Wednesday, August 03, 2016

randomly on Wednesday

Oh, the random list blog post. It's just so very mid-oughts, don't you think? And maybe a little lazy? Still, it can be a useful way to get the creative juices flowing when you're a little behind on posts. And behind I am because this summer, while not especially busy as summers go, has still been flying by even as sometimes the days creep along.

I hardly signed the kids up for any activities, aside from piano and  a few weeks of swim lessons. No camps, no team sports, not even the summer reading program at the library. I like to think it's because my hippie self wants them to explore their creativity and learn to be bored and roam free, but it's mostly because I'm a slacker and all the fun stuff was booked up months before I even thought about signing them up. (I believe I mentioned this before. I must have a complex. Or a tendency to repeat myself.) Who's ready to think about canoeing camp in early March anyway? Not me. Still, I vow to do better next year. We've had fun, though, frequenting the public pool (it's been hot and muggy more days than not), picking wild berries, biking when the weather isn't miserable, and checking out stacks of books from the library, everything from the Little House on the Prairie series (Anya) to Garfield comics (sigh, Daniel) to instructions on making kombucha (me, though I have yet to try it).

It's been a nice summer, relaxing and relatively drama-free, though we're starting to get a little bit bored with each other and twitchy. I know my patience is running shorter than usual. I had considered taking the kids on a road/camping trip this month so we would have something to look forward to in our last weeks of summer, but that's not going to work out because I have a gig next weekend. It's not particularly high pressure, but I did get the music rather late and I need to stick around so I can learn it and rehearse with the soloist. Also, camping is totally miserable this time of summer because by now the mosquitoes are in full force and insatiable, the beastly little vampires.

Anyhoo, here is a random list of some stuff I keep thinking of blogging about but haven't taken the time to do it. If you follow me on Instagram you've seen some of the pics, I'm sure:

1.) 

Early last week we went to Pope Farm Conservancy along with gosh knows how many people (thousands) for Sunflower Days. Pope Farm is a special, beautiful place for sure. We've visited many times in different seasons, but this year was the first time we made it during the peak of the blooming sunflowers (they plant 9 acres of sunflowers every year at different locations; this year it was on a hillside on the western most part of the park) and it. was. absolutely. stunning. It was also completely overrun with other people, mostly families trying to get portraits of their sweaty, uncooperative toddlers...I look forward to going back when it's a little less crowded, but I'm glad I could see the flowers in full splendor.

2.) 

Swimming has been the main activity of the summer, and I'm not sad about that. The kids aren't interested in swim team, thank goodness (I know it's a great experience for a lot of people, but that much time commitment and compulsory volunteer hours do not mesh with my summer vibe, yo) but they had several weeks of swim lessons and want to visit the pool during open swim most afternoons. For the first time ever, they are independent in the water, which means when I get tired of playing pool tag and ring toss or whatever we're doing, I can go swim laps and they can play on their own. Heaven.

3.) 

We went to Kansas for a family reunion over the past weekend and spent a few days in the company of my mom's side of the family. We stayed at a rural Baptist retreat center, the grounds of which were resplendent with wildlife and Bible verses; on an evening walk I saw at least as many skunks as references to the lamb of God carved above stone benches. The last time I saw most of these relatives was over three years ago, and a lot has happened in that time - serious illness, cross-country moves, new babies. It was truly wonderful seeing everyone, and I got homesick for Kansas like I always do until I remember about the politics (their governor is even worse than ours) and searing summer heat.

4.) 

One evening in Kansas we squeezed in a sunset visit to the family farm to see the goats! The goats joined the farm just a few weeks ago and were procured in order to, as my cousin John put it, "turn weeds into dollars." Goats, you see, are the single most effective way to control wild blackberries that are taking over the pastureland where the cattle graze. I presume the goats will eventually be sold for meat, but in the meantime, they are pretty damn cute. They also really like my dad, who generously pulled down a few branches of a mulberry tree so they could nibble the leaves. It was utterly bucolic.


Once he did that, they kept following him around until we sidled out of the fenced area and left.

5.) I keep going round and round and round again about whether I should expand my career options. My teaching job is only a few hours a week and doesn't pay well, and freelancing is stressful and unpredictable. I have a website with my professional bio and contact information that I've been meaning to revamp and update for over a year, if that tells you anything about how discouraged I am about the path I'm currently on. Or maybe instead of a path I should call it a treadmill because it feels like I'm not getting anywhere. I love what I do, but I wish it were more reliable. So then is it worth giving up to pursue something else? I can't decide. I'm also not getting any younger. Ho hum.

6.) Remember how I have been taking voice lessons? I've had three so far and it's going well. I'm having loads of fun with it, both because Jane (my teacher) is wonderful in so many ways, and also because there's no pressure for me to be any good. I'm not going to be a singer. I'm just learning how to sing better for no one's benefit but my own and it's a blast. It's still hard, but I'm getting better. It helps to breathe through a straw.

Well, I think that's it for tonight. My knitting beckons, and Stuart and I are finally catching up on the final season of The Good Wife.  I promise I won't be a stranger. 

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