Thursday, June 27, 2013

Theme Thursday: Black and White

Theme Thursday with Clan Donaldson is black and white this week, which I was sooo looking forward to, to put my o's to good use, until my true ace but still not a DSLR camera broke. Sadness. Because I do have a fascination for the black and white, particularly for finding mood, subject matter and insight that is centrally transformed when viewed through a more limited spectrum of light and color. But I am stuck using my chintzy point and shoot and then using Picasa's various filters to bring out what I would undoubtedly have mustered on my own capacity had I my trusty camera.   Had enough of Rebekah-speak? Me too.

Peter, as most first-born, is my black and white kid. Always seeing things from his own, unbendable perspecitve. This morning he woke up at 4:15, absolutely no complaints, in order to be at swim practice at 5:30. He tells us that under no circumstances does he ever need less than an hour to get ready for whatever it is he is going to do that day. He starts every. single. day. with the hottest shower he can stand, no exceptions. Ever. He has told me a morning shower is more efficient and longer lasting than a Red Bull when it comes to getting yourself going. Clothes somehow find themselves on his body despite Peter's snail-like efforts to appear motionless. Fascinating, really, and he has taken as long as 15 minutes to accomplish socking one foot. He then sits down to two and exactly two bowls of cereal, and they must be two different kinds of cereal. It is a very rare occasion Peter will concede to have something else for breakfast, unless it's an omelette with olives, bacon, cheese. That's acceptable, on occasion. Black and white. 

When I picked him up from swimming today, I told him my idea for a photo shoot and BEGGED him just to do what I asked. So although this is what he is seen doing at this time of day, it was nonetheless staged. He suggested that smoking a hand-rolled cigarette with the smoke wafting dolefully in obdurate convergence would look much cooler. SO you can imagine that for his sake. He afforded me exactly five minutes to accomplish my purpose, groaned every time I asked him to scoot just a little to the right, and literally counted down the seconds and and dismissed me from his presence. 

Everybody needs a Peter.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Brief Summary in the Interest of Posterity: In Three Acts

Act I: The Move

A family of eight, ranging in age from toddler to teen, remarkably young and good looking at least on the parenting end, prepare to leave their mini-McMansion (not redundant) in the suburbs of Central Florida for the last time. 

no time to hedge, which will cause wailing and gnashing
of teeth to their pocketbooks
A Bucket List of Goodbyes is planned for the final day, things they will miss about the little town:

brand new nail salon visited exactly once
included only because the image is fantastic

showering under the crepe myrtles one last time

But the actual moving of items goes remarkably smoothly because the children have grown accustomed to both being ignored and enslaved.


loads and loads of help

They land with their college-kid quality level of furnishings and knick-knacks at a small beach bungalow on a barrier island in southwest Florida.

Act ends on a Sunday afternoon with exhaustion and disillusionment as the final box is set in the middle of the already crowded and slightly filthy cottage, and the father packs his bag to be gone for a week of work travel. Seriously.

Act II: The Ugly

Husbandless, friendless and internetless in a new town with an entire household of unpacked boxes, disassembled beds and shelving, and six displaced, bored, unhelpful whiny babies, the mother turns to alcohol and peanut M&M's for comfort. Not true, but that would make a far better play than Mother moping about distractedly barking unheaded orders and unloading half way through box after box without making it to the bottom of one. 

In one lonesome scene intended to induce sympathy from the audience, featuring a single moaning violin, the mother stands with trademark unkempt hair gazing back and forth between a an ever-growing laundry pile and new apartment-size stackable washer-dryer, while out the enormous window-frontage, beach goers set up brightly colored umbrellas. 

Meanwhile the children are content to argue amongst themselves, whine about their loss of friends and purpose, and live amidst boxes and boxes, finding to make the hours go unproductively by:

reading, which is a very boring scene,
and may be cut from the final production

producing free-style art unaccompanied by
sibling or adult supervision,
but nevertheless ends in a mess
on top of the mess

and seeking refuge on the beach from the very
exhausted, but somehow still
highly demanding and agitated mother

All hope for a quick resolution to the lack of internet is dashed in a dramatic and orchestrally heavy scene when the cable installers burst the water pipes, flooding the yard and depriving the little home of not only technology, but water.

oops, this will be fixed in mere days

Act ends with the mother recognizing for the first time that a crazy and ill-thought out dream has landed her and her family in a not only expensive, small, far from desperately luxurious rental home that is also, horror of horrors, a fixer-upper.

Lights fade. No sounds on stage other than the dogs' clickety-clack across the sandy floor.

Act III: The Light

The Father makes a triumphant return: Maker of Shelves, Putter-Togetherer of Beds, Bringer of Happiness to Mother. His work week away had brought him enormous success relating to his career, and that spirit of hopeful renewal spreads throughout the distraught household. And they could sleep in beds. 


Bordering on the symbolic, the little yellow house's path to the beach had been completely grown over, unusable because of the prickers. The father wastes no time in mowing it down, the first step in the process to completely clearing the path to home.

some such image would be included in the musical number
accompanying the father's return
The music slows, displaced by heavy silence. The children, the dog and the snake exit both stage left and right, leaving the mother and father alone, but surrounded by half-finished projects, scattered boxes, and perilously ugly ceiling fans and window treatments. A simple dialog about school choices and couch placement ensues, and somehow the scene pans to the front porch (I don't know how, the director can figure that out) where the middle child welcomes the new day thusly:

...and curtain

Stay Tuned

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Theme Thursday: Water and Rituals

So should I change the name of this place to the Thursday Morning Post?  No!  Because I have so, so much to tell you, Dear Web Log, a thousand posts in my head, just as many pictures in my camera, and exactly two drafts in my folder. But these two weeks have so hard. The kind of hardness that leaves your bones aching with weakness and your head spinning, and yet you still find yourself living an existence shifting through empty and half full and overflowing cardboard boxes and endless sets of sandy feet and hungry bellies AND YET YOU HAVE ALREADY DONE SO MUCH!!!

I will save all that for another post, because today is Theme Thursday with Clan Donaldson, and I swear I didn't write the schedule, but it's Water! And a thin veil of happiness descends...

Yeah, we moved to this beach house almost two weeks ago, with our six kids, and our dog, and our snake and our overworked Daddy and underpaid Mama, because even with those auspicious adjectives to our titles, we have this longing for beauty, for simple earthly serenity, for goodness' sake. And after our short foray here, I am sure we will find both of these things in this yellow brick house by the sea. 

But right now, it ain't home, it's work. So much work when we have already spent what greatness we have had in the getting here. 

Unplanned, but incredibly welcome, we have developed a little ritual of walking down to the beach after dinner and pretending we aren't going to go in, but inevitably, they go in. Ritual becomes so important in these trying times, something to hold onto, especially at times when you are feeling a bit lost and a bit homeless, even though you are neither. The Good God, He made us this way, and ritual almost feels like His outstretched hand, pulling you through to the place of belonging.

Ours is the little yellow one, dead center with the front of windows. Of course it happens to be sunset, and of course the kitchen happens to be clean (completely clean!) for the first time since breakfast, and all eight of us (teenagers included, unbidden) wander down the white sand path to the water. Actually our neighbors' path because ours is overgrown (more work for tomorrow).

Have you ever been in the Gulf at sunset? It is a liquidy, soft, golden-pink enchantment. No wonder they go in fully clothed. First it gets their toes, and then the hems of their clothes get wet, until a wave overcomes them and swallows them all up.

Pleasure, that.

So this elementary ritual, going to the water when I'd rather go to bed, I feel like in their happy, brown skinned, just one more time dip, I'm reaping the most benefit.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Theme Thursday: Dads

Dear Web Log, 
Reporting live from my local library, courtesy still no internet at our new home. But how could I not take a break from tracking down schools, swim teams, veterinarians and children trainers without joining Clan Donaldson for Theme Thursday, Dads?!

Ever met my dad?

Now ya have. I think if just about any of his six children were asked to close our eyes and picture our dad, this is what we would see. Except usually in a chair, this is his weekend pose, let's keep it real. 

My dad likes to read. But I am not sure that is accurate. That is like saying that guy in front of you in the checkout lane likes to breath, because, well, you noticed that. Reading is just him somehow, it is what he does, I think it would be degrading the word "like" to use it is this context. My dad reads. 

And raised six relatively well brought up children. And bikes. And makes pizza. And does Tai Chi. And walks. And thinks. And paints. And does all kinds of boring mind games like Sodoku and crosswords and who knows what else. He knows practically everything there is to know about everything. And loves animals and babies and nature. And making fun of people to his children. And carrying a joke on well after it is no longer funny, I mean for thirty or more years in my experience. And making his grandchildren laugh. And British comedies and old westerns. And worrying, he absolutely loves worrying, and as soon as whatever scenario has played out that he has enjoyed worrying, no matter, he always has plenty of backup worries in the wings. He loves people in need, not people in search of some good small talk (apply elsewhere.) And my mom, he really loves my mom.

My dad was born in San Francisco and lived his babyhood in Long Island while his mama finished her college degree and his daddy was off dive bombing in WWII. He lived most of his childhood in France, and most of his teen years in Colorado. Met my mom at Vanderbilt, married her in a little chapel on the campus of Yale, whisked her and their baby off to Taiwan where he finished his PhD, and brought his family of by then four to South Bend, IN, where he has taught Political Science at Notre Dame for over forty years. And has now retired, making for lots more time to spend worrying over what retirement should be like, and reading. 

My daddy gave all us kids his crazy hair, that will last for generations untold, his moodiness (bad pun, our last name is Moody), a disdain for snobbery of any kind, and love and strength as a natural inheritance to anyone raised under those fatherly hands. Thank you, Daddy, for all but the hair.


Here's another great dad I know...

Having a great father is the easiest way a girl can learn to appreciate and recognize a great man. Happiness begets happiness, and all that.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Theme Thursday : Girls, Girls, Girls

Bound together by their common girlhood and deprivation of the experience of a mother who knows anything about hair or fashion or cupcake craft, The Girls Es truly are BFF's in the truest sense of the acronym.  

In no way hoping to defy stereotypes, AnneMarie, being the oldest girl, is shy but confident, a rule follower and enforcer, a pleaser and a worrier, and so, so loving that all that responsibility she self-heaps upon her shoulders hasn't drained her natural sense of awe toward the universe. 

And Momo (Naomi Margaret, but we have called her that since birth, because she is just, well, Momo.) is definitely the little darling of the household. Undeserved. Naughty, mischievous, bordering on lazy if loving mothers could dare call such a little boop so, she is more than happy to surrender all responsibility and action to AnneMarie. How could such a tiny thing (the absolute runt of the Es litter, weighing in at 32 pounds at 5 1/2 years old)that loves to be mothered and coddled and cared for in any way, be such a daredevil and pursuer of all things dirty? Every worm and beetle and mole cricket she has ever found have been her special pet, loving them to actual death in her cupped hands, impervious to the fact that that is, well, gross.

girls. sisters. friends.

But these gifts of responsible engagement on AnneMarie's part, and adventurous abandon on Naomi's, they give them to each other.  Because you know what? Girls. Sisters. Friends.

Go see all the other girls at Clan Donaldson's Theme Thursday!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Bronze Age

Obadiah Marcus and Rebekah Lucey June 4, 1994
Nineteen years of marriage is signified by the gift of bronze, so I patiently await Obi's inevitable arrival with an exact replica of "The Thinker" sticking out of the back of his Civic. Or flowers would be nice, from the yard. 

taken yesterday. or on our honeymoon, I can't remember

That mad rapper of the Bronze Age, my buddy Homer, put these words into the mouth of Silver-Tongued Odysseus:
There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people see eye to eye and keep house as man and wife, delighting their friends and confounding their enemies.

We two, confounding our enemies for nineteen years.
I love you, my darling.