Spring is on Springs

Spring. It bounces on springs.

The lull of winter is gone, and we are left chasing the boing of spring.  Before soccer and baseball start, we are wrapping up gymnastics, Pinewood Derby for scouts, the Science Fair project, and a visit from Flat Stanley.  And learning the ins and outs of roasting a chicken.

Today's Hump Day Short is mostly in pictures of this surge to a warm spring.

The annual Pinewood Derby Car Build.  Other than the wet white space shuttle falling on the dark stained wood floor in the kitchen necessitating  moving like lightening to scrub up the acrylic white paint before it set -- all went well.  Great camaraderie between Bill and the boys.  And within the Pack:  Having won and gone to districts for two years, the boy that won in Will's den stepped down and let the 2nd place finisher go to districts.  Yes, the sweetness of that gesture made a few of us moms tear up.

Will completed his science fair project independently this year.  Just as well, I don't think the dining room table would have held me.  Actually, this is just the presentation preparation after the experiment: How much weight can eggs hold?  Four eggs didn't even crack under the weight of 25 pounds of books.

It's always a pleasure to have Flat Stanley visit us.  For some reason, teachers in Iowa include Flat Stanley books in their very early spring curriculum.  Nevertheless, Stanley and I made it to a beach and picked up some shells for my niece.  My fingers took longer than his to thaw.

Liam and I wrapped up a cool, windy, rainy spring afternoon with the preparation of a roast chicken.  That boy likes to cook!  I nearly killed the moment when I started in on a story about how we used to help Grandma butcher chickens.  He had chosen the word "butcher" for his vocabulary the week before.  The student dictionary's definition was something to the effect of  "to prepare meat and sell it."  I soon curbed my version.  Some day he'll read the real story.

(Have your read the real Fowl Story?)

Spring Shopping

Last week my Microplaner broke in two. I loved that thing. For much of my 30’s, I bought specialty kitchen products from traveling cookware shows. Now, if I buy a tool for the kitchen, I want it to have a couple purposes: like a big bowl I could use for mixing and for serving... small bowls for individual fruit servings or to serve condiments with main courses.

But I loved that Microplaner. I used it for zesting fruit over a bowl. That’s it. A Microplaner does not fit my current kitchen multi-purpose mantra; plus, I still have my box grater standing at attention in the back corner of the cupboard. It would do the job, so I didn't need to replace the Microplaner, but I really wanted to.

Part of the allure of this tool is its history: It was originally used by wood workers. With a sturdy handle and a long, narrow, fine grater the width of a ruler, it was designed for delicate jobs – comparable to getting only the zest and no white pith off citrus fruit.

A new shopping complex opened up near us; surely either Pottery Barn or Williams-Sonoma would carry a replacement Microplaner. It was a good excuse to have a look around. I parked between both home stores, and another store caught my eye. J. Crew. Never been in one, so I decided to take a look. Lovely, lovely clothes. I moved to the middle of the store thinking there might be more sizes above 0 – 6 farther back. And there were! I found two XL vest tops for summer. I tried them on and realized I had made it to the size 12 section. No, my wardrobe at the present time would not be seeing J.Crew additions.

Sold on the idea of something new for spring, I decided to go to a store where I was sure to find something that would fit. Gorgeous spring colors dressed the windows of the shop across the way. Again, everything was lovely in this store too! I made a circle throughout the whole store and zig-zagged through the displays in the center of the store. I soaked up every spring hue of baby-chick yellow, bunny pink, lilac purple and mint green.

Then, sure enough, I found just the thing. The Microplaner in Williams-Sonoma fit my hand like a glove. I nearly bought the mini-whisk too, but the cashier said it shouldn't go in the dishwasher. At least I found one thing that fit me.

High Waters

On this beautiful spring day, I have just a couple minutes to gulp air before diving back into this race our family is running between rainy, snowy spring and hot, humid summer. For us, that race started right after spring break, and it’s a short powerful sprint to the last day of school in mid-June. Some race highlights:

The sun sets later making me yearn for summer nights. (“I’m NOT going to bed. It’s NOT my bedtime. The sun is still shining and you are trying to trick me!”)

I’ve moved away from cozy crockpot cooking and cleaned off the grill. We will start looking for Thursday afternoon ice cream treats rather than Dunkin’ Donuts. (“Here are your donuts, ma’am. Your food will be out in a minute.” Served up with distinct emphasis on “food” not “your.”)

More leisure time to do the things we love on the weekends. (“This isn’t fair! I don’t want to play baseball this early in the morning. I don’t have enough time for myself!” Tell me about it.)

I’m caught between the refreshing newness of spring and the cynicism brought on by this craziness engulfing spring. I must bail myself out. After all, I just told my son that sarcasm doesn’t look good on a kid. And I should model good behavior.

Alas, I say it all with a smile. For I must smile. We all smile when we realize we have been sending our children to school like this, right? ("Wow, look how much you have grown this winter!")

A problem that will be resolved with the first 75-degree day and a good pair of scissors to convert them from short pants to long shorts.

I can hear it already: “Cool, Mom!” (And that I will interpret as "Cool Mom!")

Happy Hump Day Short!

Wordsworth's "Daffodils"

Norton Anthology of Poetry. Spring. Daffodils. Wordsworth poem. Memorized. Not. It's an annual tradition. Unsure if I found the poem first or the daffs first. But this year, I know exactly where to find the 26-year-old anthology, so I can try yet again to memorize it. The chemo shelves in the basement.

Armed with an empty laundry basket, I head to the basement for a double-errand: dry towels & swim trunks and the big book. At the bottom of the stairs, I'm delighted. I remember both the bag and the book. I open the anthology and briefly glance at the poem. It was still there. I would fold laundry upstairs, then sit for five minutes and read the poem.

Two hours, or two days later, I got the basket to the second floor. And with a few minutes at hand went to pick up the book I had laid on top of the towels. Gone. And so much time had passed since pulling it off the shelf, I have no recollection of where it went.

Call it what you like: multi-tasking; distraction; motherhood; age; chemo brain -- my short-term memory has blown a fuse.

"I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats o'er hills and vales, when all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils. I gazed and gazed but little thought what wealth to me this sight had brought. For oft when in pensive mood... inner peace and solitude... sprightly dance." And there is my jumbled favorite poem. I extract its meaning even though I've lost the exact wording.

No appearance of the anthology. But thanks to modern technology, I found the poem.  The character of the poem is very different on a clean computer screen. No smell of paper and dust. No notes in the sides. No dog-eared page marking the spot. Wordsworth wrote this in 1804; I think he meant for it to be read from paper. Eternally read from paper.