Stretching Parental Bonds

It is that time of year when school is starting up. This year my little one starts Kindergarten. She has been in daycare and camp since she was about 1 1/2 since both my husband and I work, but Kindergarten is a whole different ball game. It is one of those milestones that really hits home that you child is growing up. She is becoming more and more independent. She wants to pack her own lunch for school. She picks out her own outfits and scoffs when I try to help.

She actually gets excited when another girl in her class brings in a One Direction back-pack. How does she even know who they are? And haven’t we taught her better taste in music than that? (For the longest time her favorite song was ‘the egg song’ – better known as Eggman by the Beastie Boys. Now it is Call Me Maybe.) Ok, she does have tween cousins and definitely picks some stuff up from them.  We may have to limit the amount of time they spend together if this is what it leads to.  😉

So while all the prep work has been going on for Kindergarten, and I have been thinking about children growing up and not needing us as much (or thinking they don’t need us), I have been listening to a lot of Mumford and Sons. And now when I listen to The Cave, I hear it as a conversation between parent and child. While I liked the song before, it is now making me tear up whenever I hear it and I love it so much more.

Here is how I hear the song now: with parent / child conversation about the child fighting for their independence.

     It’s empty in the valley of your heart
The sun, it rises slowly as you walk
Away from all the fears
And all the faults you’ve left behind

     The harvest left no food for you to eat
     You cannibal, you meat-eater, you see
But I have seen the same
I know the shame in your defeat

But I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again

     ‘Cause I have other things to fill my time
     You take what is yours and I’ll take mine
     Now let me at the truth
     Which will refresh my broken mind

So tie me to a post and block my ears
I can see widows and orphans through my tears
     I know my call despite my faults
     And despite my growing fears

But I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again

So come out of your cave walking on your hands
And see the world hanging upside down
You can understand dependence
When you know the maker’s land

     So make your siren’s call
     And sing all you want
     I will not hear what you have to say

     ‘Cause I need freedom now
     And I need to know how
     To live my life as it’s meant to be

And I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck

     And I’ll find strength in pain
     And I will change my ways
     I’ll know my name as it’s called again

Let me know what the start of the new school year has got you thinking about, and how your growing kids are changing your perspectives…

Friday Favs: Aug 23rd – Winning, music, and BFFs

This is the first of a regular post for Fridays with my favorites of the week. “Favorite what?” you might ask. Well, that will depend on the week. This week it’s some internet footage, some music, and a little smile from my daughter’s classmate.


To start things off, a quick clip. Michal Marosi won’t let a little wipe out at the start of a mountain bike race get him down. A-MAZ-ING! If you ever think you can’t recover from a bad start, this is the clip for you!


That song that gets stuck in my head: The Decemberists – The Mariner’s Revenge Song. I have not been able to get enough of this song, and will find the mother’s haunting plea running through my head at the most unusual times.

“Find him, bind him, tie him to a pole
And break his fingers to splinters, drag him to a hole
Until he wakes up, naked, clawing at the ceiling of his grave.”

I think it has to do with the story I am writing at the moment. I’ve been working on some of the darker scenes, and I think this song is helping to set the mood.


And lastly for this week was this card. A little background for this one. My daughter is in pre-school and much of the time when we ask her about her friends there, she tells us no one likes her, everyone is mean to her, and no one will play with her. We know this is not true, having observed her with her friends and asking her teachers about it, but she is a bit of a drama queen and will focus on the negative aspects of the day (something we are working on…). Even knowing that she exaggerates this, I still worry about her having friends. Well, one of the girls in her class who could not make it to her brthday party brought in a gift for her anyway with this homemade card.


It made my day.



Watermelons and Pumpkins and Vines, Oh My!

So this was the year we finally got our raised beds built and got the garden started. Of course, we picked the hottest day of the spring to build the beds, but we got them done and were pretty proud at the end of the day.




So fast forward a couple months and the gardens are going to town. Specifically the pumpkin and the watermelon vines. The four foot spacing as recommended is not nearly enough for how these babies have taken off.  We needed to do some quick research on growing them on trellises. (Great info can be found over at Square Foot Abundance, by the way.) We found good news and bad news.

Good news: Yes, you can grow pumpkins and watermelons on trellises! You just need to use smaller varieties and provide fruit hammocks for them.

More good news: I had picked out mini pumpkins, so they have no problem growing on the bamboo poles and tomato cages we already have!


Bad News: The watermelons are 25 pounders. Not really suitable for growing on a trellis. So we are having to keep the 2 vines pruned so they can bunk up in one bed (and we are letting the watermelon grow off the end of the bed for a little extra room). It is a tough call on some of the pruning, but there is only so much space, and only so much we will be able to eat!


Needless to say, we are already scoping out where we will be building the next 2 raised beds! (And will be paying more attention to watermelon sizes next year.)

I’d love to hear about your own gardening adventures (or mis-adventures) in the comments!

Flash Fiction Challenge: Last Lines First

This post is a short story in response to Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge that he issues on his blog every Friday. Last week he asked for last lines. This week, he chose 10 of those for us to choose from and turn it into the first line of our story.

So, for those of you who don’t know about Chuck Wendig, go check out to get the full scoop on his awesomeness.

Here is my story for your reading pleasure. I hope you enjoy it and would love your feedback.

Summer Cleaning

She closed the book and watched as it turned to dust. Maeline let her fingers sink into the deep red powder that had once been a leather binding and felt the cool white softness of the pages underneath that now rested on her knees. As her fingers reached her skirt, she pinched the layer of fabric and flicked her wrists to send the dust flying. It swirled and danced through the air like snowflakes. Glimmering in the stream of sunlight before settling on the floor, it joined the layers already hibernating there.

Maeline knew it was time to go. She looked to the wall where the bookshelf had been. The wall  paper now held only a faded pattern left by the sun that told the story of the books that had been there. This had been the last book on that bookshelf. When Maeline had picked up the leather bound tome to begin the reading, the bookshelf crumbled to nothing; its purpose served.

She brushed her hands across her knees and laughed at herself for doing so. “Mae, you cain’t get yourself clean, no point in tryin’.” she chuckled, slapping her skirt just to watch the dust tornado away into the room. She wrapped her thin fingers around the arms of the chair, readying herself to stand. As she pushed off, the creaking of the chair matched the creaking of her bones. Then it was barely a whisper of a sigh as the chair decayed and wilted into the floor, sending ripples of dust to the four corners.

She stared out the window, across the field to the gentle hill, remembering playing there with the other children when she was younger.  No one was left now; just Maeline and this house in the valley.

“Ain’t no point waitin any longer, now.” Maeline assessed the the empty room creating rivers and currents of dust with every step or turn. “Just one thing left to do. Now, where was that?” She shuffled across the room to where she thought she remembered the rug had been and kicked out her skirts to help clear the floor. As the layers of powdered bedspreads, dishes, and wood drifted away, she found what she was looking for. Just a small hole in the floorboards, a little knot in the wood that was just the right size.

She snaked her hands under her hair and behind her neck to find the clasp. Her gnarled fingers fumbled, but unhooked the locket from around her neck. She held it up to the light to refasten the clasp and and watched it spin for a moment. Then she bent over to drop the trinket through the knot hole, watching the chain slither through the dust and hearing a soft thunk as it hit the ground under the house.

Maeline shook our her skirts and smoothed out her hair as she approached the door. She chuckled again “Silly habits. Who’s gonna see you?” Her hand shook as she reached for the door knob. She turned it and could feel the breeze begin as soon as the door was ajar. Maeline closed her eyes and stepped through the door onto the stone walkway. She let go of the door knob, felt it fall away, and the breeze turned blustery. She kept her eyes closed and leaned into the wind until it died down, the dust of the house completely blown away.

When she opened her eyes Maeline stood at the end of the stone path with the warm sun beating down on her. It was an odd place for the path to just end. As the long grass waved in the breeze, something caught her eye. Maeline stepped off the path into the grass, smiling as it cooled her bare feet.

“Oh, a pretty necklace!” She trilled as she picked it out of the blades. She pulled the chain over her head, tangling it in her braids in the process. Maeline sat down and crisscrossed her legs, forgetting what her mama said about sitting like a lady. She worked and tugged to get her braid unstuck and felt the necklace fall into place around her neck. She tucked her chin and looked down at it while her little fingers twirled it in the sunlight.

“Maeline! Its time to go! Don’t make me come and git you.”

“Comin’ mama!” Maeline hollered back as she stood and skipped up the hill to her waiting family.


On emulating the bats…

I have a tendency to always be in a hurry and have too much on my to do list. It is an easy rut to get into.

Well, a few weeks back I was in my regular mode of picking my daughter up from daycare, and then hitting the grocery store and running errands on the way home. At some point in the drive my daughter asked if we could have a picnic for dinner. I said sure.

So of course, the errands take longer than expected. We get home and I rush to get dinner on the table before it is sooo late that she would have to go right to bed afterwards with out any down time. About half way through the meal, she wails out “Mommy – we were supposed to eat outside!!” Yes, I had agreed to that earlier, hadn’t I? With twilight upon us, we picked up our plates and moved our dinner to the deck to finish things up.

It really was a beautiful night and my husband cleared the dishes when we were done so my daughter and I could sit on the swing for a bit. I took a deep breath and realized that this was one of those moments. You stop rushing. You forget about the million little things you still wanted to get done tonight. You just sit on the swing and cuddle with your kid, laughing as the bats swoop and chase their dinner.

And that got me thinking about those bats.

Bats use echolocation to find their way around and find food. (That is a form of SONAR, not RADAR. SOund Navigation And Ranging) When they are hunting, the sounds they emit are synchronized with their wingbeats and breathing. This means there is no extra energy expended for them to find what they are looking for. They are built to focus on and acquire what they need. It is part of who they are and how their tiny little bodies function. They send out little noises, and the world echos back to help them out.

I need to be more like those bats.

I need to focus on the more important things and not get bogged down in the mundane day to day drudgery. I need to send out my own little clicks and whistles and see what the world sends back to keep me on my way. I know this may sound new-agey, but I have found when you put your desires out there into the universe, it is amazing how co-incidences seem to occur with more frequency, providing a nudge in the right direction, or a helping hand over that last hurdle.

For instance, a few days after the night spent watching the bats and getting all philosophical about them, I went book shopping with my daughter. Looky looky what I found – a wonderful children’s book about bats called Nightsong by Ari Berk and Loren Long. A perfect bit of synchronicity for my current state.

I’d love to hear about your own ‘reminder’ experiences that keep you on our path. I’ll sign off with a snippet from Nightsong:

Sense is the song you sing out into the world,
and the song the world sings back to you.