Sunday, August 24, 2008

An interview with Mane

I stole this interview from Heather at The Extraordinary Ordinary (see the list of blog links on my sidebar). These are Mane's answers...

1. What is something your mom always says to you?

"I'll get you some water if you say, 'Please.'"

2. What makes mom happy?

"Being nice & sharing with other friends."

3. What makes mom sad?

"Not being nice to her."

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

"Tickle me."

5. What was your mom like as a child?


6. How old is your mom?

"I don't know."

7. How tall is your mom?

"I don't know."

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

"Read Harry Potter."

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?

"Read a book."

10. What is your mom really good at?

"Oh. I know what you are really good at! Mommy's really good at going on the computer. And swinging me in the hammock. And cuddling."

11. What is your mom not very good at?

"Playing with legos."

12. What does your mom do for her job?

"Homeschool me all day."

13. What is your moms favorite food?

"I don't know. Apple pies and pumpkin pies."

14. What makes you proud of your mom?

"Doing good work on the computer, and when she loves me and daddy, too."

15. What do you and your mom do together?

"Homeschool. Math. Reading. Sit by each other at the table. Play with the rats."

16. How are you and your mom the same?

"We're both Scottish. We both have dark blond hair. We both have cute fingertips. We both wearing earrings."

17. How are you and your mom different?

"Mommy has a watch, and I don't. Mommy has glasses, and I don't. Mommy has long earrings, and I don't have very many."

18. How do you know your mom loves you?

"When she kisses me and hugs me, and when she putzes with my hair."


This is, by far, the best chocolate I've ever had! From "Ancho and Chipolte chilies supply the heat and dried cherries supply the sweet in this deliciously exciting chocolate. Initial chili flavors transition to deep sweet cherry and finish again on a pleasantly warm chili note."

If you like Mexican mole, you've got to try this chocolate...

That's all I have to say today. :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thoughts from the beach at Lake Superior...

Last week we camped...5 days, 4 nights...just on the outskirts of Duluth. We brought the whole family + Novio.

On Wednesday evening I sat on the rock beach watching the waves come in, nestled up close to Mango, the wind whirring in our ears. Mane collected "rock babies." Vespera and Novio sat quietly, first taking pictures and then just still and contemplative. My heart was so full I could have laughed or cried. Instead I poured out my thoughts to Mango, poured them into the wind and the waves.

I have always loved the passion and intensity of teenage emotion. I love that electricity. And I think we are faced with a couple of choices as we grow out of our teenage years. We can stop feeling all that intensity because it's heavy and difficult, because it's hard to be stable and cope with life at that level of emotionality all the time. OR we can allow ourselves to feel, to be fully alive. And, in being fully alive, we have so much more experience and depth to the emtional intensity that follows. It makes your heart feel like bursting so very often, but the joy is just as deep and intense. Sometimes I feel as though I might drown in my own heart, covered over by the depth of all that I've learned and experienced since those teenage years.

I was aware, sitting there on the beach, that Vespera and Novio were in the midst of one of those deeply emotional moments. Novio comes from the ocean, and surfing was his hobby. Since moving to Minnesota he has not visited a body of water so vast that you cannot see the other side. The water and waves of Lake Superior were both the wound and the balm at the same time. So poignant. So bittersweet. The waves washed up old memories, even while we were there creating new ones.

I asked if the Lake made him homesick. His answer was heavy but quick and direct, "Yes, but Vespera is here, and I want to be with her." And they curled into each other, one wave inside another.

I honor the depth and breadth and truth of the emotions that my child and her Novio held out there in the wind that evening, while also acknowledging that the strength and depth of my own emotions go deeper...just because I've lived longer and known more, because I know them AND I know me. The wild ride of learning that we have intense and passionate emotional selves that begins in the teen years is really only the beginning. I can keep a cap on it better now if I want to, but when I sit in that quiet created by the rushing wind and crashing waves and allow myself to feel, I know that I draw from a well that is deeper now than it used to be. And I am so glad. I feel as though so many people around me have forgotten how to really just be connected to the waters of passion and intensity, of life and vitality. And the lack of connection limits our ability to love, to know joy, to be loved.

I do wonder how this relates to our ability to know God and be loved by God. God is such a powerful, intense, and vast Being. We connect a little bit to that vastness in those in-between years when we're so full of life and vitality ourselves. So much gets lost in the race to be successful, to care for our families, to do the necessary day-to-day things that we forget. We forget to open our arms wide to the wind and let the waves wash over us. We're filled with inhibitions that come from more experience, from fear. But our possibilities for understanding and knowing that Greatness, that Vastness are so much greater as we gain experience, more life, more depth. It's a conundrum, a paradox. Experience creates our inhibitions, but it also increases our potential for knowing and being loved by God and other human beings.

And this is why I love the wind and the waves. I love the way that the natural world grounds me in my humanness while drawing me into eternity, into a full, wide, expansive relationship with God and with others.

I want to live with the expansiveness of a teenager and with the tiny bits of wisdom I've gained since then. I want to put to use the full range of human life and emotion that God has granted me. I am willing.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Ultimate Camping Trip Packing List

Last time we were packing for a camping trip Vespera & Novio stood around my counter grinning and laughing about my LIST. Apparently they've never known anyone who writes lists so neurotically (they haven't seen my mother in action). Vespera actually whispered to Novio that I write grocery lists. *gasp* Who has ever heard of such a thing?! The truth is that my brain stopped optimal functioning somewhere around my 3rd week of pregnancy, and I haven't been able to remember things very well ever since. So, I write lists. Once I had written the same camping list over and over every summer for I-don't-know-how-many summers, I decided to write the list on the computer and keep it. Back then I didn't know that one only has to do a google search to find the list they're looking for, and then one doesn't actually have to even come up to the original list. So, this is my own original list...for those of you who just google everything. ;)

Grilling utensils
Water Bag
Cooking Pots
Coffee Pot
Plates & Bowls
Eating Utensils
Peeler Dicer Slicer
Dish Soap
Storage containers

Sleeping bags
Air mats
Light Blankets

Camera & Film
Trash Bags
Bikes & Trailer
Pen & Paper
Reservation Info.
Cell Phone

Clothes & Personal:
Shorts & Pants
Swimming Suits
Hair Ties
Toothbrushes & Paste
Shampoo & Conditioner
Bug Stuff
Itch Relief
Fingernail Clippers

Before Leaving:
Close Windows
Check Laundry
Run Dishwasher
Take out trash
Unplug computer
Tell the grandparents we’re gone

I cross off the things I'm not bringing for this particular trip as soon as I get started. Then I figure out how many meals we need, write a meal plan, and write a list of what foods we need to bring to accomplish the meal plan. Presto. Finished. Sounds like a lot of work. I promise it's less work than running to the grocery store every five minutes after you've already left on your trip.

So, that's my Martha Stewart moment for the day. Maybe I should call this Domestic Notes from the MidnightCafe...unless ya'll have another suggestion.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Day 13 - Good News, Bad News

Good News: Running the oven on really hot got rid of the mouse smell. I even used the oven the next day and there was still no mouse smell.

Bad News: Mango's first flight was delayed so he missed his connecting flight to Minneapolis. He'll still be home today...just later than expected.