Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Birthday and blessings

On Friday when the littles and I headed over to my house the air temperature was 86 degrees and there was a stiff south breeze. Well, at 38 gusting 56 I suppose it was more than a breeze. Our mission was to bake and decorate a birthday cake. The kids would RON at my house so we carried sleeping bags and various other overnight essentials. What we did not carry was winter expedition gear, because late April and 86 degrees.

In the morning when it was time to take them home for the birthday party it was cold (35 degrees), windy, and spitting a lovely rain/snow mix. With no coats on hand for the kids my adult-grownupability rating plunged precipitously.

Fortunately we were able to make a couple of my ratty old chorin' hoodies work. You probably had to be there, but I thought the kids were remarkably cute in their substitute standard expedition gear.



The little one likes pink and claims it as her fave. Last year her birthday theme was Minnie Mouse and all pink all the time. Over the last few months she's shown a new interest or appreciation for other colors, and in particular for the nuance of shade. When I asked her what kind of a birthday cake she wanted this year she gave a quite sophisticated answer. "A chocolate cake with blue frosting, a unicorn, and clouds." She then sorted through a pile of crayons to find the exact shade of blue she had in mind. I'm clearly dane brammaged when it comes to these kids, but this change and maturation thing just blows me away. It's so cool!


In the dim quiet of the night, when I hear the gentle breathing of the littles in slumber, the enormity of the miracle comes home to me in a way that's impossible to describe. It's such a big thing that my limited ape-lizard brain can't begin to comprehend it, let alone understand it. It just is, this unconditional love thing.

I don't have the proper vocabulary to describe, let alone 'splain. I are not much of a riter, methinks.


On Friday we baked a birthday cake. But that's not all we did.

One of the secrets to a proper life is to play all the play out of the day. Regarding the 285 dollars -- the five year old is fascinated by numbers and has become quite the math whiz. over the last few weeks he's adopted 85 as his favorite number. He decided that the prize for winning the pillow case race would be $285. Why? Five year old. The winner would be the one who crossed the finish first, without falling down. He knew he would win because five year old versus three year old. Duh.


On Saturday morning we decorated the cake, which involved a giant batch of buttercream frosting. The almost four year old watched like a hawk as I added blue food coloring. When it was the exact shade she wanted she called it. "That!"

Once the cake was frosted I asked her what she wanted it to say. She wanted "Happy Birthday" as well as her first and middle name. But first and foremost she wanted it to say "Kalani." Kalani is her imaginary ("Not 'maginary!!!) sister/friend.

It took quite a bit of tube-frosting writing but the result was pretty good. Then came marshmallow clouds, sprinkles, and colored sugar, liberally applied by the kids, and neatly (for certain values of neatly) applied by the kids. Which completely obscured the writing. Except for "Kalani." It was a work of art. 

The kids, of course, gobbled the excess frosting from the mixer bowl. A super sugar charge happened. It lasted a long time, but it was starting to wear off a bit when the time came to blow out the candles.

There was a slight delay between ignition and the singing...

And the almost four year old (her birthday was actually Monday) almost faded out. She hung in there, though!

A pile of frosting with a thin base of cake underneath quickly had both the littles running at full bore.


As I think and write and reflect, what a jumble! I feel like I should wrap this post up with a neat little bow, but I'm at a loss here. T.S. Eliot comes to mind. 

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

I am so very blessed.


Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Sunrise and spring

Or, the rebirth of an old and busted dude...

Okay, I think I can do this now. Gonna try anyway. My muddled mind has forgotten a few things about navigating this space but I shall endeavour to persevere.

It's April 11, so here's the 411 on why I've been absent from this place for lo these many months. In a nutshell I seem to have been run over by a serious bout of depression. Having never had such a thing I'm not entirely sure about my self-diagnosis. The things I've experienced do seem to match up with the appropriate signs and symptoms, so that's good enough for me. It's been a very bleak time, particularly through the winter months.

Here's what I think happened. After Alexzandra died I was focused and busy. Most of what I had went into supporting family and supporting my physical health as I prepared for getting my back fixed. At or around the time I recovered from the latter, It seemed to me that we'd arrived at a tricky place regarding family support. It's a bit hard to explain, but I recognized that there was a danger of doing too much. People are individual human beings. Individual human beings need to work through many things as individuals. Love and support are always needed, yes, but it needs to be applied in a thoughtful fashion. It's not supposed to be easy, and it's not. Which is exactly the way it should be.

So In a sense I had arrived at a place where there was no need to remain laser focused on physical and external stuff. All that was left to work on was my own inside stuff, and I'd already handled that, hadn't I?

Yeah, not prizackly.

So it's been a hard slog, but I've been slogging. And now with the arrival of spring the slogging is paying off...

I hope this doesn't come across as whiny. I don't want to bum anyone out. I have had and continue to have the greatest life possible. It just so happens that part of my adventure in livin' included a very rough patch, a realization that I'm actually much more vulnerable than I like to believe. Ignoring that fact and hiding my head in the sand is the wrong path to take.

In a lovely twist of the stuff of livin' I clearly recall Alex gently and patiently explaining this to me. I wasn't the best student in those moments, but I did listen a little bit, and her words are ever with me.


On Friday Alex's mom stopped by to see Tommy (or Tommie; it's both). Alex rescued Tommy from a desperate situation. At the time I didn't understand what she was doing. Tommy was in a cage with a half-dozen siblings and life was clearly going to suck for them. My thought was "you can't save them all." Her thought was simply this -- "I can save this one." Which she did, and what a blessing Tommy has been.

Anyway, Tommy instantly recognized Alex's mom and climbed into her lap. He was so happy to see her, and she him. We talked for an hour or so about a lot of little things, all the while wrapped in the spirit of unconditional love, a magical place brought into existence in part by the canine brand of unconditional love.

As she prepared to drive away Alex's mom noticed the contrails of a pair of jets flying very close together, something you rarely see overhead in this part of the world.

I thought it might be a tanking evolution but I couldn't tell for sure. I grabbed my camera and took a few snaps with the digital zoom turned way up.

Judging by what the blurry images revealed I suspect we were looking at a couple of USAF C-40B's doing some form work.

It was pretty cool.


On Saturday the little kids came over to play with Tommy. Tommy has just turned two, and he's a big, strong dog filled with energy and exuberance. A year ago he was far too rough with the littles and they could only take playing with him in brief, small doses. This spring he's become more careful with them and they have lots of fun with only a few relatively gentle knockdowns.

Then we put together a picnic lunch and walked over to City Park, a major trek of three blocks. It was lovely warm outside with the air temperature about 75 degrees. It was overcast and there was a pesky northwest wind blowing in some springtime weather, but we still had a fun time. The nine year old girl who lives across the street showed up and the three kids did a lot of screaming and chasing and energy burning. We shared our picnic and had an awesome time.

As we headed home under the threat of pending rain I showed the kids the seeds inside one of the jillions of honey locust seed pods littering the ground. They were enthralled and decided to collect a bunch of seeds to plant. During the great pre-Easter seed hunt which ensued they collected hundreds of seeds, and dropped/lost many hundreds more. It took us an hour to make the three-block journey home, and the kids arrived with enough seeds to plant in cottage cheese containers. Which we proceeded to do. From a strictly grownup perspective it's a silly thing to do, planting what are essentially weeds. Thank goodness the kids continually beat the strictly grownup out of me. I like livin' in a world where magic is an important component.

As I delivered the kids home the five year old was still fresh and full of energy. The three year old, who will turn four in two weeks, was knackered. She sat on my lap and chewed on the remains of her picnic PBJ in a state of near unconsciousness. What magic! I am so very blessed, and that's a fact.


And now it's time to clean this up and get it posted.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.