Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Sometimes I feel my late summer garden is like the kid you groomed, coached and cajoled to be a proper, polite and well dressed member of society, only to see him or her turn scuzzy, unruly, and terribly indifferent to your admonitions.

In other words, the garden looks a mess and honestly, there's not much I can or want to do about it.

Even as there will be the occasional outlier plant. The late bloomer, or the do-gooder of the bunch.

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Breakfast is late because suddenly my mornings are less rushed. Oh, I'm up early (damn free loading non egg laying cheepers!), but I don't rush to get the day started.

(On the porch.)

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The bugs, though less in number, still make it difficult to do much outside and so I appreciate the flowers in the yard that keep producing color without help or interference. (If you plant sedum autumn joy, or some such variant, you're going to get color. In autumn.)

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As the clock strikes the noon hour, I'm off to pick up the little one.

As I enter her school, I see her right away. She is wearing some other child's shoes -- not that I realize this -- and she seems entirely engrossed in trying to understand something (possibly why a strange pair of shoes adorns her feet).  As I ask about her day, I hear again those wonderful words -- she is such a happy child!

Today, she has a bit of a longer day with me and so I pack her into my car and we drive over to the corn farm for a few fresh ears of corn for supper.

And oh, what a shock! They're telling me that this is their last sale day! Their last day? The reality sets in. Summer's done.

Oh, but Snowdrop - how she's grown this season! The first time we came to the corn farm this summer she was terrified of the John Deere. Not anymore!

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She helps me pick the best ears of corn...

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... and then we go home to the farmette. It's still buggy, but not so much that we can't walk slowly, taking in all that is around us.

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And not so much that we can't feed the chickens some of their favorite bread, which the girl likes to share with them.

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(Cheepers fed, she runs home to the farmhouse.)

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Happy. Yes, it well describes the girl.

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I gave her a new book (one with a strange little tale, but I'm trying to be less predictable than I was with my own daughters with my choices) where a penguin toy figures prominently in the story line. She insists on sharing it with her three farmhouse penguins.

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She and Ed chase a paper airplane...

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And eventually, Ed goes off for his Wednesday night bike ride and Snowdrop and I eat dinner. Which includes the delicacy of delicacies -- freshly harvested corn.

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It's been a fine day for us all.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

her first day of school

Though Ocean isn't only (or even predominantly) a Snowdrop story, there are certain days when my granddaughter figures so prominently in my psyche that you may as well call it her day here.

Today, marking her first day of school, is surely one such time.

You could say that nothing about this day is ordinary. Because I want to see Snowdrop prance off to school and because Ed, too, has an early morning commitment, I do not even bother trying to fit in a leisurely breakfast for the two of us.

I'm not involved (today or any other day) with the drop off of the little girl at school, but this morning I am at her house (oh so early!) just for a few minutes, camera in hand. I mean, schools will figure prominently in her life for years and years. And today marks the beginning of it all. We need a photo!

But in the end, which photo says it best?

In many ways, I like this one: I have just come in, she is fresh out of her bath, she knows the day is different and she is curious as to what's next.

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I try several times to take a photo of her with her (penguin!) backpack. Here's the first attempt.

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She takes it right off.

I show her her (penguin!) lunch pack. She seems rightly puzzled when I tell her it contains her (freshly cooked this morning by mom) lunch. What, am I to eat lunch now? Right after breakfast?

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She runs to the kitchen to confer with her mom about this.

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Ah, but it's time to go.

Let's try the back pack again.

I already told you I do not want something hanging on my back!

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And then she is distracted by the workers in big trucks who are fixing some power lines in the neighborhood.

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I suppose each one of us has a favorite photo of a child's first day of school. Or, if you're like me, you'll think that there isn't one that tells the story well and so you put up a few and end the series with this one, where the proud parents are walking with her to her new learning adventure. Ah, there's that Snowdrop grin!

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Back at the farmhouse, Ed has just sat down to slosh through some cereal...

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I resist the temptation to join him for this rushed bit of eating. Instead, after he takes off, I carry my own breakfast outside, to the porch...

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... and spend the next several hours catching up with everything that has fallen behind in the beautiful but crazy rush of travel, visits, and Snowdrop time.

But just a tad after the lunch hour, I am at Snowdrop's school, picking the girl up -- as will be my habit for the months ahead.

How was your day, little one?

Oh, that question asked a million times over by every parent and grandparent, receiving every imaginable answer in return! Will Snowdrop someday chat her way through a walk home? Will she think back, pick out the unusual, or the problematic, or the happy recollection and share it with whoever happens to ask?

Once school starts, a bit of control is handed to the child and you no longer know all that you might want to know about her day. But in these early years, you still get to exchange a quick word with the teacher. After answering a few questions (she's wet? she watered plants... how cool is that!), the teacher glanced over at Snowdrop and commented -- she's such a happy little girl!

At home, I swear Snowdrop seems more emboldened. In control. And yes, as before and as at school -- happy.

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But following this extraordinary adventure, she takes the longest nap I ever remember her taking.

Excitement, followed by recovery.  A perfect balance. A splendid beginning.

Monday, August 29, 2016

last summer Monday...

It was a wonderful weekend of family and food and talk. Many, many hours of it, even as afterwards I thought -- but I forgot to ask this and tell about that...

But the new week's here and with it come the expected changes. The young couple is off and away...

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... and breakfast is as it was before. Ed, me, the porch.

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And then Snowdrop is here, because it's still a summer Monday for her, even as tomorrow, the little girl starts school.

But today, she still is here.

Snowdrop, I think grandpa Ed is trying to make an important phone call.
But I want him to read me a book!

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Guess who won that round?

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I wont post many photos today. We did quite a bit of dancing...

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Really, quite a bit...

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And a lot of reading into the late afternoon, as the little girl is tuckered out after a seemingly endless summer of adventures.

Evening. For the first time in very many weeks, I haven't an agenda. Belly up, good book in hand, and a big smile for the beauty of this rapidly fading season.

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Sunday, August 28, 2016


Sultry, hot.  Still, we start the day with a porch breakfast. Leisurely, just right.

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Our family gathering really begins at the lunch hour.

(As we leave the farmhouse, the cheepers gather around my younger daughter. What do you have for us? What do you have for us?)

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We get falafel take out from Banzo Shuk.


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(Grandma orders a tea. Snowdrop likes the looks of it.)

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We eat in the park, but we do not stay long. It's hot!

(At the farmette, I feel I've neglected the flowers. And they're not bad for the last days of August.0

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Snowdrop does a rare rebellion against a nap. Why sleep when you can get everyone at the farmhouse to play with you?

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Oh, it's nice to have an uncle and aunt around!

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Evening. A meal for grownups only. We go to Forequarter -- a place with special memories, since the people there catered my younger daughter's wedding.

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And that's it. For better for worse, the weekend ends.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Wake up early. Oh no! Sniffles! How can I have sniffles? I have a most perfect weekend before me!

I will myself not to think about it. Get up. Open coop. Take no photos (it's raining). Get back to bed. Can't sleep. Damn.

A shower always feels good.

Downstairs now. Ed is making adjustments to his newest machine design project.

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Breakfast. Inside. Quick.

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It's drizzling ever so lightly, but we want to go to the market!

We do go to the market. Here's Snowdrop catching up with the rest of us.

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Aunt, niece, croissant.

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Next: to the store so that I may grocery shop.

And now it's early afternoon and we roll up our sleeves and get to it.

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My younger girl and I love these cooking marathons. The menu we put together is always absurdly difficult but in a sense, that's the point: the challenge is very satisfying! (Today, from Keller's Bouchon, we pick the herbed Gnocchi a la Parisienne, prepared with summer vegetables.)

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My older girl keeps us company in the kitchen. As does Ed every now and then.

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Oh! Here's a wonderful photo, done by Ed, of me, my two daughters, my granddaughter.

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Yeah, her!

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(We're whipping the cream now.)

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Dinner's nearly ready!

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And dessert (also from the Bouchon book) -- almond cake with strawberry rhubarb compote.

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In the late late evening, the girl's parents propose a few minutes at their neighborhood coffee shop. There's music tonight. The little girl loves music! Dancing to it is possibly the highest of highlights for her.

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Happiness is sharing music and dance and a weekend with the people you love!

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