Momma often says she is dog-tired. I’m not sure about that, or even what it means. As far as I can tell, a dog’s life is easy and full of sleep. How can you be tired with that much sleep? Why would you want to sleep so much? I know I don’t!! There is too much to do and too much to see. Papa and Gram’s dogs are the perfect examples. The big one, Luther, who is really more like a moo- cow than a dog, sleeps a lot. Iris, the little one who is more like a kitty, sure tries to win by sleeping more. They sleep inside, outside, in the shade, in the sun, on the floor, on the couch, together, alone… everywhere and anywhere.
Papa takes them outside to run in the afternoon, and sometimes I get to see this if I am visiting. Actually, Papa takes me outside to run too! He’s super fun like that being a retired super hero and all. That’s how I learned about expo…epo…ag…sposy…oh yea… exposed aggregate (whew, that is a mouth full). When Papa takes me outside, I play with dirt, glorious dirt, and get to smell all the spring flowers. Papa has me touch the bricks around their outside bathtub thingys, the wood on their deck, the moss, the different plant leaves and the side of their house. He tells me about the different textures and says Momma would take pictures of them if she could! Oh man. What DOESN’T she take pictures of?
Of course, when we round the corner, there are those dogs sleeping. Again, I ask, how can anyone be dog tired if they sleep this much? Don’t these dogs know how much they are missing? I point to Luther and say, “Cow!”…and Papa laughs while saying, “Luther isn’t a cow silly. Cows go ‘Moooooo’, and Luther goes ‘Woof’. I know he looks like a cow because he is so big, but he is a doggy!” Could have fooled me. Luther is even black and white like the cows I know. Whatever, Papa will figure it out someday. He clearly has been retired too long. Papa says we have to go back inside for a snack, so we head back to the house.
Being the helper that I am, I decided to bring the textures to Momma that I had just discovered with Papa. So I pulled the flowers and leaves off the plants, grabbed the moss on the bricks, and filled my hands with dirt. I put them all in my pockets. I ran out of room in both pockets so considered putting some things in my mouth, but then Gram discovered my plan when I got inside. She called me a stinker, but my diaper was clean! I was just trying to help! I am sooooo misunderstood. So misunderstood. Maybe I should just go sleep with the dogs.
This section of the blog is, of course, for random things that we happen to like that generally have something to do with what it is we do and are interested in. Last week I was in a bookstore in a mall in Dubai (Yes, Dubai – we get to travel as part of our jobs!) and I came across this book. It is titled, “How to be an Explorer of the World” by Keri Smith.
I was instantly struck with how similar it is to our philosophy on seeing the world and how exciting it can be when you do in fact stop to look at the world around you. It is filled with all sorts of “experiments” and exercises for you to work on each day. Each of them is designed to give you a new perspective and appreciation for the world around you. You will watch people, touch things, draw things, map things out, collect things, taste things. listen to things, etc. all in an ongoing exploration of the world that is right at your finger tips every day.
I have included a photo of the cover of the book and I am sure you can find it in your local bookstore, or on Amazon.
Sure – one of the great benefits of what we do for a living is that we get to travel to far away and exotic locations. That, of course, gives you a great perspective on the world at large, but it also gives you a new appreciation for the world around where you call home…
So, take my word for it and pick up the book and get out there and explore! You will not be disappointed.
Oh man…Momma is such a girl. Flowers have started coming out of the ground all over the hillsides at my house. They weren’t there a month ago, and now they are. Like peek-a-boo! If you ask me, I think it’s weird. But not as weird as Momma’s reaction. I mean, we are talking about flowers…not cars, bouncy balls, mud or paint. She tricks me every time by asking if I want to go outside. Outside?! Um…are bananas amazing??? YES! Wahoo, hello dirt! Wait, why is THAT thing out?? No…wait. Too late, she is already lifting me into the backpack and strapping me to her back. “Sorry kiddo, the hills are too steep for you to walk. You get to hang out on my back. Let’s go see what new flowers are popping today Nate!” she exclaims all peppy. I’ll show her peppy. One time is fine. Ten times is too much. I won’t tell you how many times we do this…mostly because I can’t count very high. As if trekking around the steep hills trapped on her back wasn’t enough, she begins telling me names of the flowers. I think she just makes them up as she goes.
Milkmaids, Buttercups, Shooting Stars (that can’t be good), Hounds Tongue (ewe- gross), Indian Warrior, Blue Eyed Grass (umm…grass does NOT have eyes!), Iris…Okay, stop. Now I KNOW she is making this up. Iris is Gram’s dog, NOT a flower. Sheesh. Does she think I’ll fall for that? What am I a baby? I know things!
Yet her giggle and carefree skipping from flower to flower are infectious and I find myself pointing out any colors that I see. She snaps away with her camera from any and all angles and I give in to the joy she leaks. I’m still not buying the names, but I’ll go along with her game, as long as nobody is around to see this. Hounds Tongue…yea right. I suppose there are cattails and lamb’s ears too?! Pshaw. Ooo, Ooo, Ooo…what’s that flower?? Er…I mean…did you see that truck?!
Today I went to a funeral and couldn’t help but reflect during the service.
I sat behind a blind man…thankful for my eyes and the magnificence I see in everyday things. I lingered on this gratitude a bit longer as the brilliant stained glass windows framed his silhouette. I followed the sun rays that cast vibrant colors on the walls and carpet. And I saw. I saw the beauty and a million pictures I wanted to take. More than that… I saw how incredible my life is. I had come to the funeral with unresolved feelings. In his death, this man had given me a gift I probably didn’t deserve, considering the bitter feelings I had carried around through the years and my resistance to forgive him. I sat there, my thoughts wandering a bit. I smiled, thankful for the person singing loudly, off key, and a full beat behind the rest of us…it meant I could hear. Hearing the hundreds of people honor this man in song moved me to my core. It moved my heart to feel, to forget, to forgive. As I watched the grieving widow and family in the front pews, I said a prayer of thanks for my amazing family both next to me and those far away from us. As I read that this man had lost his leg in the second World War and had spent over two years recovering in the hospital, I welcomed the constant “sit…stand” that frequents a Lutheran service and the heavy hymnal I held. It meant I had the use of all my limbs. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, opportunities like this shake me into such gratefulness for my life, my family, my job, and the chance to be humbled. And humbled (once again) I was!
As I walked out of that church, I was thankful for the sorrow I now felt, the dull ache in my neck and head, my hungry stomach, and the long list of duties to still accomplish in the day…it meant I was alive. I was alive, and I could see, really see.
So Momma and I went on a field adventure the other day, but it ended weird…and we didn’t take any pictures. Basically, we left the house, drove for a long enough time that I was sleepy, and parked. I got put in my super cool backpack thingy, Momma grabbed the camera and we were off. It didn’t take her long to find some way to embarrass me. We ended up standing on a bench in a park while she focused on something over a fence…not cool. People were staring. Then all of a sudden…
“LONG DISCLAIMER: I have flirted with insomnia for about 20 years, but never really experienced sleep deprivation until this last year and half. My baby boy is THE WORST sleeper ever. Figures, I would get a child who sleeps worse than I do. I could, and would very much like to, kick insomnia’s butt, if only Nate would let me sleep for more than two uninterrupted hours. Seriously, it is that bad. Well, this sleep deprivation is burning not just holes, but caverns, into my brain. That’s my story anyway.
Last week, Nate and I left the house ready for a field adventure to some smaller towns north of us. The sun was bright and rejuvenating. I was feeling recharged from the rays streaming in my window, the tunes playing on the radio, and my little boy smiling and dancing in the back seat. It was going to be a great afternoon! I had even packed snacks for a picnic in case I found grass for Nate to run wild. I got Prince Charming set up on my back, grabbed some water, our snack, and my camera, ready to shoot. In a matter of seconds, I found some great old cars I just knew I had capture, and beyond them a field of gorgeous mustard. Point, zoom, focus…and…NOTHING. That sinking feeling began as I lowered my camera. Yep. Not only had I left the camera battery (both actually) charging at home, I had also neglected to put my CF card back in the camera. Wow. After a snort, a chuckle and a dramatic head toss, I began laughing, and laughing. I laughed so hard I started snorting some more. I would venture a guess that my laughter had that crazy edge to it for any passerby to hear. Nate giggled a little on my back, but it sounded more like he was trying to pacify me with his hesitant sounds. ‘Oh Nate…THAT just happened! Your Momma is losing it!!’ If I wanted my son to learn anything from this, it was NOT to take yourself too seriously…and to let me sleep!”
Paint. Paint. Paint. I would paint all day if Momma would let me. I have to say, paint ranks up there with mud as far as texture and smearing coolness. Brushes are cool, but I prefer finger paints. Although I don’t see why they can’t be body paint…using my belly and feet and nose is genius if you ask me. Well, one day I saw Momma taking pictures of wet paint. She took all kinds of them…and used paints to swirl on plates and trays. She might not have asked me for help, but I could tell she needed it. So what was I supposed to do? I rose to the occasion! While she was busy, I gracefully glided over to my art cupboard to get my paints. I had a huge surprise for her!!
Fun with Finger Paints
She took her pictures, and I started painting. I painted the floor. I painted the cupboards. I painted my hair. I painted my clothes just for good measure. I’m twicky though…whenever she looked, I smiled and painted my paper. Then I went back to work. I painted the chairs. I painted Wilson the giraffe and Shelldon the turtle. I painted my Legos and some books.
I had just started on the wall when Momma discovered my surprise. She gasped. I beamed. She opened her mouth. Then shut it. Then opened it again. I beamed some more. Momma was so happy with her surprise that she couldn’t even talk!! Win for Nate! “Yay!”, I exclaimed. “What?!” was all she could manage. Man, she must have been happy because she kept grabbing her head and covering her mouth and saying, “what?!”…and her eyes were really big. See! She needs my help. I did good! Go me!
The market: a perfectly fun weekly field trip. I love food, and I love going to the market as much as the next kid…BUT I’m beginning to question Momma’s reasons for going. I pretty much have the routine down…make a list, start by the fruits and veggies, and ziggy zag all the way through the store to bread. Lately, we’ve been going not once…not twice…but three times in the week! Three times people. Believe it or not, I kind of get that concept. Three might be too small when talking in numbers of cereal puffs or berries. Three is too many when talking in numbers of weekly super market trips.
Somebody Stop Her!!!
Let me explain. We aren’t going for our lists anymore. And we definitely aren’t going for anything I like! Sure, Momma throws the occasional orange or strawberry basket in the cart, but only to take pictures of them once we get home. Lately we get eggplant (yuck), cauliflower (yuck), lettuce (meh), brussels sprout (I think everyone agrees: gross), persimmons (can you say chalk!), pepper thingies (too hot), things I can’t pronounce and things that frankly scare me (who IS Frank anyway?). Picture this: We are strolling along, I’ve just made eye contact with a baby across the aisle, when all of a sudden the cart turns sharply toward a pile of…jicama and ginger. Seriously???? What the heck do we need this for? Oh, right…PICTURES. TEXTURE PICTURES. It’s sooo embarrassing. She kneels down next to the food and looks closely at it…then steps back to examine it farther away. Then, to my horror, she looks around to check for witnesses, and then pokes the food. Yea, you read right; she actually pokes it. I squeeze my eyes shut and cover my face hoping to disappear. Momma, however, thinks I am trying to play peek-a-boo and just ruffles my hair. We don’t even make it out of the fruits and vegetables anymore…and our kitchen is full of strange food. Slightly concerning??? Ummm… I’d bet my berries on it! What’s next? The camera coming into the store?? Shhhh! Don’t give her any ideas. Oh bananas, I think she heard me!!