30 September 2006

a friendship rekindled...

so, i shoved Bobo's stuffing back in, stitched his teeth back onto is face, and presented the toy to Sam again once his mood had mellowed.

this time things are working out a bit better...

28 September 2006

A Bobo for Sam.

I love that Petsmart commercial about the dachsund and its little sausage-shaped doll named Bobo. So when I went to buy cat food today and ran across a whole bin full of Bobos on sale for $4.99, I snatched one up as a surprise for Sam.

I could barely get Bobo out of the plastic sack before Sam was springing toward my hands trying to see what I had brought home. He typically assumes it is for him, and today he was right for a change.

He immediately grabbed his Bobo between his teeth and carried it over to the dining room rug to get acquainted.

Then outside to the patio for a little sun-basking:

And back into the house where things took an unfortunate turn for the worse:

Blobs of cotton stuffing now litter the floor and what was once Bobo's large toothy grin has quickly become a scary set of dangling teeth ripped out of place.

I don't understand it...the dog on TV was so nice to his Bobo.

today and the today after that

So many things are constant and never-changing to keep the day in balance with all that is unexpected. Since I don’t yet know the unexpected parts, I can’t write about them. They are material for a future blog, one that will be about something concrete, like spotting an interesting red flower growing at the edge of the yard, or having dinner with our friends Joe and Holly last night, and wishing I could drink a glass of wine to go with the pot roast Holly made for us. But those are unexpected things, and they are in a different category.

The expected things are those that I always just “know,” that never throw me off guard. Usually I don’t stop to appreciate them, and I guess that’s the way it happens that people start to take things for granted...

I know that when I wake up each morning and sit in my yellow chair by the sunroom window, I will look across the room to see a cage draped with a white sheet, and I know underneath that sheet (once I pull it away as if revealing a magic trick) there will be Sam, our dog, curled up in mounded blankets. I know that when I open the cage door, he’ll walk out slowly, taking his time and stretching each leg as he goes. He will give himself a little shake (as if after a bath) to remind himself that he’s awake. Sam is not a morning person either, and we understand each other like that.

Sam will move slowly toward the back door, and Mia will swat him with her paw on the back as he passes. I like to think of it as her way of giving him a morning high-five, though her eyes tells me she means something else entirely.

I know that Jeremy will be wearing his blue bathrobe, drinking coffee from his over-sized Starbucks mug that he uses every day. I know there will be various size 10 shoes tossed about and un-paired, and I know that I will trip over them a lot, making me wish I had a set of eyes on the bottom of my chin with which to better see the ground.

I know that I will anticipate the mail. I always do, and check it three or four times throughout the afternoon, turning the little silver key in the lock of the old-fashioned brass box attached to a porch post. And I know that I will glance up and see the grimy remnants of that robin’s next atop the post and think, “we really need to wash that off.”

I know that I will open the refrigerator door and find something to eat, that I will make the bed, hear the cat purr, line up glasses in the dishwasher, and use my fingers to type. I know that within a day I will feel both insecure and peaceful, that at some point I will give my husband and hug and feel thankful, but later squinch my eyebrows at him when I trip over another shoe. And it makes me wonder if I would know one without the other.

25 September 2006

good weekend.

friday: began with a trip to Target seeking curtains---two for baby, and a thick tapestry one on clearance for some sound-proofing panels Jeremy is making for recording at the house. I'm not sure what it is about Target that I love so much...maybe I’m making up for so many years of turning up my nose at it (as a kid) when my mom wanted to shop there. But we all must agree that Target has also come a looong way since the eighties, and I now love wandering through the aisles of picture frames and decorative pillows.

by afternoon I was taking photos of my pregnant friend Alice at her house. It was a lot of fun (and a new photographic endeavor for me,) though I am finding it more and more difficult to navigate a step-stool suddenly. I am wobblier than I remember being a week ago while stacking clean sheets on a closet shelf.

jeremy headed out to spend the evening with a friend, and left me with delicious take-out Thai noodles and a movie on the sofa.

saturday: we lost our fall chill and dragged flip-flops back out of the closet for a quick morning trip to the Tennessee Flea Market. Trying to stay four steps ahead of the rain, we dashed from booth to booth in search of treasures, and happened upon an apple-green cabinet the perfect size for a changing table. I also bought some vintage blocks and a small white side table for $15.

rain swept in an hour later, once we were tucked indoors. Jeremy headed to his "cave" [he calls it] to craft some songs, and I took his cue and worked on a project [to be unveiled soon.]

the storm brought the indecisive autumn weather back, inside a slow wind that took until Sunday afternoon to fully arrive.

after church: J spent time tending to the garden; I sneaked a few clippings for a kitchen vase. grocery shopping found the usual cart-full of boxes and jars, but I did notice three mini white pumpkins next to the over-ripe avocados. As I bagged them up, I remembered a day last fall when I bought two larger white pumpkins for our porch from the local flower shop. A year passes quickly, and brings with it a flood of memories when you find yourself in that season again.

later, I went antiquing with a friend in search of chairs for her new house, and magically we ended up at--of all places--Target, at the end of our hunt.

things have a way of coming full circle.

19 September 2006

sometimes a weed looks like a flower

If I am blank on things to write about, or else having an “off” morning, all I have to do lately is step outside my back door and suddenly inspiration sweeps over me. That is particularly true on days like today. I woke up in a grumpy haze that followed Jeremy slamming the bathroom door. Not because he was angry, but because the door is one of those cruel details of an old, old house and makes a harsh slamming sound when closed. You have to be deliberate and methodical if you want the door to close softly, and since it is attached to the bathroom on one side (sleeping wife on the other), it is rare that we have the patience to spend thirty seconds to make the quiet close happen.

So I woke up with a jolt, and then grumbled my way to the kitchen cabinet for a mug.

Awhile later I ventured outside in hopes of stripping away my funk, and found the lawn damp with morning dew. It reminded me of walking to middle school from my childhood house on Farnaby Court. Most days I walked with my friend Shannon who lived two doors down. The entire first floor of her house—minus the kitchen—was covered in bright wall-to-wall carpeting the color of new limes. I actually don’t mind that color so much now (see Bebe’s overalls), but at the time it was sort of shocking to find that actual shade of carpeting in a place where people lived.

My own house had lots of cobalt blue and white, nice drapes, and my mother’s eclectic touches. I loved the huge antique painted trunk to rest my feet on, and the speckled ceramic cats that sat on the kitchen windowsill. It was a cheerful house with large windows, and never seemed to have a smell, the way other people’s houses did.

Of course, I now realize that it probably did have a smell of some sort, but that smell smelled like us, so there was no way to ever step outside of it long enough to notice. In the same way, Shannon’s house, which smelled often of bologna sandwiches, was most likely a scent that her own family found familiar and pleasant.

Different as our houses were, we walked to school together every day, through the long stretch of dewy lawn that led to the front of our school. By seventh grade, we had begun incorporating nude-colored panty house into our outfits as a means of “dressing up.” Usually we wore skirts with our panty hose, but we also had knee-high versions to wear with pants and a snazzy pair of flats. Often I looked down to see freshly mowed grass stuck to my shoes, and dots of water soaking into my nylon covered legs. The worst were the mosquitoes that hid in the grass, darting at our legs as we scurried among them. Trying to scratch an itch through a synthetic layer of skin is not as easy as one might think.

This morning in the yard, I walked barefoot on the fresh dew, having seen something across the lawn that drew me to inspect it. Out against a plank of wooden fence grew this huge red flower that looked a bit alien from far away. Surrounded only by a short bed of wild clover, the flower stood alone, begging to be noticed. Even though just a flower, there was a lot about it to study. Some of its tomato-red petals were curled like party ribbons, while others hung flat like a daisy. From underneath its center grew long wispy shoots that resembled great eyelashes. As I looked down the center of the bloom, it almost seemed like several small flowers clumped together to make a larger one. It was the prettiest accidental flower I have ever seen.

That’s when I found myself remembering the dewy lawn of seventh grade, and panty hose, and bologna sandwiches, and ugly green carpet. It’s amazing what a step outside your door can bring back into memory... I went to get my camera.

14 September 2006

Reconstructing BeBe

Jeremy's mom passed along his childhood teddy bear to us and he's been resting comfortably in the closet for over a year now, waiting for a reason to come out of the shadows. Feet reattached through the years with shades of thick thread ranging from bright red to pale blue to school bus yellow, he had also earned small gaping holes in his throat and down the center of his back. Obviously, BeBe was well loved at one time in his life...even to the point that his nose had fallen off.

Now that we have a son coming, I decided it was time for BeBe to have a makeover. His retro polka dot overalls are actually back in style again, so he needed very little adjustment, other than a bit of mending. Out came the sewing kit, scissors, and a scrap of brown felt...

Jeremy was less than thrilled about my addition of blue pom-pom buttons to BeBe's overalls. He says the pom-poms look "Hungarian," whatever that means. But he compromised and let me keep them, if I promised not to tie a bow around BeBe's neck or add any other embellishments.

A few hours of stitching later, and BeBe is ready to befriend the next generation of a Casella boy.

We'll see how long his nose lasts this time around...

12 September 2006

Rain | Rain

Yesterday we were outside watching butterflies in the garden. Today it is pouring down rain. It feels like a good day to be tucked inside the house listening to the swoosh of passing cars as they drive down wet pavement.

On our first day in Paris it was raining too, so we rolled our suitcases over the drenched cobblestone streets, up and over curbs and through patches of mud until we found a place to rest. Jet-lagged but overwhelmed with the beauty of the city, we made our way toward Notre Dame Cathedral, squeezed together like siamese twins with only a small travel umbrella for shelter.

Desperately in need of warmth, we ducked inside a café’ mere steps from the cathedral for a breakfast of ham and cheese baguette and café’ au lait. It was cold and grey outside just like today, but Paris is always beautiful, no matter the weather.

We couldn’t check into our hotel for several hours, so we trudged through the streets for several hours, hovering near Notre Dame to take shelter in its shadows when the sun eventually appeared. We found an old bookstore and got lost among its shelves for awhile, then found a heated patio for lunch: another ham and cheese baguette and a pot of hot tea.

A little French girl was playing in her slick blue raincoat near the massive church, kicking her legs at both puddles and pigeons until both scattered in the air. She didn’t seem to notice me taking a hundred photos of her, too preoccupied dancing with her feathered friends.

The skies had mostly cleared by the time we arrived at our hotel in Rue Cler, with its breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower beyond our bedroom window…

Outside the window this morning from my perch on the living room couch, I can see a lemon yellow house with white trim and the edges of several evergreen trees brightening up the foggy sky. But what I wouldn’t give for a mug of café’ au lait and another glimpse at Paris, even in the rain.

Yesterday's butterfly:

08 September 2006


I have been cleaning out my iPhoto collection and ran across several forgotten photos from years past. Thought I would resurrect them here.

06 September 2006

Morning Outside

At first I was skeptical of September. Now, six days in, it has turned out to be just the peek at fall I’ve been hoping for. Finally, it is time to come outdoors and utilize our new garden. Sam is springing all across the lawn like a jackrabbit, digging frantically at the edge of the fence and barking at twigs as his steps make them crunch. A few wild strawberries hang on between blades of grass, and bees zip from stem to leaf on the hedge of purple sage. There are still those hints of summer lurking, but then the clouds move over the sun and bring a moment or two of cool shade (see, there it is) that hints at the drop in temperature to come. Our hackberry tree is beginning to drop its leaves, so one patch of lawn appears almost in need of raking.

I barely recognize our yard. What used to be a blank canvas of grass upon grass, with a few blocks of thick concrete to make a path and tiny patio is now carved out with cobblestones and flowerbeds. Our wheelbarrow and potting tools still line up along the fence, waiting for next spring I guess. Or one of us to put them away.

Oddly, things keep flying past my face…first a tiny spider (I didn’t know spiders could fly, but I swear it was one), then a little hair belonging to nothing, next a crackly leaf that bounced off my head, and just a moment ago, a huge monarch butterfly that whisked past on its way to explore the pink house next to us. My advice would have been to stay over here, had it paused long enough to consider the options.

I probably need to write about something besides the weather soon, but the seasons have intrigued me lately, I think because I realize how much is about to change. I have started to feel the baby’s first kicks, a preview. Kind of like September.