30 marzo 2015

Harvest Monday

This week, 22 eggs have made their way into several tortillas espan(tilde)olas and lots of pasta, pasta, pasta and 5 gallons of worm castings will slowly be used to start more seeds.

I can't wait to pull something green in from the yarden!  First up, I do believe, will be rhubarb and the flower head of Petasites japonicus, AKA Fuki.

Check out what others are preparing to harvest or blessedly harvesting over at Daphne's Dandelions.

29 marzo 2015

-a big sigh-

So, I have known since high school (Gracias, Destinos.) that when (most?  all?) Spanish-speakers talk to their children, they use the Ud. form.  It's really the best way to learn it.  And then once they get to school, the playground teaches them the informal forms.

But then I lived with a family in Spain.  Now, the son was already 7 and in school, so maybe that's why Lola always talked to him informally.  ¡Ponte las zapatillas!  ¡Tómatelo ya!  The years of false formality had ended, I guess.  Or, maybe Spanish Spanish-speakers do just distinguish more between the two; I mean, they use vosotros after all.

Now, the day that I met my dear first child, I thought about it:  Which to use?  And I chose the informal.

Last Friday I seriously regretted my decision.  In the doctor's office, with the amazing Dra. Martínez... well, how were my kids to know to address her formally?  They wouldn't.  If we were living in a Spanish-speaking country, they would have picked up on it; but we don't, and I am their main source of imperfect language input.


Do I switch over now?  Do I just stick with what I'm doing and be thankful for any input that I give them, no matter how perfect it isn't?

-a big sigh-


Due to G's nearly constant wearing of Jared's old frames, we have all decided to have a bit of fun!

27 marzo 2015

And the eye saga continues

"¡Madre mía!" as Lola would say.

It has been over a month dealing with G's double iritis.  We have been to six appointments; five being totally disastrous.  He has been sedated, he has been unsuccessfully restrained in The Papoose and he has been totally knocked out.

Today we finally had a successful and peaceful eye check-up.  ¡Gracias, Dra. Martínez!  Yes, the newest doctor speaks Spanish and conducted the entire exam in Spanish today.  I don't know if it was the gentle lilt or what, but the child was a champ.  Thank God!  And how fun for me!

And G said...

... upon the door not closing all of the way when trying to shut it, "¡Calderas hirvientes!"  Gracias, Thomas.

21 marzo 2015

The Host Family

I remember begging my parents to host an exchange student when I was in high school.  For some reason, I have always wanted to bring people "in."  When they wouldn't get on board with my idea, I found ways around their disinterest by instead sharing my room with a stressed out frenemy, having friends to stay for the summer and hosting Racine on winter weekends.

My first host family... seriously, I am ashamed at not being able to remember their names.  I stayed with them in Puertollano for about a week when I was 15.  I shared a room with the daughter, who, I remember, smoked on the sly out her window every morning and night.  I remember hanging out with her and her friends, eating sunflower seeds on the street corner, talking about boys and dancing.  I remember that the family thought it was "cute" that I always said, "Sí" to more bread, it being the only familiar anything to me.  I remember eating -what I would enjoy now, but then didn't appreciate- cheese, which I held in my cheek till I could excuse myself to the bathroom to spit it out in the toilet.  I remember that my mother was SERIOUSLY convinced that I had been kidnapped by gypsies (Yes, gypsies.)... because she didn't know how to make an international call properly.

And then I returned to Spain, this time to Sevilla, when I was 21.  I remember being dropped off in front of my new home, pushing the call button and being so nervous that all I could say was, "Soy la americana."  Ha!  My dear Lola and sweet brother Manuel took me in as their own.  I remember watching The Fresh Prince of BelAir with them on TV.  I remember when Abuela Manuela would come to town, giving me chocolates and throwing Lola's life into an ugly fit.  I remember when the fun cousins came from Marbella and we got into trouble for playing and singing Alejandro Sanz's songs too loudly.  I remember la Feria, swirling and twirling in the sherry-tinged lights.  I remember taking Manuel to the university to check my mail; and in the process, making his month!  I remember having my bags packed and Manuel grabbing at my legs, sobbing and screaming, "¡Emi!  ¡No te vayas!  Por favo', ¡no te vayas!"  It broke my heart to leave them.

A few weeks later, I was already in Quebec, staying with another family whose names I don't remember.  I do remember eating a salad every night for dinner, because... what else would a vegetarian eat?  I remember that my host-father would make me say French tongue twisters at the table and quiz me on obscure vocabulary.  I remember once being invited into the living room to watch an opera on TV with the family.

And then several years later, I found myself with yet another family in Smila, Ukraine.  I remember that the mom worked as a "barman" and was never at home.  I remember that my host-brother's friends always wanted to come over to look at me and he told them that I was a guest in their house, not an animal in a zoo!  Spasiba!  I remember realizing that I had been given the son's bedroom, pushing him to the couch.  I remember eating pasta with carrot sauce and tea for breakfast a lot.  I remember the golden tea set they gave me for my birthday.

Every welcome was warm, although the level of acceptance into the family seriously varied.  I have been cared for around the world by strangers and I am so grateful.

And now, FINALLY, it is my turn!  I am so thrilled to become Host-Mom to a pair of brothers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia next week!  (A funny thing is that I could actually be their mother by age.  It is crazy that I could have kids in college, when mine aren't even in elementary school.)  I will certainly strive for the Lola-Manuel-Emi dynamic, but I know that it is a two-way street.

To being a host-family!

Boo Mercury!

Post-early-birthday-gift... oh so happy!
Reading time.  See the specs?  So, those are old frames of Tito's, which are now G's favorite fashion statement.  He wore them ALL day long, through dinner, during a movie.  I love the look!

16 marzo 2015

Harvest Monday

Happily, our hens, well... some of our hens, have begun laying again.  We get one or two eggs a day for now.  It's so nice.

Because the weather has been so great, even though it is supposed to get cold again, I have actually planted out some onions and peas.  Wahoo!

And then... and then!  I saw a speck of green.  Now!  Now is the time to dig up those last few parsnips.  And, cha-ching!
What shall I make with them?
I had recently removed the prospective parsnip patch from the garden plan, to make room for roots that I like better; however, the joy of unearthing these beauties in the middle of March may encourage me to go back to my last draft.  Hm....

Check out others' harvests at Daphne's Dandelions!

15 marzo 2015

Beware the ides of March

I remember laughing with the oncologist when he said that I would begin chemotherapy on the 15th of March... the perfect date to begin something so nasty.  Unfortunately for me, my favorite time of the year, smelling of rain and earth, now also still reeks of poison... a stinky exhale riding on the fresh breezes of Spring.

I remember that Girumy sent his play stethoscope with me for the day.

I remember the feeling that I had walking into the Day Clinic, seeing ALL of those other people with cancer.  Unbelievable.  This was one day at one clinic in one city in one state, etc.  ALL of those people.

I remember feeling strangely fine as the poison was dripped into my blood.  Rob and I talked.  I memorized some verses.  We watched a Psych on the ipad that my family had given me.  A few hours later, the easy part was over.  Because of the steroids, afterwards, I felt normal physically.  But I knew that IT was coming.   I remember looking at Mrs. P. while saying that and she gravely and knowingly nodded.

And a day and a half later... imagine a vacuum, silently sucking nearly all of the life out.

In bed.  Dazed.  Unsettled.  Not asleep.  Not awake.  Slow.  Gross.  The chemo-jar of water, water, water.  The worst headache of my life.

I remember feeling as though I was nearly dead.  I remember thinking that I might not go back for the second, third and fourth doses.

And then, about a week and a half later, once I felt normal again physically, the hair loss.
Eating our last kringle.  Have you ever seen the ingredient list?!
I know that I would be dead already, had I lived in another time or just another place.  I am thankful to be here still, even though the road has been seriously terrible.  Thanks, God.

11 marzo 2015


We spend at least an hour a day reading aloud.  Part of that time is devoted to a longer chapter book, to work on the kids' attention, memory, etc.  We have gone through Charlotte's Web more times than I want to admit, a lot of the Ramona books, A Year with Miss Agnes, My Father's Dragon, The Boxcar Children, and many others.  Well, recently we came to a rough spot: We began reading The Blind Girl's Song, but none of us was really into it; we tried Ballet Shoes, with the same result.  Then I saw The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe looking down at me from the top bookshelf.  The kids were immediately drawn in!  Every time I read a chapter, they beg me for more.  They beg!  I love it.

A funny note:  On Saturday mornings, I hide out in my room for a while, while Papá makes pancakes and plays/reads with the kids.  Well, last Saturday, I came out to get some more coffee... and there was Rob, reading to the kids from my hard-fought treasure!  "Oh, no!  That book is MY jurisdiction!"  He didn't understand what the big deal was, so I explained the torture of three little kids trying to endure boredom.  So, I sent him back to Ramona the Pest, which he had chosen to begin reading again to the kids.  Ha!

10 marzo 2015

I may have made it.

I have spent at least 30 minutes out-of-doors each of the last two days.  My freckles encourage me, "You may have made it through another dark winter."  Of course, I say "may" because I know Wisconsin.

The back yarden is about half thawed.  Wahoo!  I have lots of little plants growing on The Monstrosity, waiting anxiously to be planted.

And, the St.-Hawk-er is back!  I love seeing this potential Chicken Attacker so much.  I guess it makes me feel as though we are really creating a habit/sanctuary/buffet for animals (some welcome; others, not so much) in our yard and that we are winning against The City.
I first saw The Saint (as I have decided to name him/her) on the other side of our yard, but then! It flew directly at the coop, scaring one of the poor Henyas up the ramp to supposed safety.
Thank God for light!  Thank God for life!  Thank God!

09 marzo 2015

The Red Badge of Courage

"From this present viewpoint he was enabled to look upon them in spectator fashion and to criticize them with some correctness..."

05 marzo 2015

I choose The Wacky.

I have a half-written post that stemmed from my unsuccessful (?) brush with jury duty the other day... lamenting lawyers and lies and considering the strength of perceptions and how they affect our decisions, whether we admit it or not.  But today, I've decided to focus on the positive instead and so...

Doesn't he look a bit like Matt Lauer?

03 marzo 2015

What does a sedated cyclops say?

"Those dogs are coming to lick my face."

"Papá, where is your jacket?  Did you lose it?  It is OK; you can have mine."

"Do you remember that "moo" in the closet?  That was scary."