Thursday, July 31, 2008

Twenty years

John and I, having first met in high school, had our 20 year reunion last weekend and this is the man that made it happen: Robert Lathan! He and a number of dedicated folks (Adrienne, Noellle, Brian, Mike, Kenn, Freddie., Larissa, Tomika, Harold, Valencia, and Louisa) organized for months to create an inclusive, fun, flashback of a reunion.

As my friend's husband said "how lucky to have a group that is genuinely happy to see each other after 20 years." And it was joyful to see the faces we saw daily for four years, all grown up with handsome spouses and children. And sad and shocking to hear who had passed away. As Harold wrote: We're not promised to make it to the 30, 40 or beyond year reunions if we are blessed to make those happen! SO PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE...Do Not Miss This...We all go through ups and downs in life...put your past discretions....mental, physical, emotional, financial burdens on hold and come out and see your KING 1988 Family that loves you! And that sentiment was felt throughout the weekend's activities.

There is something mythic about those high school years; it was our first large social experience while our hormones and egos, interests and conflicts stewed in beer and crushes. It was hard to imagine a world beyond the daily homework assignments and getting to class on time, much less the angst of peer pressure, popularity contests and zits. We were fragile then, limited in our roles and experiences, narrow minded and often cruel. What a relief it is then to be 20 years out, to have survived and hopefully thrived in our own ways. So, here's to King General pride! So honored to have been a part of it!

Friday, July 25, 2008

What to do with all that rain

Rain barrels and down spouts have been working overtime this summer along with sewers, sump pumps and wet vacs. Julian with his natural interest in hydraulic engineering took an immediate interest in the rain barrel since we moved. He moniters the amount of water, connects and disconnects the downspout depending on water level and the expected weather outlook and will even run out in the middle of a flash flood to "check" on it. So, the other day when I was watering a transplanted pepper plant, he scolded me for not using the rain water first. Man, those kids will keep you honest. Then he proceeded to use the rest of the collected rain to water the garden, fill up Maia's bucket umpteen times and help create a swamp in the water table.

Water Lilies and Dollar Bonnets

Maia's first canoe trip! Julian navigated and grandpa shot photos. We explored the floating leaf plants and the amazing gel coating on their stems...
White Water Lily
-Grows rooted in mucky or silty bottoms
-Flower opens in morning and usually closes by afternoon
-Provides excellent habitat for largemouth bass and sunfish -Seeds are eaten by waterfowl
Dollar bonnet/Watershield
-Has a clear, jelly-like coating on the stem and the underside of each leaf
-Similar to a lily pad but smaller and have no slit

Good things to know when the whys start flying...

Grandpa took thousands of pictures between the wedding and our trip up north, not kidding, thousands! Thanks pops!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fun with Words - me in six

Jocelyn challenged me to a six words memoir:

wanting always, dreaming mostly, settled sometimes...

How about you? Townblog? Mother Rising? Gilhooly?

1. Write a six-word memoir.
2. Post it to your blog, maybe with a pic.
3. Link to the person who tagged you
4. Tag a few folks
Here's the original meme by Bookbabie.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sweets for the Sweet

A few of my favorite things: smocked dresses for little girls (Amanda Remembered fishy) and cherry chocolate cupcakes (ala Amu of course)! The chocolate grin is pretty sweet too!

Beauty Oak

This is the heart of my Grandfather's cabin in the northern woods of Wisconsin. When he first bought the tiny house 50 years ago it was heated by this stove and my mom and her sisters pumped water and used the outhouse between swims in the lake and fish gutting lessons. It was a two bedroom house with a kitchen and living room until my Grandfather decided to prop up the cabin and put in a basement. The second bedroom where my mom and her sisters slept in bunk beds was converted into a bathroom when my Grandfather decided to live there year round. He also built a garage, which is bigger than the house, when the city put in a roadway that lead up to the cabin - Deer Trail Road. Grandpa lived there into his 90's , golfing daily, until he passed away in 2007.

Now the cabin belongs to my mother and her two sisters and we all gathered there last week for the first time. Sleeping in tents on the beach, futons, air mattresses or the floor, ten of us for three days played in the warm water and soft sand, held toads in our hands, picked wild daisies, canoed through lily pads, listened to the calls of the Loons, walked through schools of fish, ate wedding cake, put floating candles out on the water and saw bright constellations through the clouds of the milky way.

At home now, a few good books keep the Northwoods alive; one of which I am reading for a bookclub- Truck, a Love Story by Michael Perry ("I am happy to live in a place where I can chuck a washing machine out my back door and no one judges my behavior unusual"), The Terrible Hodag and the Animal Catchers by Caroline Arnold ("It had the head of an ox, feet of a bear, back of a dinosaur, and tail of an alligator") with beautiful black and white illustrations by John Sandford, and The Range Eternal by Louise Erdrich (A girl in the Turtle Mountains remembers how a wood-burning stove provided the family with good soup, warmth and protection along with "pictures of long ago" in the hot flames of the stove's belly.

Grandma and Grandpa Love

Yes, Grandma (Amu) looks younger each year and you can always count on Grandpa (Papa) to a) wear his art of america tee shirt on every 4th of July and b) coax a giggle out of any of his grandkids (which now number FIVE... sorry Ger!). Welcome to Nora Kate, our newest niece and pretty much the cutest button in the under one week set.
Thanks for the fudge cake, blue birthday balloons and the lovely party Amu and Papa! We love you!

Friday, July 04, 2008

White balloons

I just sent out book #7, which I got the order for the week of the move. Sorry to the art gods but life just got in the way. The office/work room is not really functional yet so I found it difficult to focus, much less find my materials. Such is life during a move. I've found myself frantically searching kitchen drawers and cabinets in search of a particular wooden spoon because the rice needs stirring NOW, which would have taken me an instant to find in the old house. Same for my scissors, mat board, bindings and marking pencils. Here's hoping July brings order to the workspace!

But for now, the monpons are packing for more forest time in the northern woods.

A big congrats to Steph and Pete who were married on Tuesday here in Wisconsin. We sent up balloons with their names and wedding date that night, letting them float up into the clear evening sky. Apparently Mr. Juj put our phone number on a few of them because we got a call from a very nice woman just outside West Virginia who reported that she found one on her lawn less than 24 hours later. Our aunt Judy made the bouquet and boutonniere and a friend of the family led them in their vows. Mai Mai brought the rings to the bride and groom and the we all celebrated back at the house with guinness, food and friends. Much love to the sweet family!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Pine Forest

Originally uploaded by monpon.

Juj and I took a quick camping trip with lovely friends. Storms caused the weekend trip to be abbreviated into a one-nighter, but we packed a lot in. We drove through thunderstorms on the way to the group site but had clear skies for the evening of fire building, salad tasting, beer drinking, wienie roasting, smore making, card playing, guitar strumming, glow light throwing, skeeter slapping, and campfire karaoke. As we settled into our sleeping bags rain began to fall gently and we slept hard, waking up in our own personal, portable sauna. In the morning, we had strong coffee around the campfire, blueberry waffles with banana butter, and a long hike through the ice age trail before the drizzle began and never really let up. Short, sweet and always worth the effort to go sleep out in the forest. Some images of the trip here.