July 31, 2007

Contrast Haiku


Good luck, bad luck:
seals bobbing offshore –
the fisherman shrugs.

(Thanks to the women of One Deep Breath
for their continuing inspiration.
And to gulliver of Clip2Go
for this great photo of bobbing seals.)

July 30, 2007

The Definition of Fun


Here are D and his cousin C,
so excited for their week of camp together
that they can hardly STAND it!



After camp, there's more fun at the pool...
here's C asking, "Which jump should I do?"


Ooooh, fancy!



"We're not cold, we're not hungry, and we're never leaving."

(Note to self: Buy milk in gallons and bread in two-packs.)

July 27, 2007

Momentous Haiku


dizzy with future
he stands looking at his palm –
first lost tooth gleaming


(I lost my first tooth while swinging on a swing,
I think, and we couldn't find it.
(Mom, is that right?)
I was so happy for D that he lost his first one
while on vacation, and in the presence
of lots of excited loved ones.
Time to go to the library and borrow
Throw Your Tooth on the Roof!)

July 26, 2007

Phenomena

Annoying American Phenomena
of the Early Twenty-First Century

(vote for your "favorite" in the comments!)


"Like" is the new "um."

American sports and news announcers persist in their belief that only men play sports, and that only men care about sports. They say, "In the NCAA tournament today," or "In golf today," when they mean, "In the NCAA Men's tournament today," or "In men's golf today," and it drives me crazy. It's ONE SYLLABLE of clarification, fer cryin' out loud.

Amongst a certain group of young men, jeans are only cool if they are barely hanging on. Accordingly, clothing manufacturers are now making jeans that look like they're falling down even when they're not.

People who walked down the street talking to themselves used to be mentally ill. Now they're just on their cellphones.

Children's parties are now relentlessly "themed." Bleah.

Parents talking about their student's college search begin their sentences with "we." E.g. "We would like to apply to at least ten schools." I haven't said, "We who?" Yet.

We start talking about national elections well over a year before they take place, but can't figure out how to have a process that engages more than 50% of the people eligible to vote.

It's gotten harder to move through the world as just yourself... instead, as we move, the demands of our environment seem to require that we leave little pieces of ourselves. (Think pre-registration, keychain swipe cards while grocery shopping, EZ Pass, undsoweiter.)

Sightlines while driving are a thing of the past. Remember when you used to be able to scope out the road ahead of you a bit? Now you can scope out the giant butt of the SUV in front of you.

Undivided attention is becoming increasingly rare. Do I have yours?

(Thanks to the women of Sunday Scribblings,
who unwittingly provided me
with this lovely opportunity to vent,
and to my friend Scot, who helped me out
when I got stuck at eight.)

Comfort Haiku


Calling back and forth
until the sun comforts them –

mourning doves.

(Thanks to the women of One Deep Breath
for their continuing inspiration.
Gentle thoughts for ODB host Jennifer.
The "comfort" prompt this week made me think
about the way in which sharing grief
can sometimes dull its edge.
And about how I have nevertheless
shied away from such sharings.
I wrote a bunch of haiku while on vacation;
please stop back soon for more!)

July 21, 2007

Lessons From Camp, 2007

(If you like, you can see any of these pictures in a larger size by clicking on them; last year's post-camp series is here, and my Glass Door Knob elements contributions are over here.)

Go out there and GET a good wave.


When you get a good one, ride it ALL the way in.


Hold on to laughter.


Accept the ocean's invitation for another round of tag.


Try something new. (Here, Atomic Fireballs.)


Seek the water's edge and plunk yourself down.


Prepare yourself for wonder...


... and be gentle when it comes.


Climb as you are able.

photo: Aunt Chelle

And don't worry, the Tooth Fairy "does" tents.


(Many thanks to Sassafras Mama for capturing my moments of surfing ecstasy.
Thanks for visiting us at camp again, Aunt Chelle, and thanks, too, to friends
Nancy Bea, Auntie Nish, Karen S., Jenn, and Wendy, who sent me mail at camp!
The folks in the camp office were greeting me with something like awe
after the third or fourth consecutive day of my successfully
receiving mail addressed to a camp site. It rocked.
Thanks, too, to Cate for her warm wishes,
and to other friends, unnamed here,
who consulted weather maps
and thought of us.
I am indeed
blessed.)

In Training

When we were expecting, we signed up for a class on childbirth like any good couple, but I was pretty skeptical... from the stories I'd heard from friends who'd walked the childbirth plank before me, it seemed pretty clear that there was planning, and then there was what actually happened, often with a yawning chasm between the two.

Still, a few words of wisdom from that class resonated with me. One of the pieces of advice that I took to heart was something like this: "Childbirth is an intensely physical event; you need to think about it as you would preparing to run a marathon."

I'd always loved swimming, but the idea of being "in training" for the big event inspired me to greater levels of physical commitment than I'd ever made before. I swam almost every day in the months leading up to D's birth. And because the pool we belong to is within walking distance of our house, everyone in the neighborhood could see me waddling my way down to put in my daily laps.

Taking on the challenge of becoming more physically fit seemed less like a choice than a gift; I wanted to do this for me, and for our son. Now that I'm a parent, the other ways in which I see that experience shaping me run along similar lines; I'm doing things differently because I am inspired to try to model the very best version of my self that I can muster.

This past week saw me catching waves at Marconi Beach on Cape Cod. My almost six year-old son and his friend watched me stride past with my boogie board with the most incredulous looks... a MOM with a boogie board?! Once I rode my first big wave in, they transformed themselves into a miniature cheering section, chanting my name and whooping it up as I roared into shore. The water was 53 degrees, but I was warm all over.

Here's to heightened expectations... and occasionally living up to them.

July 06, 2007

Gone Campin'


We are hitting the road! You can leave us messages here in the comments (although we probably won't read them until we get back), or, even better...

Send us snailmail at camp! If you're reading this between July 5th and July 15th, here's your big chance to make our day at camp.

Send a little note (and/or dark chocolate!) to:
Riendeau-Krause campers, site 22
c/o North of Highland Campground
52 Head of the Meadow Road
P.O. Box 297
North Truro, MA 02652-0297

If you'd prefer, you can call the camp and ask them to leave us a note on the camp message board, which is also a big thrill. That number (good from July 8th through the 14th) is 508/ 487-1191, and office hours are pretty much all day with the exception of meal breaks from noon-1pm and again from 6-7pm.

Even if you don't have a chance to send a message our way, we know we can count on you to send warm and sunny thoughts... right? And a special thanks to our lovely neighbors who are keeping watch on our little house until we get back.

Slippery

When I'm trying to be quiet – sneaking into my son's room to put away some folded laundry, maybe – it seems that those are the times when I knock something to the floor, or trip over my own feet. Does that ever happen to you?

What is it about human endeavor that turns the act of trying into an obstacle?

I think about the times in my life when I have been pushing too hard, working to get someone's attention, or "make" someone like me (as if that were even possible), and what I feel is how desire can make your road so slippery.

I am on vacation now, and for the next few weeks my expectations for my life – and the attending illusion of control – will be hollowed out. We'll be camping, and the weather will be what it is. We might hope to get a beach fire permit, but we also know that it might not happen. We'll wake up in the morning and then figure out what we might be doing that day. We won't be trying for much, and because of that, peace and happiness are likely to be much less slippery than usual.

July 04, 2007

Independence Day

While visitors to the Princeton Battlefield were learning about the historical events of January 2nd and 3rd, 1777, a handful of the members of Princeton Monthly Meeting made ready to provide some historical counterpoint.

We saw somewhere between 70 and 100 visitors in the Meetinghouse today, I think, many of them families with young children. People were interested to hear about the role of Quakers in the early British settlement of the area, and surprised to hear that the Meetinghouse is the same one that stood there in 1777.

We were informal in our welcome, and talked about whatever came up, including the structure and construction of the building, the peace testimony, and the role of Quaker women in the movement for suffrage. As is usually the case at these events, some of our guests were quite surprised to discover that the Meetinghouse is a going concern, with an active membership and weekly Meetings for Worship.

As usual, the best questions came from children. One boy wondered how many wounded soldiers were brought to the Meetinghouse to be tended to. I had to answer that although we're pretty sure the Meetinghouse was used as a de facto field hospital, we don't have any accurate records of the names or numbers of those who were helped. Another boy, after we'd been talking about the wide floor planks of the Meetinghouse as a reflection of the size and age of the trees used, wondered how many trees it would have taken to build the Meetinghouse. We didn't know, but we all had fun talking through our theories.

I promised friend K that I would be "blogging the heck out of" my time in the Meetinghouse today, but in truth I think it's too early to know all my feelings. As much as I enjoy speaking to groups of people, I now find myself wishing that there had been a way to slow the steady flow of strangers into the Meetinghouse down to a trickle, so that I could have had more one-on-one conversations. I know that many of our visitors today were just following the signs, or looking for Declaration-signer Richard Stockton's grave. But surely some of them were there because they were heeding a still, small voice, and I wonder if we did our community justice in the presence of those seekers.

Miss E and the Moshulu


("Hey, gimme back my princess parasol!")

We don't see enough of our friends L&J, so when J proposed an all-family sleepover last weekend, we immediately said yes. Little Miss E is about two years younger than D, but they get along quite nicely, which meant that the mommies could all sit around and talk. Lovely. The next morning we went to a playground and then our little family headed off for my requested birthday brunch on the Moshulu, an old tall ship that has been converted to a sumptious restaurant.

D had the time of his life exploring every nook and cranny of the ship (although he proclaimed the slanted foredeck "too tippy"), and the brunch was out of this world. This ship was damaged by fire a few years after my arrival in Philly, and was only re-opened for business a few months before I left to become a Jersey Girl. Finally getting to eat there felt like taking care of some unfinished business. Okay, just thinking about it is making me hungry... gotta go eat!


A Good Time to Be Alive


As wary as I am of Google's data-gobbling tendencies as they relate to my personal life (see this recent article in Wired for an overview; I've been using Scroogle for most of my searches for over a year now), I have to now sing the praises of its selective usefulness.

That book up there? Is somewhere. But I can't find it, and it's one of D's and my favorites. What's worse, until about 7 second ago, I couldn't remember the title.
I knew it had the word "legends" in it, but that wouldn't have gotten me very far in the old days of searching... just try typing "legends" into the search engine over at Powells and see what you get!

But as it turns out, in the world we're living in, I do remember enough about that book to remember it with electronic assistance!

Google's Book Search (still in beta, but fully functional for my purposes) searches the CONTENTS of books. Having read it out loud many time, I remember multiple phrases from that book with crystalline clarity. So, I scooted on over to Google books (http://books.google.com) and typed in a phrase from the song that Mahuika sings while Maui is still up in the air: "Up you go to the first level!" And look at what comes up!

Reference librarians, book-sellers, and grandparents wanting to reintroduce the books of their youth to the next generation should all be doing little dances of glee. I know I am.

July 03, 2007

Shadow Haiku


giddy with power
we teach our shadows new moves

leaving them no choice

(Thanks to the women of One Deep Breath
for their continuing inspiration.)

July 01, 2007

Jump, Rinse, Repeat!

Fabulous weather over here... we've been at the pool every day. And if you played this "filmstrip" on a repeat loop, you'd have a pretty good idea of how D spends his time:


(click on picture to see a larger version)

See, Grandpa? That's some deep-end swimming! Stay tuned for updates on the lovely Miss E and our fancy brunch on the Moshulu...