, like Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. (What a gem! How funny! Death as the HogFather--really a delight!) And then other times we land on things like the awful awful awful awful awful Happy Feet.

What can I even say about this "film" without further irritating myself? Let's see, Male Penguin A "sings his heart song" and "meets his one true love" (that is Female Penguin B) or whatever but then, while Female Penguin B is off fishing for the long winter, Male Penguin A drops their Egg which causes said Egg to be unable to discover his own Heart Song and find his own One True Love. Instead of having a "Heart Song" he has "Happy Feet", that is, he tap dances instead of singing. Other little extras in this Boring Cliche That is Nearly Every Movie Produced For The Betterment of American Children include the Evil Scottish Puritanical Penguin who Hates Science and is An Idiot, the Bad Father (Male Penguin A) who Doesn't See His Egg's True Potential, Love Interest Penguin whose Heart Song is from American Idol (I guess) and whose entitled and snappy attitude made me feel really tired. And finally, the whole mess is driven forward by the Evil Environment Destroying Human Being Finally Able To Save All The Dancing Penguins By Offering Up True Repentance In The Form Of A UN Enacted Antarctic Fishing Ban.

The intellectual incoherence of telling the child that, on the one hand, he needs to discover his true self and look deep within himself to discover true happiness, and on the other hand, that his presence on this earth is evil and will eventually Destroy Everything boils my onion every time.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

praying with children

Its so important to pray with children, just like it is to do other hard things with them like Cook and Eat Dinner, Carry on a Conversation, Fold a Single Solitary Basket of Laundry, Pick Up the Blocks, Remember What It Was You Came Into This Room For Will You Stop Screaming So I Can Think For A Minute. And so on and so forth. Prayer, as many of us might remember, is a foundational part of the Christian Life and children should be included in it, even if it kills you.

My children's real prayer life begins in the Atrium with Catechists of the Good Shepherd. There, at the age of three or so, as they learn to pour beans, line the sheep up behind the Shepherd, paste construction paper cutouts of the chalice and the paten over the cutout of the altar, roll up their mats and speak nicely to one another, they learn to speak to and hear God. Its not difficult and basically lovely (on the days when Gladys doesn't have her lip out and a hard look in her eye that says 'I'll have everything my way'). You turn the lights off, light the candle, gather in a "half circle" at the prayer table, sing "The Lord is my Shepherd" and then the many things little people are thankful for or concerned about spill readily forth. Marigold, every day finding the pleasure of more speech, clutches her fists together, screws her eyes half shut and says "Jesus.....(stuff we don't usually understand)....Amen" and the looks around, extremely pleased with herself. Gladys, strangely, speaks to a Person, we know not who, and asks for the information to be relayed on to God. Something like, "Please help God to give us a lovely day and a lovely dinner and a lovely going to bed. And please help God to help us have a lovely time."
"Who is she talking to?" a child will inevitably whisper very loudly.
"Shsh" I whisper back, "don't worry about it".

And of course, the prayer continues at home. We pray before meals, enforcing a strict Keep It Short And Simple or the person whose turn it is to pray is liable to go rambling through the avenues of forgetful repetition, "Thank You for Mommy and Daddy and Everyone Else". The Prayer becomes flustered, and starts again and again. And we pray before bed. And we say Morning Prayer three times a week in the course of doing school.

Ah, Morning Prayer. Its so Anglican. It would be so pious were not for the screaming of me to BE QUIET and SIT DOWN and STOP KICKING YOUR SISTER. Basically we get through the Opening Sentence (Rite Two, BCP pg. 79) and start the Confession three or four times before settling in. Sometimes we name aloud what we feel sorry about, trying to steer away from things like "I feel weally sowy that Womulous was mean to me" and more towards "I am weally sowy that I was unkind to Marigold". After the Confession is singing. Right now we're learning "New Every Morning is the Love" and "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus". Then we recite whatever we're memorizing and work on the Catechism. And finally we leap over everything remaining to say the Lord's Prayer, Suffrages A, and then our own free praying. And I must say that every day I'm amazed by how passionate and heartfelt each little child's prayers are that God would make sure and give us all "A Good Time", or, to vary it, "A Fun Time". As if their little lives are one long miserable rotten sorrowful existence. As if they don't play solidly from the moment their eyes open until they close at night. As if they don't have a constant stream of lovely friends parading through their house and the church. As if they don't have lovely stories and lovely lovely coloring. As if they don't watch all kinds of too much TV. As if they don't eat massive bowls of porridge covered in real cream and drink real mugs of tea. What is this passionate anxious calling out to God for A Good Time? As they cry out to God I ask myself, "Are you kidding me?"

But, of course, they're not kidding. And neither are any of the rest of us when we worry deeply about all the things that threaten our comfort and Arrangement of Life. Long ago, when I was small child in the far off dry unrelenting heat of the Malian Savanna, my mother sat by my bed and prayed "Dear Jesus, Thank you for this Day. Please help us to have a Good Time at the beach tomorrow." And then she opened her eyes, as I did mine, and we laughed and laughed until we cried. And one day, much much later, we did go to the beach, and we seriously thanked God for it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

in the clear light of day

We're going to the pancake barn in a minute as a peace offering to our poor children. They have suffered much in these tempestuous political times, having been made to watch the news and  listen to us chatter and generally be sucked into a morasse of Idiocy. They deserve a pancake.

As for me, I am extraordinary relieved that the whole wretched thing is over. As I finally voted on my third try yesterday (First Time: Doddering Old Ladies couldn't cope with not finding my name in the book and sent me somewhere else. Second Time: Man with enormous mustache tells me "There's no way in hell you're voting here today." Third Time: "Doddering Old Ladies let me cast a paper ballot that probably won't be counted.) rather than feeling a flood of gratitude for our Great Democracy I was filled with a profound sense of Doom. And, of course, that carried itself well into the night.

Apart from the ongoing horror of abortion and my great great worries about the "foriegn policy" of the last few months, my biggest sense of grief is first hand, on the ground knowledge, that the more a government "gives away", the more it takes of the person. The more a government meagerly and miserly doles out to us poor wretches, the less room in the human heart for the majesty, risk, terror and love of God. The more we look to Man, the less we need God. This has real life applications for the local church as we struggle to spread the gospel. The State has won in a real and pracitcal sense the battle for the human soul. Our work here in Upstate NY, already an upward climb, I expect to become darker and more difficult.

And yet, as many have noted, God is soveriegn, Jesus sits gloriously on his throne, and he will bring everything about for his own glory. And so, we are going out for pancakes. And we're turning off the news in repentance for having turned it on in the first place. And we're going to set our eyes toward the high hills, the narrow way, the cool mountain air, going deeper in and further up to know the One in whom, one day, All will be All in All.

Monday, November 05, 2012

election eating

For Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls that feel healthy because of being whole wheat but not really healthy because of all the butter and sugar. The children will eat them. Matt will eat a carefully measured cup of Fiber One (blech) and I will eat an egg.

For Lunch: Whatever. Who cares about lunch on election day.

For Dinner: Fondue as a nod backwards to Reformation Day. This year, the Swiss Reformation. Last year was the German Reformation (Sausages and Beer). Next year oughta be the English Reformation. What would that be? Steak and Kidney Pie? Trifle? I have a year to consider.

Anyway, Fondue. Really easy. Two pounds of cheese (Emmental, Gruyere, etc. etc.) grated and dusted with flour. Fondue pot rubbed with a garlic. A bunch of white wine. A bay leaf. Heat the wine and add the cheese in handfuls and attentively stir it as it melts. Don't let it clump together on the bottom and burn. Gather in Lots of Bread to dip in the cheese. But, a la Asterix, if you drop your bread in the pot, you have to be thrown into Lake Geneva with a millstone around your feet. Am I remembering that correctly?

And then Nigella's Chocolate Pots. Times 4: 3 bags Godiva dark chocolate chips, 2 cups heavy cream, 1 1/3 cups whole milk, splash vanilla, brandy or something, melted together and then blended and then 4 eggs tempered and added to the hot milk chocolate. Don't burn it like I did tonight! Pour it all into little cups and stuff them in the fridge to wait for the moment you realize, as you're watching the returns, that what you really needed was not more cheese, nor more wine, but a serious amount of chocolate to see you through the difficult times.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

indications the election season has gone on a touch too long

Matt: "Marigold's favorability rating with me is higher when she's sleeping than when she's awake."

Romulus whispering loudly in my ear while pointing to our dinner guest: "Who is he voting for?"
Me, whispering back: "I don't know but we're not going to ask."

Me to any child near me ever: "Shh, I'm just trying to read the internals of this poll. If  you're hungry, just go eat something."

Matt, tearing his gaze away from twitter when I try to say anything to him ever: "Hmmm?"

Elphine and Alouicious every day at some point during dinner: "Who's winning now?"
Me, hysterically: "Nobody's winning because none of us have actually voted yet. There's no winning till it actually starts."

Friday, November 02, 2012

quick takes

Just finished the Old Testament, in record time too, six months. Had hoped to perfectly time starting the New Testament with Advent, but also wanted to finish it by January, which would have made for a more than usually crazy December. And it would be bad to take an entire month off of something like Reading The Bible. So I guess I'm going to plow on, even though it doesn't line up perfectly. After reading Malachi, expecting my daily readings to line up perfectly is a shade too much like bringing my blind bull to the altar. It means all the flock in my own cupboard is pristine and God again gets the short shrift. Or something.
I'm trying to write while the baby holds my ring finger. When I try to gently move her over to accommodate my laptop she lets out a piercing shriek and presses her heavy head on my chest and lets real tears fall. Which, shockingly, stop the second I stop typing. Throughout the day I have to lug her around everywhere while she shouts directions and screams at everyone. Well, as I type this, I can see that 'have to' is a touch too strong. I've been manipulated into lugging her around and now we're both in the habit. She has basically, as Marigold did, managed to get everyone to do everything for her, only she, the Baby, is willing to use language where Marigold was not.
Having moved all the toys up in case of flooding, and all the outside furniture in in case of it being blown away, two major sections of the house continue to be Off Limits.So here we all are, altogether in the kitchen and then altogether in the living room and then altogether in my room, all of us together. And why would a single one of us want to be separated from all the others for even one tiny second?
"Mommy," whined Elphine yesterday as Romulus accidentally kicked her in the head, "Can't they go downstairs? I can't get anything done."
"No, my sweet," I said, 'they could get into terrible mischief, so we will just have to cope."
Every morning I go in to the living room and I find the Fancy Russian Nesting Dolls in some kind of new arrangement. Here, I think, they are all dancing. You can't really see but the Swedish Horses are also careful proximity to each other.
And here they seem to be all lined up paying homage to the photograph of Elphine in her Aunt's Coronation Dress. I'm not sure why the little basket/bowl is turned upside down.
Sometimes I find the dolls carefully lined up by height around the coffee table, or arranged all over the room on different bookshelves, or each with a tiny tea cup placed respectfully in front of each one.
We've nearly totally memorized John 3:1-17 in an exaggerated and lilting way.
'Now there was a MAN of the PHARISEES named NICODEMUS, A Ruler Of the Jews! This Man came to Jesus by NIGHT and SAID to HIM.....etc. So we were thinking about what next to memorize and the consensus was Numbers 21: 4-9 since that's what Jesus is referencing in John. It hadn't been exactly what I had in mind, but I'm willing to go with the preference of the group. Much discussion was had about whether it was possible to be bit over and over again by a fiery serpent or if looking up at the serpent on the pole once was sufficient for all time. Theology aside, Alouicious thought it would be awesome to be bitten with impunity. He acted it out and we wasted another ten minutes laughing at the craziness of it all. hardy har har.
Also, the Word of the Day two days ago, for those of you who were longing to know, was Lily-livered. Usually the Word of the Day is kind of a drag and impossible to use in a sentence if you're only five years old, but this one was really good and easy, heh, to think of examples of Other People who display this character flaw. Gladys always has the same sentence and puts every single Word of the Day word into it.
"The girl had an ice-cream and then her brother came and knocked it over and she was so ______" insert Word of the Day (words like Beatitude, Uncanny, Catachresis, Fracas, Heliotrope). But on this day we got her to consider rearranging the words in her sentence so that she was able to have "The girl had an ice-cream and then her lily-livered brother came and knocked it over."
As a point of clarification, this sentence was assembled by Gladys and was not influenced by any other party and no one knows of a real life occasion of any such thing ocurring.
Look, I got through six takes without mentioning the election one time. And so, instead of mentioning it, I'm going to go make breakfast. Have a lovely weekend and go check out Jen!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

all hallow's eve

Everyone, finally including me, has got some sort of early autumn cold.

Fortunately the sore throat and misty perception of reality did not cause anyone to be slowed or miss out on any candy gathering. Although Gladys finally had to be put into her tights and leggings and two shirts and sweater and tutu and wings and hat and red boots by the whole family who were all ready to go and were exasperated and exhausted by her stream of commentary as she spent fifteen minutes putting one foot into her tights only to take it out again in order to adjust the seam that lies along the stupid stupid toes.
Romulus was dressed and ready to go at 9 in the morning but did finally agree to take off the hat to eat breakfast (What? A late breakfast and a late lunch meant no need for dinner. I planned it that way.) and to put his shield in a safe place. He's so uncomplicated. He just wore his costume and gathered candy and smiled beatifically. I feel for families of all boys, never knowing the joy of tights, or having the right top still in the washer at the critical moment and having to weep even more because the pony tail won't curl exactly right, or the shoe got scuffed, or the hands are too cold, or no one will stop and wait.

Finally we were all out the door and ready for all the wide wide world had to offer. You can see that we have Captain America, A Knight, Cleopatra, a Generic Yellow Puffed Dress, and then the Baby Bee is out of the shot. I'm in the Wolf Hat. I must be trying to adjust someone.  I love the way Alouicious stood and surveyed the scene, summing up in his own mind the nature of the occasion.

And then as usual I ruined the moment by trying to have a picture. But everyone got over it and consoled themselves with Candy, Donuts, Hot Chocolate and Games at church for two hours before stuffing themselves into the car and hoping the engine didn't peter out in the mile to our old house.

And now here I am, listening to the gentle sound of children eating candy when they've been expressly told not to and wondering if, perhaps hoping that, they won't need breakfast. What breakfast food could possibly compete with straight chocolate, or chocolate with peanut, or chocolate coating a crispy biscuit, or chocolate and caramel.