the list

List After too many summers where we feel like we've left much undone, this year we made a list. It's a fluid thing, getting tweaked and added to... seems I can always think of more I want to do. But June's almost gone, and I'm starting to panic! In case you can't really read it (and actually want to), I'll lay it out for you here:

1. Be happy
2. Bike rides
3. Callum and Momma run a mile
4. Family beach days/mornings/dinners
5. Papa drinks more water!
6. Board game/game night @ least 1x a week
7. Callum cooks dinner
8. Callum and Momma cook together
9. Do more!
10. Explore the area
11. Go to the lab (Callum with Papa)
12. Lunch once a week with Papa
13. Walks after dinner
14. Tides game (local minor league team)
15. Mini trip for Momma and Callum
16. Sleepovers
17. Neighborhood gatherings (India night)
18. Practice lacrosse
19. Callum learns to dive
20. Callum ties a tie
21. Lauren + Lightroom = friends

We're already making a dent, but like I said, there's more to add. Every day I think of things, it seems. We want to soak up every minute of this wonderful season.

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purple haze

Clematis-1 I told you the garden was bursting out at the seams. This clematis has crawled back from near death many a time, and this year it's at its best.

I'm crawling back too. Trying like mad to finish some projects before school lets out. Why does time speed up in April, May and June? We've had a wonderful few days of it and a wonderful weekend too. First trip to the beach of the season, lots of time in the yard with friends. All good. I've resigned myself that I just won't get a handle on Lightroom until summer starts (and my other projects are done), but that I can't let that stop me from taking pictures. It has kinda. I've been too busy to edit and not a little daunted by the task ahead of me. But that's what summer is for. Figuring that stuff out.

We had our Summer Planning Meeting at dinner last night! It was great! I can't wait to get started. Not long now. Callum has seven days left. It feels like no time at all and it feels like forever.

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quick check in

Lenswork-6 So I may be absent from this space a bit longer, I'm afraid. I'm a little under the weather, both emotionally and physically. (Callum went first, then Neel, and now I'm the one feeling sniffly.) I have a load of work ahead of me with deadlines looming, and now we think Callum may have broken a toe this weekend, so I foresee juggling some doctor's appointments in the mix. And wouldn't you know, all the dentil moulding in our house will need two coats. All I want to do is curl up on the sofa and watch HGTV. (There's still that corner of my mind that is totally focused on re-doing my living room, you know.) I'm not even sure I'll get my photos edited and printed for class this week. And next week's assignment (self-portraits), well, I can't even think about that right now.

So bear with me, please. I'll be back around in a bit. And yes, I know I've used that photo before (sue me!). Seemed appropriate with all I'm juggling right now though!

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screen-free week

Callum chair It's screen-free week around these parts which means that Callum signed a pledge at school to be screen free for seven days. It's not that much of a stretch for us, really, but I have to hop on here and write a quick post before he sees me and gets mad and calls me a cheater. I tried to tell him this was work, but I'm not sure he was buying it.

This is just about the second shot I took with my tripod. Not the greatest, but it highlights a part of the living room I'm planning on redecorating (for $500 apparently). Bye-bye chair. There are paint chips on the coffee table as I type, awaiting a decision. Just for one wall, though. And Neel's promised to do the trim. Score!

So this will be fast in case the kid gets up, and I woke up with a headache anyway. I'm waiting for Neel to get up and make us coffee. Plus I have a big project that I'm trying to get off my desk and to my editor for work so I can get all my other projects off my desk and to my editor too. She'll be thrilled! I'll be thrilled. And I have to go to the grocery store. There's no worse chore than going to the grocery store when you're in a food rut. What are you up to today?

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what he said

Sign Even as Neel and I took turns dozing on the sofa last night while we waited for President Obama to come and confirm what we already knew, I was thinking, "Should I turn on the computer and take down Monday's blog post? Is a post about rum drinks too frivilous on such a momentous day?" I decided to keep the post up (it was nearly midnight after all), and besides, it gave me plenty of time to think about what I want to say.

I don't know what I want to say.

There isn't a good word. Happy? Not exactly. But sort of. Relieved? Well yes, but I also worry about retaliation. Grateful? Closer, but grateful for what exactly? I've been chewing on it all day, and I still don't know exactly how to frame what I want to say.

Here's the thing. I don't believe that killing is the answer. I can't celebrate a death; I can't hoot-holler from the rooftops. I think that volence and death only begets more violence and death. But here's the other thing. That man? All he was about was violence and death. I think I surprised Neel a little when I said, "Yes." as President Obama first spoke those words, "...the United States has conducted an operation that has killed Osama bin Laden." I surprised myself. It's not what I'm about. I didn't think I was quite that black and white. But, as I said to Neel, what would we have done with him? Where would we have put him? What would a "trial" have done to us? No, it's better this way. How much worse for the world to have watched Hitler go to trial?

I don't believe in killing. Violence and death only begets more violence and death. Callum, who wrote that note on our chalkboard before leaving the house this morning, told me how they handled it at school today. His teacher had the kids get out their composition books and she had them write down the date they were born. Then today's date. Underneath they wrote, "Today I learned that Osama bin Laden was killed. I was 2 years old on September 11, 2001." They went on to describe how they found out. Callum then told me that she said to the kids (oh, how I wish 5th grade would last forever!), "I know that in the Christian faith you're not supposed to rejoice in a death, but I'm rejoicing in this one."

That's right where I am too, this tiny space of conflict. I don't believe in killing, but oh, how can I not rejoice that that particular piece of evil is gone from our earth.

As always, I'm proud to be an American.


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poetry woman

Gty_phoebe_snow_obit_jp_110426_wg She died yesterday. This is Phoebe Snow. I won't write an obitutary here. Plenty of news sources have done that, recounting (vocab word this week!) her poetic and poignant career and life, both too short. All I can do is talk about what she meant to me. This was my life growing up. Music was always on in our house. Neel and I could really step up in that regard. (We do better now that we have Sonos [a topic for another post], but we could always do even better.) Phoebe Snow, Al Jarreau, Manhattan Transfer. There were plenty others, jazz greats and more, but for me, those were the big three. Before I bought my own first album (Thriller), this was the soundtrack of my life. Not too shabby.

But Phoebe Snow. I loved the others and still do, but Phoebe Snow. Something about that voice and those lyrics drew me in, even as a scruffy, trapped-in-her-own-head little kid. Never Letting Go, Second Childhood, Rock Away, these were the albums we listened to. During the summers, when I was home alone (yeah, we did that back then), I would stack four albums on my parent's turntable and have her songs as the background of all sorts of games - sometimes it was "hotel," sometimes "house." The best was "hardware store." My dad, who is a sculptor had a basement studio with all sorts of wonderful tools and necessary bits like screws and nails. Because music was as essential to his work as breath to life, he rigged speakers from our turntable down to the basement (pre-wireless!). While my parents were at work during the day, the cool basement became my hardware-store home (Treller Hardware, named after the return address I saw on a Publisher's Clearing House Envelope). The piped-in music? What works best for any hardware store? Phoebe Snow of course! I played those albums over and over. Wore the holes in the LPs so thin that sometimes the next record in the stack wouldn't fall. I'd have to interrupt my sale with an important customer to run upstairs and flip the albums.

In my child-mind, I think she was mixed up with a family friend of ours. My first grown-up friend. Both women represented creativity and a kind of soft, soulful comfort. Still, I've listened to her enough as I've aged that her music doesn't take me straight back the way certain songs or smells can. I'm glad. It's like she's imprinted in my very skin. She's in my heart's memory instead.

Here's what's criminal. I only have one of her albums in my iTunes library. I knew I had at least one other CD so I went to grab that and import it this morning. Jewel case: empty. Looks like I might be pilfering one of Callum's iTunes gift cards. (I'll replace it so quickly he'll never know!) What's even worse is that my two favorite albums aren't even on CD. I've found them both on an mp3 download site, but I'm enough of a Mac girl for that to make me a little nervous! I'm also hoping that my dad still has the old LPs. If so, I have a friend who can import them into iTunes for me. I like the idea of that scratchy record sound.

If you don't know her story, you'll read that when you click on the link. She was amazing. It's selfish of me to wish she'd produced more when she gave up music to do what she did.

So I'll leave you with her most famous song. "Poetry Man." Brings tears to my eyes to hear it. Someone said you can't play it loud enough. They're right. 


May you be filled with lovingkindness, Phobe Snow.
May you be well.
May you be peaceful and at ease.

May you be happy


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victory garden

Wheelbarrow (1 of 1) Neel's been getting his hands dirty (and everything else) pretty much every weekend. It's thrilling to see the backyard come together. There's still A LOT to do, but slowly, slowly we're he's making progress.

Garden (1 of 1) This weekend he focused on the vegetable garden. Using wood reclaimed from our kitchen demolition (all but one small piece of 2X4), he created raised beds in the sunniest part of the yard. A good, rich mix of soil went into them, and the dogs were ordered to "keep out!"

Neel & Callum (1 of 1) Sunday was planting day. Neel and Callum worked together to figure out the optimal placement for everything. He has a mix of seeds and plants (even corn!), fruits and vegetables. We both agree that this is trial and error year, but I'm so excited to see it start to come together. I'm looking forward to a bounty of veggies this summer. There's part of me that can't wait, but the bigger part of me is grateful for this part of the process as much as I know I'll be grateful when our little garden really produces. The waiting and watching is just as important as what comes at the end.

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how I spent my Sunday

Spring yard1 It was a good weekend, really! Neel got tons done in the garden. Callum scored the go-ahead goal in his game on Saturday. And I spent Sunday banging my head against my keyboard trying to learn Lightroom.

It'll be worth it in the long run; I know it will. But oh man, today was hard. All day to be able to import that one picture into the blog. And I have so many! More to come, I promise. The hectic life has died down a bit, and I plan to use the breather to get myself pulled together.

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I know, I know...

Gate posts from me are thin on the ground these days. I'm sorry. It's not that I don't have a lot to say. Neel's hands are deep in the garden. Spring is springing all around. We had our last (?) fireside supper of the year. The "show" is next week. I'm trying to decide if I should/can take another photography class.

No, it's not that there's nothing to say. It's that there's too much. Too many pictures. A lot of work. Lots going on. I have masses and masses of pictures that need editing. They clutter my desktop and folders called (helpfully) "untitled." Neel ordered Lightroom for me, and I'll admit that part of me is wating for it to show up and make my life easier. If only I knew how to use it.

These posts always start with a photo for me, and with raw, unedited photos coming out of my ears, it's actually harder, not easier to pay attention to this space. I'm almost ready to go back to shooting in JPEG just so I can have some pictures to show you.

So I can't promise that I'll be back with any regularity. Not this week at least. But I will be back. Like I said, I have lots to say.



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the happiest days

...are the days that babies are born. I think that's a quote from Miss Melanie in Gone with the Wind. I'm too tired to go and look it up. Let me clarify. I did not have a baby. My friend Catherine did!

Many years ago, in another lifetime, I was a professional childbirth educator and doula. If you're not up to clicking on the link, doulas provide labor support services to couples during (and after) their birth experience. Neel and I had an amazing doula at Callum's birth (and an amazing birth, as well), and after that I was caught by the birthing bug. I like works in progress, and, let's face it, I like drama too. What can be more dramatic than the day that a little baby is born?

For various reasons, my life shifted away from labor support when we moved from California (where Callum was born), but I've been known to come out of retirement a time or two to do a brush-up childbirth class for some friends or stand by the side of a couple as their baby comes into the world.

Four years ago, when Tyler and Catherine had Elliot, they asked me to be with them for what turned out to be one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, and ever since then Catherine has said she wanted me "on the books" for when the time came around for the next one to arrive.

That time was yesterday.

IMG_3240 Hello, Landon. Welcome to the world.

If you're not so into birth and birth stories, you may want to skip this part, but I'll be brief. I understood what Catherine (and Tyler too, really) felt, about needing me there, because I've felt it too. That, "I couldn't have done it without you feeling." But truly, she did all of the work. I was just there to show her what a wonderful job she was doing. If I can get soapboxey for just a moment, I'll say that while I have opinions about ways in which the labor process just "works," and maybe even works better, unless it's actually my birth, it's not my birth. I have no right to impose my judgment on how any woman chooses to experience her child's labor and birth. As a doula, my role was to advocate for you. To support you and to create a safe and nurturing, intimate environment for a couple to go through the process of birthing their baby. Catherine wanted as little intervention as possible in her labor, and my role was to support her in getting that.

She'd done it before with Elliot, and, with me there or not, I had no doubt that she could do it again. Of course she did. She and Tyler make an amazing team. He may want to crack a joke, but he knows not to, and he'd do anything for her. You can just see how proud he is of her. He should be. I am.

Many times I've grown close to my clients. Sometimes in situations that were too tragic to comprehend. Sometimes I was lucky enough to be at the births of friends' children. Those are the best. But this? This was extra special. Catherine is right next door to me, and we've grown very close, especially in the four years since Elliot's birth. Especially in the last weeks of this pregancy. She may have felt like she needed me to do this thing, but I was so honored to have been asked to be there. This may be the last baby I see come into the world in such a way. I can't imagine a better way to do it.

And that little guy? Not so little! 9 pounds, 13 oz. Mom had no meds. She's a rockstar.

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serenity now

IMG_2385 Isn't that a gorgeous view? My friend Tracy's house sits on the water, and she gets to look at this every day. Goose honk and wave ripple are her daily symphony. Callum and I were over there on Sunday, and Tracy and I, in need of a good long chat, climbed up on her bed to talk the morning away. This (pretty much) was what we got to look at. Not too shabby.

It is not my internal landscape however. Nothing's wrong, I'm just busy and things feel crazy-hectic right now. Sadly you, dear reader must move to the bottom of my to-do list. I'm signing off for the week. I need to gather things together and create some order.

Hold yourselves in the light, like we must hold the rest of the world. See you next week.


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monday, monday

1. feeling riveted to and devastated by news from Japan
2. moving back into life after spring break
3. reclaiming my house and catching up on neglected (house)work
4. discussions of time and space and orbit sparked by daylight savings at breakfast
5. missing taking photos for the heck of it
6. grateful for routine, especially after ignoring it for a few days
7. irritated that the NFL keeps asking me to buy their stuff
8. loving the feel of the sun on my back this weekend
9. wondering when neighborhood babies are going to arrive
10. marveling over the work Neel got done in the yard yesterday
11. giving up on finding lost lip gloss
12. knowing I will love the longer day especially today after school
13. looking forward to the week
14. appreciating the tremendous help our friends gave Callum yesterday
15. soaking up the reconnections I've made with friends I haven't spent time with in awhile
16. daunted (and excited) by the photography prospects coming down the pike
17. watching color come back to our world
18. trying to chart a calm path as tumult continues to swirl around us
19. putting my nose to the grindstone in the next weeks
20. not needing to watch Ghostbusters ever again.

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the blue rain room

Studio desk 2 As a physical space, the Blue Rain Room still completely exists. It's become a workhorse of a room, in fact. In an email on the Friday before last, I told my friend Seamane (who is also an editor of mine) that I had so much work to do, but all I really wanted was rearrange my office. Don't worry, S., I waited until the weekend, (!) but I'm so glad I just did it.

Studioshelf This room used to be at the back of the house. When we moved in, the previous owners were finishing an addition that added a master bedroom and made what used to be just a bedroom into more of a pass-through room. It's hard to know what to do with a pass-through room. If we'd had a babe, it would have made a great nursery, but as it is, if the room's purpose isn't clearly defined, it becomes a dump-all kind of place. The place where you drop the pile of books that you've already read before you head back to bed to read more. My wall of yarn was there, my sewing machine and the ironing board. And when I started writing from home more full time, there went the laptop. But still, there went the knitting needles from the last project I worked on and the pants that needed a button sewn on. And when I'm trying to write, I feel the weight of all that stuff pressing down on me.

Studiodesk So we put the sewing machine, which I rarely use, away. I can get to it easily, though. I moved a bookcase to free up some wall space to start hanging more pictures, and we I cleared off the tops of shelves and tables. It felt good.

Studiodesk2 I spent a lot of time figuring out exactly how I use my desk (I need room for the mouse and extra room to write notes; I want the books right in front of my face and the pencils too...) before settling on just how I wanted things arranged there. I thought about eliminating one of the shelves (more wall space for photos), but Neel talked me out of it. I talked to Neel about my pipe dream of a Mac side-by-side with my laptop (our Mac is a family computer and it's downstairs) in this space for photo editing, and he pretended to be interested, but he gets nervous when I spend even pretend money. So that didn't go very far...

Studio table So it is a work horse of a room. It's my home office, steps from my bed, where I spend many hours a day writing, but we also wanted it to reflect more of the photography work I'm doing. I used to set my lighbox up on my ironing board, which sat in front of that window. We moved the ironing board out and the table (which had floated awkwardly in the middle of the room) to its place. That wall above the lamp is wide open for photos. 

Studio wall The bulletin board got cleaned off and is awaiting more photos and inspiration. I can't wait.

Oddly, the hardest part for me was that darn ironing board. I mean good grief! But seriously people, even if I don't iron much, you can NOT deny the convenience of having the board set up and ready to go if you need to do a quick swipe on a pair of pants before work. At one point Neel cautioned that I may need to just fold up the ironing board and get it out when I need it. But I know myself, and I need that ironing board to stay out or we're going to be walking around with A) wrinkled clothes or B) a diminishing wardrobe as the pile of wrinkled clothes grows. So I set it up in the guest room. It's there waiting for me. I can live with folding it up when we have company.

Studio I like it that in a lot of these pictures you can see my ubiquitous can of seltzer. I should have also probably added my Tervis tumbler full of tea, without which I can't seem to start my day. Or my laptop actually open (ha!). Or me banging my head against my desk as I can't make a sentence work or find a bit of information I need. Now that would have been authentic!

But even without these things, the room feels good. Right and proper. Fairly minimal, with clean lines and filled with the stuff that's important to me (minus the additional Mac, of course). I'm lucky I get to work here.

PS: Still shooting in RAW. Not so sure about it...

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joy of love

So all month, I've been quietly participating in another photo project, this one an online class called The Joy of Love created by Kelly Willette of Willette Designs. I discovered Kelly (see? even though I haven't met her yet, I just figure we're *that* close) quite on my own a few months ago, and it was only after exploring her blog a bit that I realized she was a local gal. I was excited when this class popped up. I love the structure of a class, and even though I'm hitting my art center course pretty hard right now, this seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. (Plus, Kelly totally lets you off the hook about it, which I need. I'm both a rule follower and a rebel. Enough of a rule follower to want to do everything exactly by the book, and enough of a rebel to want to go my own way. This class, which consisted of a daily prompt as well as camera tips, allowed you to be as little or as heavily involved as you wanted.)

So while I loved the prompts (and especially the camera tips) and couldn't wait to get them in my inbox every evening, I was pretty organic about taking the pictures that she actually prompted.

It's the last day of the month and the last day of our class, so I thought (in no particular order) that I'd post some photos that were inspired by this project.

IMG_9551 Day 12: The eyes

IMG_9205 Day 1: What They Do (Callum on his iPod.)

IMG_9616 (1) Day 22: Where. Technically this should be about where we met, but I always tell the story of how I heard Neel laugh before I ever met him, so a photograph of him laughing seems most appropriate. Those of you who have heard Neel laugh understand why this is my favorite thing about him.

IMG_1014 Day 22: The Face (Portrait). This photo and the next pulled double duty for my art center course and this online project. No matter, I love this portrait of Callum.

IMG_0886 BW Day 25: When you love them most. Except at times during math homework, I love Neel and Callum most when we're all together. They may not be laughing in this picture, but laughing's important too. They've both been so wonderful and supportive of me...especially as I put them in front of the lens. I love how they show their love for me.

So there you have it. A snapshot (get it? har har) of my month with the Joy of Love.  I'm so glad I did it, even though today was my only day posting about it. Technically, I think I'm all over the place, but it was at its very minimum another reason to pull my camera out of the bag. I'm grateful for those lessons to have to look back on. Prompts & tips to have when I'm feeling stuck. What's so funny is that since I started doing this I've had two or three people ask, "Have you met Kelly? You need to meet her." Isn't the world a funny, small place? I've enjoyed basking in her creative space this month, and since she pretty much is right now where I want to be when I grow up, I hope we can meet. I can't wait.

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IMG_9499 I have a lot to say. I have a lot of photos to show you too...after I look through them all. But I have a lot of work facing me as well, and sometimes you have to turn the creative juices that are pouring out of you down to a trickle. Just for the quiet. So I'm taking the day off from blogging. And maybe tomorrow too. I'll try to get my thoughts (and pictures?) organized.

IMG_9500 Back soon.

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hip afternoon

  Hipsta5 For Neel's birthday a few weeks ago, we all spent the day together. Lunch and a movie. I didn't have my camera with me. (Will I never learn? Just always take the darn thing.) So I did what all the cool kids are doing and used the Hipstamatic App on my phone.

Hipsta6 First stop, a local icon. The Donut Dinette. I can't believe we've never been here before. With seats at the counter and reviews that command you to "get here early" for the donuts, this place is truly a gem.

Hipsta4 I love the way the maple syrup jars are lined up on the counter.

Hipsta2 Callum had the cheeseburger deal, and Neel and I had BLTs. Perfect, but I almost wish I'd had the chicken and dumpling special. Plus, we really need to come for breakfast sometime.

Hipsta1 And after, the movie. Have you seen it yet? Everybody has. On the recommendation of a friend we took Callum along. I think our little family brought the mean age down by like twenty years. I'm sure there are those who will take issue with the fact that our eleven year old was there to hear some of the, ahem, colorful language. Myself, I don't have a problem with that. And colorful? This is full-on cursing. Impressive and effective. Powerful too. Callum had one giggle when the words first started flying, but after that he settled in. They're just words, after all. And watching Colin Firth masterfully struggle to speak it made me think that the worst words are the ones we can't get out.

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home safe

IMG_9142 This bad beagle jumped the wire Saturday night. One hard-to-latch gate that hadn't quite been latched (it was my fault), and like a flash she was gone. Out and into the dark.

We didn't know it until it was time to call them in. Thea and Violet (good girls) came right away, and it's not all that unusual for Lucy to lag a bit behind, lingering over some doggie-pleasing smell in the back yard. But when I called once, then twice and not a rustle. I knew something was wrong.

It was 10:20 p.m.

Of the three dogs, it's Lucy's escape I fear the most. The other two? When they've escaped, they waddle their way back to the front door. Not Lucy. Nose to the ground, on-the-scent beagle, she heeds nothing when she's past the confines of the gate. And she bolts too. The few times she's slid past the perimeter of our yard, she's bolted as fast as she could, nose and body low to the ground, running flat out. It's happened a couple of times. Enough so that we learned the trick of luring her back. Sweet-talking words, "Come on baby girl," and me of all people, low to the ground like I can't wait to see her. She always comes to me.

IMG_9144 Standing in the dark, feeling the temperature dropping, it was hard to imagine that this was anything but impossible. I hadn't started to panic exactly, but I just didn't see how, in the dark late night with a bolting dog, we could ever get her home.

Callum was undone. We traipsed around the back yards. Neel and Callum walked the block with a flashlight. We called out as loud as we dared given the late hour. A neighbor came by walking her dog, and she promised to keep an eye out. Then Neel decided to get in the car and drive. Somehow we both knew I should stay home, in case she scented her way back, so when he got Thea into the car, Callum and I stayed behind. Callum, restless, couldn't stay outside.  I, restless, couldn't go in.

So I stood there waiting, breathing in the night air. It's funny. I'm rarely out that late, unless it's running from the car to the house. Getting inside, out from the cold. It was a beautiful night. Star-filled and crisply clear. Listening to every rustle, every distant bark, I tried not to worry, but really? How could this end well? When I stepped inside for a minute, Callum went out to spell me. We all knew that someone needed to be outside at all times, waiting for her to come home.

I came out to find Tyler talking with Callum. Our avowed dog non-loving neighbor took our boy out looking, diving through back-yard underbrush to search for our pup. I knew it was as much to keep Callum's mind occuppied as anything else, and I was so grateful for that. I was not doing such a good job at that myself.

So there I stood, alone in the yard. Listening to every rustle and every distant bark. Trying not to worry. I'm still not sure how it happened, but my mind alerted to more barking and movment along the street. Bolting toward me, flat-out fast. Could it be our beagle?

I called out her name, "Come here, Lucy-girl!" But she was so low to the ground, I almost wondered if it was our height-challenged Corgi. Had Neel let her out of the car to come home? No! It was a beagle, certain of it. Lucy, making her mad-cap way as fast as she could back to her home.

She tumbled up to the yard, just short of me and stopped flat. She's been known to dart away before, but she didn't this time. She wouldn't look at me, but stared instead at the house as I dove towards her and wrapped my fingers around her collar. That's when my heart started beating madly and my breath came fast. I called Neel right away. "She's home!" I told him. "She just ran back to me."

He was back in a heartbeat, and the three dogs were reunited in the warmth of the house. We tried to call Tyler, and before the phone stopped ringing, I looked up to see him and Callum walking down the block towards the house. Hugs all around. Relief-filled hugs and tears too. And everyone bundled back into the warmth, away from the cold night.

IMG_9143 She'd been gone an hour. It was now nearing midnight. No one was ready for sleep at that point. Thea and Violet were restless, demanding biscuits as if they were the ones who'd been on the great adventure. (Although I guess Thea does have a point when she claims that she "herded" Lucy home.) Lucy watched them pace about the place a bit before curling up on the Christmas bed and falling gratefully asleep. Lucy, we've always joked, has never been the brightest of our dogs. And we pictured her blithely wandering along before suddenly realizing that she was far from home and the world was a big, big (scary) place. "Mama? Papa? Callum? Where am I?"

It was a scary, long hour for all of us. We all fell gratefully into bed after that particular nightmare. Neel was up before me Sunday morning, and when I came downstairs, he was already laughing. "I had to carry Lucy outside this morning," he told me. "She was curled up in her crate and shaking, and she wouldn't go."

Then he told me, "When I set her outside, she just stood there on the porch. Still shivering and obviously scared to go into the yard. Thea took one look at her, barked right in her face and pushed her down the steps.

"She's fine now."

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easy like Sunday morning

IMG_8418 Very occasionally we'll get in the mood for a big breakfast on Sunday mornings. I should amend that. It's likely that we're often in the mood; it's just rare that we get around to actually making that big breakfast. I wish we did it more. (I also wish we'd had vodka for bloody mary's but that's a story for another day, I suppose.)

This past weekend was a whirlwind, part of which was having company come through for dinner Saturday night. I made our favorite potatoes, and despite the fact that they seem to be everyone's favorite potatoes, we had leftovers. So Sunday morning we heated up the leftover potatoes, and I made scrambled eggs to go with them.

IMG_8428 As I was cooking, I tried to remember when I learned to make scrambled eggs. Or did I actually ever learn? Did it just evolve, this egg business? I can remember when I first really started cooking for myself, sometime in high school, and coming home and making omlettes. Way harder than scrambled eggs, so it had to start somewhere. I haven't made an omlette in years and years. I have to think the last time I made one was standing in my childhood kitchen, using the pan that you didn't wash exactly, but instead just wiped out.

Is it like riding a bike, I wonder? Omlette-making? Will that wrist-flick and flip come back to me if I try again. We should make omlettes sometime. We really should. But I sure like scrambled eggs.

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washed up

IMG_8117 As is typical for us around Christmas time, we had a major appliance break down this year. Two years ago, the refrigerator. This time it was the dishwasher. To date, we simply have not had time to go and look for a new one. As Neel is the chief bottle-washer, this change impacts his life most directly.

We're all stepping up. Well, I'm stepping up. Normally, I can not be accused of having dishpan hands. Our division of labor falls, and I think I've told you this before, so that I'm primarily doing what I like, which is the cooking, and Neel is doing primarily what he likes, which is keeping things clean. 

We don't make a ton of dishes, but it's too much for one person to tackle alone. So I take better care when I'm cooking to clean as I go, and I help dry when Neel has a big batch in front of him. Our sink is big and deep, and he fills it with hot and soapy water. If I'm moving around in other parts of the house, I can hear the burble of the water and the clink of the plates and glasses. (Given Neel's propensity for breaking our glassware, this could get dicey, but so far so good!) A couple of days ago he said, "I actually kind of like doing the dishes like this. It's nice, and you can look out the window."

Now if you know Neel at all, doesn't this sound just like him? It really does, but I had to find out too. So one day when he was at work and we had a load piling up, I filled the sink myself and began the rhythm of rinse and soap, wash and rinse. It's the rhythm that draws him, and it draws me too. Rinse and soap, wash and rinse. He's right. You can look out the window, and you sort of lose yourself there and in the rhythm of the work. I'm reminded of a line from Enchanted April, "Your mind slips sideways." I should watch that again.

When I was growing up, doing the dishes was a family affair. Each of us had a job, and there was a rhythm to that too. My mom cleared and put away and my dad washed while I loaded the dishwasher. Rinse and soap, wash and rinse. That evening ritual was as significant as was our sitting down to the table together. Our rhythm here is different. There is much homework to be done, both before and after dinner, and blog posts to be written. So Neel bears the brunt of this important work each night. But I hear the water splash in the sink, and the clink of a glass, and it's all connected. I'm a little girl again. The past is now. Rinse and soap, wash and rinse.

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