Monday, April 19, 2010

The wind is picking up and the clouds are moving in beautifully. Willow was a bundle of energy at her softball game, so much so that I wonder if changing weather affects her the same way it affects me. I always feel a burst of energy whenever the dark clouds spread across the sky. It's almost as if the wind-tossed trees inspire me to similar movement.

One cute moment during the game was when a member of the opposing team stopped running toward first base so she could help the girl at first base retrieve the ball. I love it when young kids thumb their noses at the whole concept of competition and help each other out like that. Good for her!

In a purely tangential way, that reminds me of a brief interaction I witnessed at camp last week. I was talking to a boy outside the camp office when a girl came out of the nearby girls' bathroom. She had obviously just finished washing her hands, because she was shaking them dry as she approached us. "The toilet is clogged!", she exclaimed. The boy looked at her hands in horror.


This is one of the reasons I keep this blog. I'd never remember this stuff if I didn't write it down.

Currently listening to: "Josephine & Elsewhere"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring is definitely here, with warm days and mild nights replacing the moist greyness of late Winter. That said, I notice that it is supposed to rain over the next couple of days.

Nathan will be at science camp this week, and I'm actually working during the day, so I could be his field instructor. I worked the daytime shift a couple of weeks ago too, and will be doing three more weeks of days in May, all so a coworker of mine can work the nights and go to school during the day. I've been wanting to get back into the field, and he needs the money, so this benefits both of us.

I've just been showing Willow some of my blog posts from the year she was born. She is now old enough to appreciate them, and was especially amused by the fact that the first thing her sister did to her when she arrived home from the hospital was lick her. This is one of the many reasons I blog. It's an inorganic storage for the memories lost in my cerebral files.

We've been miniature golfing over the last couple of days, Friday night with Jeanine and her daughter, and yesterday by ourselves. Willow even got a couple of holes in one. She wants to go back and do it again today, but I think two days in a row is enough. Daytime golfing is more problematic anyway, because it seems to be a popular suburban pastime. Yesterday, we found ourselves stuck behind a group of five middle-aged, uniformly obese, potty-mouthed golfers. Finally, we just skipped a hole and played through. That's suburbia for you, I guess.

Today, a lazy Sunday stretches in front of us. We haven't decided what to fill it with yet, but I suppose it could be anything.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Here are some words I spoke at my mom's memorial:

I considered just getting up and speaking here without referring to any notes or script, but after thinking about it, I realized that reading something would be the perfect tribute to my mom, given her long standing love of the written word. On the same note, this has got to be the most fitting place in the whole world to hold her memorial, here in the library she loved, where she volunteered her services for hundreds, no, thousands, of hours over the years.
I could very well of spoken without a script, without even a single note to myself. I do it nearly every day to large audiences. Of course, the audiences I speak to are all in the 10 to 12 year old range, but that doesn’t make a difference. One thing I learned from my mom was that nobody, no matter what their age may be, should ever be talked down to. She taught this by example, by treating me and my brother with respect, and always allowing us to express ourselves, even when our methods of expression no doubt puzzled or annoyed her. I guess it’s a good thing she liked puzzles, the more annoying the better. In fact, puzzles were just the start of it. As I sort through her things, I’m reminded of her love of calligraphy, rubber stamps, postage stamps, cats, logic problems, humor, art, music, and so much more.
She also taught us the value of the written word, which is why I wrote some to share today. My brother and I both grew up to be readers and thinkers, and I feel we owe this to her. Of course, we’ve also inherited from her the tendency to chuckle at people who use poor grammar.
I have this image of my mom, spending a large part of her life stuffing her head with knowledge and stories, one book at a time. She gathered worlds of words under one roof, and was still in the process of transferring them all to her brain when she died. It is more than a lifetime’s worth of work, and now that task has truly been transferred to Greg and me. The reading will continue, both through us and her Granddaughter, Willow, who already shares not only her grandmother’s looks, but her love of a good story.
It’s strange how, when we end, our stories go on without us. Truth be told, they begin before we do as well. We just step into our own stories for awhile before bowing out again. My mom, her lines spoken, her part ended, has simply left the stage. Or maybe we should look at it as the last page being turned, and the book closing. I think my mom would appreciate the analogy.
My mom’s book closed in the heart of Winter, so this is the first Spring in 71 years that my mom isn’t here to enjoy. She can’t smell the blooming plant life, can’t hear the birds, can’t enjoy the warmer days. It doesn’t seem like a Silent Spring though. She lives on through those of us left behind, and I find myself appreciating the life she gave me with a little more care and a little more gratitude, as all around us the seasonal renewal sweeps us forward, continuing the cycle.