Monday, August 31, 2009


Voila! Here is the creme of my crop so far. She is a beaute in varigating hues of yellow and orange and I decided to take her off the straining vine yesterday for fear the worms or birds would first fancy her, if I didn't.

I haven't weighed her or measured her. Needless to say the two tomatos in the front are "normal" sized. I'm going to baby her for a day or two and then conceive some sort of fabulous meal that will feature her center stage. Heirloom hooray!
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Liebt Liebherr

Das isch speziel fuer de Grosspape: De Gus hett i de letschte zwei Wuche alli sini Liebherr Baustelle Schwerfahrzeug isch er dauernd mit dene am spiele....alles wird baggered und mit em Chrane befahre...

Friday, August 21, 2009

A special town

Maybe because I've been feeling low lately, the gesture seemed three times as wonderful and sweet.
Brag alert: You may have us beat as to the prestige of where you live or maybe even in the scenery department (although I highly doubt that) but Brevard is simply the best of Southern charm and small town with a big heart rolled into one.
Case in point: Yesterday, Gus and I eagerly awaited the garbage truck to come by our house (this is a highly anticipated spectacle in our week). As we exchanged the customary waves with the nice men who pick up our refuse, Gus got an extra special gift - a sucker!
That's right. Our city workers, who take pride in whatever they do (and they will chat politely while they wield your unwieldy trash can around) give out candy to small boys who look up to them.
For Gus there is little doubt: that nice man with the handlebar mustache has the best job in the world - and gets paid with suckers!
I just appreciate the kindness behind it all.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

All business

I thought I had it all figured out this morning as I got ready to make a series of networking calls for jobs. I would treat Gus to wet play with water in my dish bucket, while I sit on the backstoop with my cellphone and my notepad...

So far so good, I didn't care that he insisted on wearing his big boy pants while sitting in the bucket...but then (with me on the phone trying to sound both, interested and focused) he decided to swing his heinie in sight and douse his head in the surly-peed-in water...

Then he proceeded to come over and drip all over my scribbles and give me huge smiles and punctuate my ventures on the phone with piercing shrieks of enjoyment...I ended up bonding with two ladies over child rearing and the joys and challenges of 2-year-olds...well, we shall see...

He is my favorite boss of all times...and he gives plenty of rewards for my hard work...
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Read it!

Yesterday, Gus and I journeyed to the library to pick up a new truckload of picture books (preferably about trucks, helicopters and tractors - the children's librarian sees us coming and helps us pile them on) and this morning Gus reveled in our haul - so much so, he couldn't be bothered to put his big boy pants on first...he sat and cooed and ahhed and turned pages and giggled to himself and pointed and marveled at the early favorites...

I've written much about how my brain will recoil at the thought of reading "Little Red Hen" or "Red Truck" for the third dozenth time in a single morning, but when I sit back and see this, I change my tune.
I remember reading quietly with my Mom (the newspaper and books, usually after lunch) and I clearly remember this whole world beyond my physical world opening up when I first began reading words and later books. I remember reading quickly far beyond my grade and venturing into the adult section of our library, when I could barely clear the librarian's front desk to check them out.
I remember long lazy afternoons on my belly, with a book perched before me on a frilly pillow I had made in home economy class.
I remember reading "Gone with the Wind" for the first time on a beach in Italy then reading it almost ever summer thereafter all through my adolescent years.
I resort to books whenever I need respite. I feel lost without one nearby. I adore books. I'm not particularly choosy. I'll read whatever comes along, sometimes good, sometimes just good enough.

It is my sincere wish for Gus to find that world beyond his tangible world and it is my task to show him the way.
And read whenever it is possible.
Just not "Red Truck"
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Lake Hartwell

Our buddy, Rion and his momma, Heather, were kind enough to invite us to come and spend a night at the house on beautiful Lake Hartwell. We fully enjoyed a sun-soaked and much-needed getaway.

Gus has been fearless about water - though he seems to understand that it is best to have a parent nearby and never go into the deep without the "swimbee" vest on -but if those safety precautions are met, he will dive in and float, splash and doggy paddle with abandon... and this time he even figured out how to ride on Momma's back...

....just because...the bow was there in MiMi's bathroom and we wanted to see what a beautiful girl Gus could be if he was a girl... funny thing... he wore it for more than an hour without complaining.... ah girls just have better accessories...
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23 months

Today is the one-month countdown to Gus' second birthday. I'm completely perplexed that it's been that long and yet I'm amazed by all the things he can already grasp, do, decide and dislike, as he is "barely" done being a baby... at least in my mind.

He loves his train set, it comes out as a trusty companion on rainy days. He descends into his own world and cannot be bothered when he goes there. I can't bare to use the flash, when his lips go slack like that... this is happiness in learning...

He also loves, loves books. So much so that I HATE books by now. I have to remember that he benefits whenever I read "Red Truck" (Thanks, Andy, I murmur "Red Truck is a work truck, not a show truck" in my sleep) for the two dozenths time in two hours. He has a tight rotation of about 10 favorites and we try to make it more varied (for Mom and Daddy's sake) with library books. I'm convinced that if Gus could run the world, we would all spend about 6 hours a day sitting on the step to the kitchen to read. We would sit close together and touch at the knees. And we would smile at each other in knowing anticipation of what the next page brings... new books make him equal parts anxious and curious, I love it and see myself in that...

He is curious without regards for his limitations... and I'm slowly learning to respect that. Here we are making banana bread together... well, I tried to get some into the baking pans, while Gus "cleaned up". He also is a connaisseur of anything sugary... this kid loves sweet....

Case in point. Our afternoon ritual of a "pop please" is equally cherished and pursued by Gus. He never lets me forget that there is always time for a treat and a lazy ten minutes of lolligaging on the back stoop, while we share and get sticky together...watching the clouds and talking about planes, helicopters, tractors, trucks and the barn...

Oh yeah... and there is potty training... I might be demented trying to train a two year old, but there is a part of me that knows he can do it, if he only aims to.... so far he peepees for candy and likes to wear train undies and - in theory - understands that poopoos should go into the potty (we talk endlessly about this). That is where we are. Most more experienced moms counsel me to be patient for another 6 months or so. I have a good washing machine...
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

I say tomato....

This is an update for my Mami (and everyone else garden-inclined) This year I'm the proud seasonal surogate of nine and one half (one is a runt that has been abandoned by me only to claw its way up a neighboring cage) heirloom tomato plants, four of which my mother bought at the local farmer's market. For someone usually inclined to buy seedlings saying things like "hearty" and "fleshy" and "big" and who associates heirloom with fickle and puny, I'm happy to report that I'm proven wrong, wrong, wrong. Though I've been diligent in my watering (and we had a good bit of afternoon rains to help me out) I have otherwise done little to help these fine plants along. No pesticides, just rich compost and cages, which are now straining under the heavy load. This monster above (almost 9 inches in diameter) is of a variety called Juliet and it is taking its sweet old time to ripen and grow... I visit it daily and simply sit in awe of the plants sturdiness. I do have to watch it, since Jacob is an avid fan of fried green tomato and has eyed this particular one as a good would be like a fried green omelet...

This variety is a pineapple tomato heirloom and it is super prolific in its output...I'm counting my mason jars and flipping through my favorite sauce about two weeks canning will be my full-time job...

These are called Salsa (another one of my Mom's finds), small and extremely flavorful with a little hint of a spicy bite at the end. They make me smile as they sit on my window sill. Happy harvest everyone!
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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Feeling blue

...I admit, I have a lot of spare time these days. With no job (now in the second month of sending out resumes) and a relatively low-maintenance child, husband and household, Gus and I have been hiking a lot, swimming in the streams and pools around town, visiting the library and the playground and logging lots of miles running.
Not bad. I admit, though I eventually would like to be employed again and contribute to our little family's budget.
I repeat. Not bad.
To ward off the urge to sit on the couch and gorge on bonbons while watching obscure Netflix documentaries, I've made it my goal to complete at least one long-term project per week, as long as I'm not working and while some projects are too costly to justify, I have managed to finish Gus' first year photo album, painted our bathroom, started a solar blog for Jacob and written a couple of letters to my elected officials - all during Gus' naptime.

This week, I treated myself to a fun project: Sewing Gus a pair of winter overalls out of a beautiful blue corduroy a friend traded me. The pattern came from my Mom, who used it to make Gus an adorable pair of overalls last winter...using all her expertise as an example...I'm pleased to show off the result.

I think they came out very, someone help me find a red-white striped long-sleeve T-shirt to go with it...

Posted by PicasaHe is such a fashion plate, isn't he? Look at that supermodel pose.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A new family member

He came to us unexpectedly, not desired, not required...people who know me, know I've been skittish about pets, ever since I failed to provide a controlled environment for a certain big yellow-colored dog. I've never shied from stepping in and watching other people's pets, but I've doggedly kept my own home free of critters...and really, if I had the choice, I'd gotten a gaggle of chicken...instead, we ended up with a Siamese Fighter Fish or Betta Fish, courtesy of our sweet neighbor, Miss Cathy, who brought him over as a well-meant present for Gus two weeks ago...

Since then, Mr. Blau Fish (pronounced "blaw, German for blue, Mommie's pick because otherwise his name would be "tractor" or "copter") has made himself a beloved member of our family. It's amazing how little he requires (I went and bought him a bigger bowl, just feeling claustrophobic for him and added a clam shell for interest) and how much pleasure he gives us. I've been guarded about liking him, because I was convinced he'd be belly up within the first couple of days, but was hopelessly lost to his calm demeanor within the first week. Gus loves to feed him (he is a good eater, making a big fluttery show of it) and I love to send sideway glances at him, while I type on the computer....he seems curious and pauses during his morning and afternoon rounds to eye me through the glass and blow bobbles at me...

What can I say? We love our fish for all his shimmery beauty and silent curiosity. Welcome Blau!
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tike on a Trike

Another milestone: With a little more than a month to go until Birthday No. 2, Gus masters the tricycle - pedaling, steering and smiling at Momma - funny, the hardest part seems to be getting on and off...
If he is anything like his Daddy, he will be riding his little Red Flyer up and down the driveway in no time...I see many scraped knees ahead of me...