Small Things 9-25-15

1. And for the second year in a row, the kiddo is sick the day before his birthday party. Sigh. Would it be wrong to just start having his parties in the middle of July when there are no colds to be passed around. A birthday three weeks after school starts just means everyone has the chance to catch it by mid/late-September. Ugh. It remains to be seen whether we’ll reschedule this, or if he’ll rally tonight–which is certainly possible.

I hate not knowing what’s happening. Just hate it.

2. A friend who’s had way too much loss in her life is pregnant, which is awesome. But the early test results have been, well, not horrible, but not awesome. Inconclusive, let’s say. Another friend has sent me her book of poetry on her IVF & loss experiences, and while the poetry is phenomenally good, it’s hard for me to read.

We’re so lucky to have our son, and I have, apparently, blocked out an awful lot of what happened to get him here.  Anyone still reading who’s still in the IF trenches, please know I’m overwhelmed with sorrow & hope on your behalf, and I’m sorry I’m not reading the blogs anymore. Selfishly, it’s hard even to read about infertility any more. It’s like I used up all my capacity to think about those things and still function. I suspect I wasn’t functioning very well during those years.

God, those were the worst of times.

3. However, on the bloggy-happy side of things? A blog-met pediatric ophthalmologist friend who’s offered eye-advice in the past when it became obvious the kiddo was going to be visiting ophthalmologists regularly, was ALSO able and willing to advise me on some pesky questions I had about what would be involved with an eye exam for a character in the book I’m working on. I’ve watched umpteen videos, read blog entries for people who’ve had the procedure, and never was able to find the details I was looking for. She cleared it up so quickly, and so kindly.

Hurrah for people willing to share their expertise! Hurrah for ophthalmologists! Hurrah for friends who are both!

4. We’ve been watching the Lord of the Rings extended trilogy over the last 5 nights. Tonight will be the final ‘installment’.  Long-time readers might remember that this was an annual tradition when we lived in Brooklyn–we’d get our geeky LOTR friends together, cook a hobbit-worthy kitchenful of food, and eat and watch for 12 straight hours.

That’s not happening here for a while–everything else aside, my kid is nowhere NEAR ready for such a violent, scary story–so the compromise was better than nothing.  Still. I miss the immersion of doing it the proper way.

Not to mention the coney stew…

5. Speaking of eyes… I went to a retinal specialist today to see if we could figure out what’s going on with my wonky eye.  Part of the problem is that I can’t seem to describe the issue well.  “It just feels wonky. Not blurry, just like there’s some component of my vision missing. Like it’s darker. Or glare-ier. Or the colors are off. Or I’m having to tip my head to see around something.”

Well, the retinal specialist says I don’t have an inflamed retina per se, but the tissue behind the retina is inflamed. So if it’s not better in 4 months (and this has been going on for 2 years, so she’s not super worried about letting it go that long) when I have a follow-up exam, she’ll want an MRI to, you know, rule out brain cancer.

Which would be less worrying if my cousin’s wife hadn’t just succumbed to that very thing.  We weren’t close, but her illness & death hit me hard. We went to college together, she was my peer, not some old lady who died from some old-lady disease.

And by the way, this getting older stuff? Most of it I don’t mind. Gray hair, wrinkly face? That’s all ok. The woman who tries to give me a 55+ discount? No big deal, I certainly don’t look like a teenager, & I recognize that by not dyeing my hair, I’m automatically registering as at least 10 years older to most people. But the whole body-going-wonky stuff? It sort of sucks.  Just for the record, I do NOT approve. Not at all.

Small Things 9-24-15

1.   I’m slowly becoming accustomed to having so much time to write. It’s still a struggle to make myself do housework, but making myself sit down & write? Such luxury! Story’s coming right along, and I’m trying not to get too obsessive about checking to see if an agent who’s got the full manuscript from my last book has gotten back to me yet..

2. Xena brought me a very soggy, very dead bird. She tried to bury it in my office just now–very kind, but I took possession of the poor little thing. I suspect she just found it, though I suppose she could have caught it & then it got so soggy because she held it in her mouth for so long. She’s tricksy like that. I wouldn’t put it past her.

3. This is also apparently the autumn of the applepocalypse.  Orchards that normally bring in 30,000 bushels of apples are looking at 70,000.  Banks have baskets of free apples by the door. Half the old trees in my old rural neighborhood are–apparently–apple trees. We know this now because they’re currently bowed down to the ground under their weight of apples.

I’m having a good time making the NY Times Tarte Tatin.  Seriously – have I posted a link to this recipe before? If you haven’t tried it yet, and if you live somewhere in the NE & are currently being crushed by the slow, inexorable crush of apples on your counter that are not being eaten quickly enough, make this. Shoot, make it even if you have to go to the store today and BUY 8 apples. Any apples work.  A mix of apples works. No need for a non-stick skillet, I use cast iron & it works like a charm. I also don’t bother to roll out the puff pastry, just tick the extra bits around the edges. Why be fussy, eh? And it tastes So. Blessed. Good.

4. My kid loves school. Like, REALLY loves school. I can’t truly express how happy this makes me, but it really does. There’s something about talking with my son about everything he’s done in school that day that’s my favorite part of the day. It’s usually on our way home from school, and at first it’s hard to get him to talk, but then I ask the perfect question and his whole day away from me comes spilling out of him and he wants to share it all, and I want to hear it all.  Because I’m delighted he loves school, loves learning, loves his friends & teachers, but I’m also delighted he still thinks telling his mommy all about his day is the fitting end to a school day. Life is good with a 5yo kid, I’ve got to say.  I’m so very lucky.

5. Chickens are molting, and so, not laying so much right now. Garden had a less-than-stellar year.  Apple tree is, admittedly, going gangbusters, as did the peach tree and the raspberries.  A good year for fruit, but not so much for anything else. Next year I’ll go all in with organic fertilizer, a drip system, and copper spray to try to head off the early blight before it destroys my crop.  I might have to go with a full on hoop-system to bump up the heat eventually, but I WILL learn to garden in this weird climate. I WILL!

Other plans for next year include actually trying to get some grass to grow in the sadder parts of our property. We have a dozen or so 100yo maples that cast awfully thick shade, and no one’s paid any attention to the area save to mow it for a very long time.  I’d also love to get some color planted in the few areas of dappled sun we have. Surely I could find a hydrangea or astilbes or something that wouldn’t mind the shade? It’s a project – an ongoing project, which is, I’m learning about myself, something I enjoy having.

 

Small Things 8-25-15

1. My son wears glasses. He has since he was about 2 years old, due to some eye-crossing issues.  And he’s always been, really, quite good about taking care of his glasses. But while on vacation, someone (probably me) crushed one arm of them, and they’ve been hanging on by a superglued thread ever since.  Took ’em to his eyeglasses shop & not only did they replace his old lenses (in his spare frame) with his new lenses from the busted frame, but they’re also replacing the glasses under warranty.

Which is why it’s worth shelling out the big bucks for kids’ glasses, I guess. Plus, you know, he’ll be able to see at school.  (SCHOOL?  WHAT IS THIS CRAZINESS? He’s a BABY for heaven’s sake!)

Not really.

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Where the HELL did the last 5 years go?

Oh yeah, into helping this little guy find his feet in the great, wide world.

And he’s off and running…

2.  Just had to tell a dream agent–who doesn’t accept simultaneous submissions–that he didn’t respond quickly enough to a query I sent out in May, and the manuscript is already being considered by other agents. The urge to lie and say no one had it in hand was there, but I did the right thing and sent my regrets instead of the manuscript.  Happily, he did get back to me right away to say I should send it if the agents currently considering decide to pass.

But still. Big gulps on that one.

3. Yesterday was the first day since my son was born almost five years ago that I have had 6 contiguous, starting-in-the-morning hours to myself.  I wrote.  It was really, really nice. Maybe I’ll survive this back-to-school thing after all?

4.  We have been inundated with frogs and toads this year.  Which I don’t actually mind: it’s nifty going outside late at night and seeing the ground practically alive with amphibians.  Odd, though, since other years a single garden toad is cause for celebration.

5.

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This piglet dog makes me really happy.  She’s lying at my feet right now, doing what happy dogs do best.  3 miles in the morning seems to be her sweet spot of tiredness.  Too much more than that, and she’s just exhausted all day long. Too much less than that, and she’s a demon-monster of too-playful annoyance.  But 3 miles makes us both happy.  Life’s good.