- We're here in North Dakota! I know I said that already, but, well, I'm reminding myself. In truth, it's just for a few days more, then we're off to Montana for a family reunion. We don't let the moss grow under our feet. Just weeds, which are quick to come, very pretty, and quick to go. The weeds around here, and the indigenous grasses and intentional crops, are all fantastic! So much color and variety. I haven't grown tired yet of the scenery. Check back after 7 months of winter.
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- The ticks are petering out, both individually and as a species. When we find a random hanger-on-er, he is slow and sickly.
- The unpacking is slow going. Now that we're up and functional, excess boxes stacked up in the living room just don't get gotten to. They are a big gloppy booger in what I want to be a simple, clean, feng shui-ified nose. They're wearing me down. And you know what they mostly contain? Memorabilia from the last three decades of our lives. What I say is, if stuff from your past holds you down, get rid of it! That's what I'd say to YOU anyhow. What I actually do is hang on to it, moving it around the country several times, wishing I'd never kept it so I didn't have to make tough decisions.
- While I can't say I'd recommend moving to a new state within a week of a baby's birth, if you're gonna do it, better take along your mom or mom-like figure. She'll unpack and organize things, do laundry, keep the kids while you nap, make meals, grocery shop, and otherwise leave you wondering what you yourself did that whole time. Just after we arrived in North Dakota, the trains stopped running through on account of the flooding. So, after Mom had been here a week, Dad drove over to pick her up, and they wound up staying almost another week to help unload the van, run errands, and hold children. Good beginnings are so important, I believe. What my parents gave us was the gift of a good beginning to a life here, because it would've taken me months to get the house this functional.
- Speaking of household help, I am reading The Help, which Nikki passed along to me. It's a great book and has been delicious to read slowly, stretched out into dozens of two and three-page reading moments. It's a fictional work about two black women and one white woman who live in Jackson, Mississippi fifty years ago and undertake the daring task of writing about what life is like as a black maid for white families. There are so many conversations I would love to have about this book, so many sub-themes to explore. I will have to ask the two people I know here if either has read the book. :o?
- I now regularly grocery shop at Walmart. There is very little that can be done about this strange fact. The small local grocer is limited, though I plan to buy there when I can, but that means hauling the kids into two separate stores just on principle. Not that principle is unimportant, but uhhhh, does anybody know if it's illegal to leave kids in the car, just for like 5 minutes?! I mean, the car would be running but locked. And it's a tiny town.
- By now, my head is starting to peek above the home life water surface. Getting a handle on Ziah's natural rhythms and schedule is making it possible to plan our other work and play around him. There still aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I wish I could, but we're all four alive and healthy. (Actually, it's hay season around here, which is reeking havoc on poor Jason's lungs, but otherwise we're good.) Consistent meal preparation is another big rock that hasn't yet made it into the jar. And house-cleaning. And dishes. Hmm. When I think about it with a clear head, having just eaten a spicy radish, laundry is the one thing I am caught up on....most of the time. Gee whiz, maybe I'm still drowning after all. Anyway, we've been discussing finding a high school gal who would come by once a week to watch the kids for a few hours while I get caught up on other stuff. Now I view every grocery-checking or ice cream-serving teenager with freshly squinted eyes. Exactly how responsible, kind, and fun loving are you? Don't even look at my children if you can't unpack a floor lamp from your travel bag like Mary Poppins. Actually, scratch that. Seeing Mary Poppins again as an adult, she was pretty snotty.
- Speaking of Mary Poppins (which I am, because Zoralee got the movie from the library recently), remember how she blew in and blew out with the changing winds? Well, that's how our cell phone reception was here until we got a signal booster device from Verizon. We had to stand beside a specific window or outside on a specific spot on the porch. But now, not only do we have the internet, we can talk on the telephone from anywhere in our home. We are a modern family.
- And speaking of libraries (rabbit trail bullet points are such a hoot), at ours we found Madeline books, which Zoralee adores. J and I like them because of the unique artwork and clever poetry. Come to find out, Madeline's a classic children's character, 70+ years old. Do you people know about Madeline, created by Ludwig Bemelman? He purportedly said, "We are writing for children, but not for idiots." I'm not sure who he meant by "we," unless he had a turd in his pocket, but I appreciate the sentiment. [How do you like that reference to the old who-do-you-mean-by-'we' jokes, especially one so ironically juvenile?] We also found some cartoon adaptations of Madeline on Netflix; they stick very closely to the books or the spirit of the books and are just as charming.
- Irony is, ironically, rather common place.
- Zoralee has crossed another threshold of maturity and understanding; Jason and I have both noticed it. I can't rightly explain what I mean; she is just...older now. I better not start expounding on her or Ziah in this post, or I'll never get it done. Maybe just one leetle picture.
- Most recent development, as of 5 minutes ago: a mouse trap that Jason set went off and is now missing. Great. We've got a mouse running around the house with a trap attached to it somehow. I haven't even written about the rodent dramas. Like I say, not enough hours in the day....