19 May 2008

and on and on and on and on

I've been in kind of a funk lately, so I probably won't be posting much this week.

I'm in a rut right now where I'm looking to the future and seeing nothing but miles of monotony. Mostly I'm fine with the way my life is, but the past few days, the past week or so, it's feeling incredibly useless and depressing. My life is a broken record.

I cook and cook and cook, which takes as much mental energy as physical, what with planning menus and making things nutritious and even just trying to have each element of a meal on the table at once, and then we eat all of the food and my hard work has disappeared and I have to do it all over again.

I wash our dishes and wash our clothes over and over, every day, and yet we're always dirtying more dishes, dirtying more clothes, and I have to wash and wash again and again.

I pick up puzzles and blocks and Legos and trains and videos and yo-yos and board games, but the boys always need something to play with, so as soon as one thing is put away, something else comes out and I'm always picking up, putting away, picking up, putting away.

Let's not even get into other people's bodily fluids, because those never stop coming, either, and those things fall squarely into a mama's job description.

It is work that I do, this domestic stuff, this mothering stuff. Yet it's a curious kind of work, in which all of my efforts are continuously negated by other people, and there is never anything to show for all this work that I do. Everyone has housework, everyone has responsibilities, of course, but to take your own burden and multiply it by four (and with children, it often feels like even more than that), it just gets tiring.

No matter what else I do with my time -- taking the kids to the park, going to the grocery store, reading a book, going camping, sewing, playing board games -- those things are just tiny breaks in the never-ending monotony of domestic responsibility, and I am tired. I never envisioned that this was what my life would be. Most of the time it's okay. But once in a while it just makes me very, very sad that this is all there is right now.


16 May 2008

friday photos: lilac festival edition

For the last week Rochester has been celebrating spring with its annual Lilac Festival. We've been three times so far, and might make it back once more before the festival ends on Sunday. There are rides and vendors and tons of carnival-type food, but my favorite part is the flowers. Not just lilacs, but flowering trees and tulips and rhododendrons and peonies and on and on and on. We've gone a little photo crazy.

Here's Greg and me in front of what turned out to be a crabapple tree. Who knew they could be so gorgeous?

James climbing one of the best climbing trees I've ever seen:

The boys resting in a cool carved bench:

Evan spent much of this morning's excursion in tears, because he just needed someone to CARRY HIM!

Below the fold, a bunch of flower photos. But, as my mom pointed out, no photos of the famous lilacs. Sorry.

An orchid in the conservatory:

I don't know the name of this flower, but it was also found in the conservatory, in a very humid, tropical sort of room, and it was literally nearly the size of my head:

And some interesting varieties of tulips that I thought were just beautiful in both shape and color:

Happy weekend, everyone!


15 May 2008

pernicious penguins

I just read my children one of the most "challenged" picture books in America: And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. It's a very sweet book -- the true story of two penguins at the Central Park Zoo who fall in love, spend all their time together, and raise an adopted baby penguin together. It's just that these two penguins both happen to be male, so apparently telling their story advocates homosexuality.

It's true, by the way. If you're a parent, then you surely know all about the pernicious influence penguins have over children. After we saw March of the Penguins, it was all I could do to keep my children from jumping in the icy river in the dead of winter. And after we saw Madagascar my children started learning martial arts and tried to steal a cargo ship. And after reading this book this morning, my children immediately set out in search of gay penguins to have sex with.

Really, it's a very sweet, simple story and I find it incredibly sad that there are people somewhere out there who feel that their children are in some way threatened by a loving penguin family. Penguins.


09 May 2008

friday photos: budding artist edition

Yesterday I was feeling brave, so I got out the easel and paints for Evan. This is something he loves, but it's so much work on my part that we rarely do it. So yesterday he had a total blast.


06 May 2008

identity crisis

My darling younger son is entering a phase of identity crisis. Every day, we hear (multiple times) a very detailed description of who he is at that moment. Often he must stand still and repeat his title several times in a row before he is able to, say, walk to the bus stop, or get into the bathtub. Some examples:

"I'm super-duper big mean red blue Obi-Wan Kenobi on Hoth."

"I'm super-duper ultra mean brown Tuscan Raider."

"I'm super-duper big mean black white clone trooper."

He is always super-duper. I have to agree with that bit. But please don't address him as Evan, unless you wish to be corrected and reminded at least three times.

My favorite, though, was the night we were having dinner with friends, and, at a lull in the general conversation, Evan said, mostly to himself, "Everyone calls me Evan, but I call me a bounty hunter."

Good to know.


02 May 2008

friday photos

A cute photo of me and beardy Greg, just for fun:

Greg and James fishing at the lakehouse a couple of weeks ago:

The boys posing in front of the lakehouse:

Greg and James enjoying the hot tub at the lakehouse:

An example from James' kindergarten April journal, in which every entry involves video games:

Happy weekend, everyone!


01 May 2008

just quiet

I haven't felt like I've had much to say here lately. Things are good; we've been busy. We've been enjoying spring and seeing lots of friends, but none of it seems worth reporting on at the moment. I've been lazy lately, yet am still not getting enough sleep. Go figure. So what have I been doing? In case you're curious:

I've been listening to NPR a lot lately, trying to stay informed, but finding it hard to care about the endless coverage of the Pope's US tour or which presidential candidates wear American flag lapel pins. I thought NPR was supposed to be the good news source. And then, I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I hear news items like this: "Gas prices have reached an all-time high, with an average price of $3.76 per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline. This is one cent higher than the previous record, which was set... yesterday."

Saw a couple of good movies recently: Velvet Goldmine (about '70s glam rock in the UK) and Kinsey (about the famous sex researcher). Just don't watch them with your mother; that could be a little awkward. Unless you and your mom like seeing full frontal nudity together, and if so, who am I to judge?

I've started reading a book about the Rwandan genocide of the '90s (We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families) and it's helping put my life into perspective a little bit. I may feel bored and useless sometimes, but at least I'm not being hacked to bits with a machete. There's always that.

I've been following news of the worldwide food shortages, while simultaneously trying to pretend that it will not affect us that much. Just when I've gotten good at economizing on food, prices of even the most basic things are going to skyrocket. Oh, while I'm on the subject, let me direct you to this article at Cheap Healthy Good: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding the Food Crisis, which lays out the causes, effects, and potential solutions in handy list form. A good read.

The big news in the world of children is that James has a cavity, which makes me feel like a failure of a parent. Though it's not all my fault: "James, have you been brushing on the back side of you teeth?" "Nah, it's too hard." So we're re-establishing good brushing habits, and stepping up the flossing as well, which is hard, because I would rate flossing my children's teeth as one of the grossest things I've ever done as a parent. This is more a weird thing about me than anything about my kids' mouths, but I would rather change a thousand dirty diapers than floss someone else's teeth.

That's all, I guess. Hopefully I'll wrangle up some photos to post tomorrow.