News!

Racing! It’s really fun to watch.

The students are back! They are very sweet, with their new backpacks. The first-years clump up in the hallway, talking about their classes. They’re already filling up the library. That’s very good. The foreign students, and there are more of them every year, lounge about glamorously. Soon they will all be jaded and weary, but for now, try as they might, they are excited and bright.

Okay, that’s all.

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Fall planting

I keep getting messages from a garden company urging me to plant things now, and I really am tempted. When I get back from Pittsburgh. I think I may even make the vegetable bed bigger, with room for asparagus.

Now really is the time to plant stuff here, odd as that may seem.

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Also, I thought I should tell you that these hollyhocks are something of a mystery. Many years ago, someone planted a few hollyhocks, luscious deep red ones, in a bed outside the Optometry School. Over the years, the few hollyhocks spread and now they have pretty much taken over the bed from the false jasmine and butterfly iris that the campus thought should be there (very boring). And the colors have changed — there are still a few red ones, but also white, pink, and everything in between. I love them.

Also, a picture of my staircase with its new staircase basket.

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A gift from my brother, because obviously we needed more encouragement to leave things on the stairs.

Tipping point

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We’re getting down to the final things to do with M before she goes. We have museums to visit and shoes to buy. She’s got friends to visit. She’s rethinking the classes she’s signed up for. I think she’s ready for the year ahead.

We’re making plans, too, for the part of the year when she won’t be here. It’s funny — it takes a while to be ready to do that, but then when you are ready, it feels good. We’ve got plans to go kayaking, to have dinner with my brother’s family. My sister and mother are coming, and we’ll go visit M. It feels action-packed, all of a sudden, and that seems okay. I’ve got garden plans, too. And it’s a tremendous relief that N seems happy.

Some friends of ours say, “You’re only as happy as your least happy child,” and I think that is true.

But everyone seems good, for the moment. All systems go.

All right. That’s settled. And now I have to clean off my desk at work.

Long weekend

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So.

One more week of having M home. It was hard to get used to having her here, and now it’s going to be really hard to get used to having her gone again.

But let’s not speak of that.

We’ve been reading Sarah Dessen books. She’s a novelist who writes young adult books about girls in high school. Either they are going out with a bad boy, and it takes them the length of the book to realize they don’t have to do that, or they are not going out with a good boy, and it takes them the length of the book to realize that they could. They have some kind of complicated family situation — father dies/father left/mother left — but they are good kids and do have good family members, although it takes them a while to see that, and they often have good friends. They drink Zip Cola, and often you will see characters from one novel cross the stage in another novel. They’re really good. If I do purge many many books from my personal library, I will keep these because they are great to reread during the summer.

We ate outside at my brother’s house last night, after a weekend of gardening and reading. Very nice. There’s a new guy he likes who we think we like, too. I made lemon bars with lemons from the garden, and they were delicious.

M and her friends keep coming and going. I’d forgotten that feeling — she goes out and comes back. You wake up and there are three friends sleeping over. We quickly make waffles for MT while she waits for her grandparents to pick her up for church. Activity not of your own making goes on here and there.

Word came from N, who sounds happy again. She will stay in Maine for the year, but move down to a bigger city with a friend. One job will end, but the other will grow. She wondered if she really should move to Portland, which will mean a commute but will be a livelier place to live. We agreed that she should. She’s found an apartment that she likes. The friend she’s moving with is from Maine, so will know people. She’ll be closer to Boston, and my mother. Then she’ll come home for a few months before going far far away. She’s got a plan. It all sounds good.

And I’ve figured out my week. I am not going to hike the AT in Pennsylvania with Lynn. Neither one of us really had the time, and I’m glad to have one last weekend at home with M. I’ve got plans for the garden, too. This is really the time to plant around here — just before the rainy season. K really is thinking of our trip to PA as vacation — he mentioned that we will be able to hear crickets at night. So, I’ll think about it as vacation, too. I’ll be we can find a lake to swim in — I know we go by several in Ohio.

I’ll bring my suit.

More and more

about to leave

It occurs to me more and more, as my kids get older and leave home and go off to become people in their own right, that I am becoming the parents in their stories just like my parents are people in mine. Uncomfortable, but inevitable.

All of us have stories about our parents — the annoying mother who can’t let you come within 500 miles of her house without demanding a visit. The acquisitive mother who’s inherited all the chattel from two sets of parents and can’t bear to give any of it away now while it might be of any use to her own children. The bad mother who told her daughter she’d never be a concert pianist and also retreated to her room after dinner to read the Saturday Evening Post and ignored her children. The father who never liked one thing you did. The mother who allowed herself to be a doormat. The father who insists on talking to you at least once a day.

It’s a hard line to walk, though — I don’t want to be the mother who couldn’t let her children go, nor do I want to be the mother who completely forgot about her children once they left the house. I don’t want to be the mother with no interests of her own, nor do I want to be the mother with no interest in her children. Particularly this week, when I’m feeling inadequately vacationed, I don’t want to be the parents who could never take a vacation without their children. I’m going to have to talk to K about this one —

The cat

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I’ve put that suitcase away, but look how happy she was about it while it sat there, right by the front door. An excellent cat spot.

I don’t know what I thought about Beasts of the Southern Wild. It was amazing. The actors, who were just people, were amazing. The story was amazing. Hard to watch, in parts, but pretty incredible. Like somebody — Joy? Mark? — said, it wasn’t like anything else.

I loved the boat, which was the back of a pick-up truck. I loved the other boat, which appeared out of nowhere. I liked the aurochs.

I have to think about it.