30 May 2011

I'm going to...

The sun is warming our tiny sliver of the earth, finally, and we are out the door as soon as the breakfast dishes reach the sink. All that spring energy, on edge, has been waiting, waiting, waiting for a weekend like this last one. A weekend that lets us go to it. From building a table, to a t-ball game, to hours in the garden, to smelt fishing, we went, went, went.

And all the while, T was saying things like, "When I grow up, I'm going to be a furniture builder. Not a carpenter who builds houses or large buildings, but a carpenter who builds tables and chairs and dressers and desks and bookshelves."
"This is the best Saturday I have ever had! I mean, can you believe that we got to do t-ball for so much of the morning? And then I'm climbing trees, playing fetch with Tess, practicing more t-ball... I'm going to try to keep having this much fun as I grow up."
"So if you want to help sort the fish, Mama, the smelt are these ones, and the herring are the ones with larger eyes and a blue stripe on the back. Watch out for the crabs, but they go in the bucket over there. And then look at your hands - see all the shiny scales stuck to you? I'm going to do this every time we can."

Our hands sticky, legs tired from the weekend, eyelids drooping, stomachs gurgling, I fry up a couple smelt. It's well past bedtime, and there's school tomorrow. But we eat the tender fish with a bit of sand grit that I forgot to rinse off. The sun is red, near fully set over the large island across the Sound. And I think, I'm going to do this - this life - every time I can.

20 May 2011

family myth

Reading my grandmother's letter to T - her reply to his letter asking about her "old country family" - I get to the part where, yes, my great-great-grandfather, between two wives, fathered 23 children.

T: WHAT? Twenty-three kids?! I don't think that's even possible.
S: I know it seems crazy, doesn't it? But, it's true, Abraham had eleven children and then that wife, Sarah, died and he married another woman and they had twelve more children.
T: I know that my great-grandma would not lie in this letter, but I'm thinking this has to be a myth. You know, like greek myths, but this is a myth about way too many kids!
S: It's true that if someone had 23 kids it wouldn't seem real. What do you think is a more usual number of children to have in one family?
T: I won't have more than two or three kids, because if I had even four, then I could end up with maybe 14 grandchildren and that's just too many to remember.
T: Holy cow, Mama! So, Abraham. This is even more amazing than all the kids!
S: ... What is?
S: Ooooh, no, we aren't related to Abraham Lincoln; we just happen to have a long-ago relative named Abraham.
T: Are you sure? Did you check the names in the letter?
S: I'm sure - here, you can look again. Now that would be some family myth, wouldn't it?
T: Yeah, better than the greek myths for sure.

16 May 2011

in my mind

After non-stop talk, on the drive home, about video games/birthday party/balloons, I told T that we were now officially done with that topic.
T quote du jour: "Okay, but it's still happening in my mind."

13 May 2011

dragon challenge

T and I head to the beach. The sun is springlike warm, the breeze is easy, and the tide is out enough to check on the dragon caves. We clear the bit of trash that's found its way into the caves. T rearranges a nest protection blockade that he put up last month. I pocket a piece of light green beach glass.

Then T exclaims, "Mama! A present from the dragons! It's a real dragon master's staff! See the darker wood here? And see the important curve?" It's not long before we are sandy-boot deep in dragon focus. Sticks with runes, signs of battles, signs of celebrations (I learn of their parties for the single scale they each shed once a month).

And then the challenge appears - a tire barely visible beneath the sand. "Mama, this is the dragon challenge. We must unbury this tire so that we can lift it. Only then will the dragon master's staff gain its first level of power."

And unbury it we do, with small pieces of wood to dig with, hands to scoop with, and 'uffdas!' to exasperate with. The final lift is a two-person job, and we tug and dig our heels into the slippery sand. But it's up, and the challenge is won.

We walk back up to the house, T's staff in one hand, a small piece of driftwood graced with dragon runes in his other hand. "You know... dragon challenges are very hard. Not everyone can do them. Just like not everyone even believes in dragons. The dragons must know that I'm one of the ones who can do this. Who can believe and take the challenges."

11 May 2011

monster writing

It was a letter-writing morning, and writing is most fun when you use at least two, preferably three, styles of penmanship. And it is best to understand what types of writing best fit which recipients...

T quote du jour: "Writing gives us so much - cursive, regular letters, block letters, bubble writing, and monster writing. That one's my favorite, of course. It's maybe not the best for writing a letter to a grandma, and dragons won't be able to read it, but it works for being silly at home and for writing to elves or goblins."

09 May 2011

old country food

S: Sometime soon, would you like to make some food from an old country that's connected to us?
T: Sure! That would be great! So, like sushi?
S: Um, well, no, we aren't from Japan.
T: I know that, but we used to eat sushi in Eugene. Oregon - that's our old country, right? Because we moved from there, where I was born, to here, where we never lived before.
S: Oh, I see. Well, an old country, like we've been reading about, means where the first immigrants came from. So in our family, from Papa and I, that would be Norway, Sweden, Germany, England, and such.
T: Oh... Okay. Still, maybe sushi sometime?

family life

T and I are still studying early, european immigrant life. Reading about pioneer family life, T quote du jour: "So, we are different because you don't cook - Papa does. Well, and you don't really sew, and not late at night. And it's more for us that reading is the center of our family life, not food from an old country. But we're the same in that you do pretty much all of the housework and take care of me most times, and Papa does most of the big outside work. We all do the smaller outside work and take care of the dogs. And I help with sometimes housework and sometimes outside work."

And it's true. The differences are perhaps more subtle than we think, even as we fade ever further away from those early immigrant times and from the land they worked.

07 May 2011

that crazy imagination

T quote du jour: "Imagination, to me, means happy and tons of creation. I mean, so many crazy things can happen to you if you just believe your imagination. And I do. Believe my imagination."

So many crazy things... including the allusive "goss-n-caw" that we spy walking through the house. And the slimy, secret power of Madrona blossoms.  

And we do. Believe our imaginations. 

05 May 2011

dancing and singing no matter what

T quote du jour: "When I get angry, my body is still so frustrated that it doesn't usually do the calming down the right way. (pause) I think beastie boys would really help with that. Body movin', brass monkey - that funky monkey, whatcha whatcha whatcha wan, whatcha want... because then I'm dancing and singing no matter what."

03 May 2011

pirate magic

T quote du jour: "It's important to me to work on my magic. So, I'm thinking of getting a magic book, a cauldron, and attachments for my wand. Maybe also, at some point, a small pirate sailboat. I've told you, you know, that I plan to travel to places of the world when I'm an adult. That includes the high seas. Pirate ships are pretty much the only thing to handle the high seas."

With a double-flip of the wand, the pirate call is abated for the time being. But the magic work is just beginning...

02 May 2011

long life

T quote du jour: "I am so happy that I am still alive! Because, I mean, I have been alive a long time, and I am STILL a kid. It's not like 2 years and that's it. Humans get to live a really long time."

And it is true... a life of magic, of tradition, of friends... a life-long journey.