Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Sweet Summertime


Summer seems to rush by in such a blur. It seems like I spent all winter just waiting for these warm days and then I blink and they are gone, yet  I am thoroughly enjoying the days as they crawl by. One of the things I am enjoying most is watching the Bumper play. Now that the days are warm and the evenings linger until the sun makes its way to bed sometime around eight or nine, the Bumper can stay outside longer.

She can go to the park more. She can run around under the sprinkler while Nana waters the garden. This year she discovered fireflies and she takes great delight in looking for them as soon as it starts to get dark. I love watching her excitement and usually end up running races with her as we chase them down. We take a trip to our local zoo at least once or twice a week. The Bumper likes looking at the animals and I like the walk. The beach is not very far away either so there are days when we just get in the car and go in the early evening after the crowds have left.

My favorite activity so far this summer was the day we spent down at Jane's Island Campground. Two of our good friends, Ray and Jenny Gable,  were camping down there and invited us to come and join them. It was a place just down the road from us and one we didn't even know existed. I for one am glad we discovered it. The Bumper was enchanted from the start. She loved being next to the water, and taking nature hike with Nana. Along the way we found pine cones, listened to the birds, looked for turtles, and climbed a tower which allowed to see almost to the Chesapeake Bay. My favorite part of the day came at night. Ray became Master of the Fire Pit as we all waited until he told us that the flame was just the right height for---- drum roll please -- toasting marshmallows! That weekend I inducted the Bumper into the time honored camping tradition of s'more making. I will confess that the combination of graham cracker, chocolate, and hot marshmallow was much more appealing when I was seven, as an adult I find s'mores far too sweet, but who am I to nay say tradition? The Bumper adored the processes of toasting marshmallows-- especially seeing the the marshmallows become little fireballs!
View of the Canal

Hi Mom!

Sunset- almost time!

Watching the Master

Not too close
 The s'mores were kind of take them or leave them, but she took delight in her homemade torches. At the end of the evening we took home a thoroughly worn out and sticky Bumper. I could not have asked for a better way to spend the day. Next year we hope to take the Bumper camping overnight. I am looking forward to sharing that experience with her. In the meantime we will be enjoying picking tomatoes, chasing fireflies and blowing bubbles. Summer is sweet.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Green Grows the Garden

Sprinkler Fun
As much as I wanted too, I really haven't been out in the garden much at all this summer. I had high hopes, dreams, and aspirations, but then reality snuck up and bit me. In theory organic gardening is an environmentally friendly way to give my family wholesome, unprocessed food. Images of strolling out into the back yard and having plump ripe tomatoes fall off into my waiting hands came into my mind, bright heads of lettuce practically jumped into my bowl and the sweet peas practically shelled themselves.

In real life not so much. In real life gardening is a lot of hard work. There is the planting, the weeding, and the watering; all of it must be done fairly consistently or the garden will not grow. While my spirit may have been willing, my hands, back and feet were not as enthusiastic. If the Bumper had her way we would be outside everyday, all day, but while she enjoys 'helping' most of the time her efforts have been destructive rather than productive a fact which has frustrated her Nana no end.

When the Bumper is with me she is well behaved. When the Bumper is with her Nana she is well behaved. When the Bumper is with the two of us, however, she turns into a running, screaming, refusing to listen, little terror. (I love my daughter dearly, but I would be struck down where I stand if I proclaimed she was a perfect angel). The point being Nana has banished us from the garden until harvest time.  On the upside my herb pots are bursting at the seams and I have made daily use of fresh parsley, basil and mint.

In a completely different vein I am unable to participate in Yarndale this year. I finished my mandala, but it was far too big! By the time I realized that it was too late for me to make another since I was in the middle of my College Algebra class. Nana is very happy with this development because now she has a lovely new table decoration. I have been steadliy working on the bumpers blanket and it is growing, just not as fast as she is. The Bumper is quite pleased with the  progress because now it covers her from chest to toes. I have been bitten by the knitted sock bug and am currently trying to make my first pair, and like the Bumper's blanket progress is slow but steady. Lucy at Attic 24 has also finally posted her Bower bird pattern and I can't wait to try it! Combine all that with writing a short story, working on my novel, getting my Graduate School application package ready, and I am one busy lady. Of course my life would not be complete without the daily, wonderful, exhilerating, exasperating challenging task of raising the Bumper. I am still finding my rythm and my niche, but I am definately enjoying the journey.
Bumper and Hangus

P.S. Pulled some luscious
Kale out of the garden and will be having that with supper. Life is good.


Friday, July 4, 2014

A Fourth of July Grattitude List

Wow! It has been two whole months since I last posted anything. My only excuse is that College Algebra took over my life. I had not had that kind of intense study in years. While I took the course I spent twelve hour days working on nothing but math problems. I have to give credit to the Bumper's Nana. If she had not been willing to watch the Bumper while I was in class and did the homework, then I would not have been able to complete the course. I am very grateful for her help and support. Speaking of gratitude, today is July 4th and I am grateful to be living in the United States of America. Here is why:

1. Freedom of Religion-- here in this country I am free to practice, or not, my faith so long as it does not infringe on the rights of others to practice theirs. Right now I am a practicing Christian of the Roman Catholic denomination. I am considering changing denominations. I am free to follow where the Lord leads, but in other countries the mere thought of changing religions can get a person killed. Here's looking at you Saudi Arabia --ahem! I am free to wear the symbols of said religion with out persecution. Here's looking at you France-- ahem the banning of Muslim women's headscarves! I am grateful.

2. Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press-- without which I would not have this blog. I can say or write critical things about our government with out fear of getting dragged off in the middle of the night and being beaten, raped, or killed. I send a moment of silence and prayer for journalists, writers, poets, artists, and musicians who are even now being jailed, harassed, and murdered for speaking and writing against their governments and corruption.

3. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly- I can meet with a group of like minded friends for a cup of coffee and crochet or I can meet with a group of like minded friends to protest an "Ag-Gag" bill in the state legislature. I can do so knowing I will not lose my family, or job prospects, or be tear-gassed for doing so.

I used to take all of these things for granted. Then I did what I urge every American to do, I traveled outside of our country's borders. I went to Zimbabwe as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer. When we arrived we were told in no uncertain terms that once we left Peace Corps Headquarters, if we said anything against the ruling party ZANUPF, or President Robert Mugabe, regardless of the abuses of power we may witness, the only thing the Peace Corps could do if we were lucky enough to be jailed, was send us a cake with a file in it. Peace Corps Volunteers, unlike the military or foreign service do NOT have diplomatic immunity. It was a sobering moment.  No less sobering was the moment I had a soldier point an AK-47 at my chest telling me not to move while the presidential motorcade drove by.

Happy Birthday America -- I am grateful!