May 2011

This weekend I was in the country. When I arrived I immediately became overwhelmed. The gardens seemed overgrown. The grass was over a foot high. The pond was low. The house was hot. The windows were sealed for winter efficiency with putty. The screens were in the basement. The beds were layered in flannel and down. The fridge was soiled with exploded soda. The garage was piled with sleds. The bike tires were flat and inflating one didn’t help.

We put the place to rights, mostly me and my daughter. She even tackled a winter’s worth of garbage and sand in the van, along with my mother, who arrived shortly after we did and was her tag team helper in the morning when we woke up ready to start another day.

I’m new to all these chores. I don’t know how to run the mower. I’m a weak and slow gardener, with no sense of how to give shape to the plants, only a minimal sense of what is weed and what is flower. I have learned to free the bucket which feeds the pond. That was my first task, and seeing the water flowing boosted my confidence. My daughter helped free the windows from the putty. I found the screens stacked neatly in the basement, where my housemate had left them covered in a trash bag for winter. I sponged the fridge as I filled it with the contents of our cooler bags. We had a nice dinner of falafel and naan, made from the contents of my home freezer and pantry. There was time for a movie after dinner, and my kids found it good to be back after months away.

The two younger ones challenged each other to ever more daring and skillful tricks on the homemade swing, which hangs from the branch of a tree. When my friend arrived after noon of the second day, we worked together to change the tire on the bike. My oldest son came to help and so I felt complete. We were all involved in the opening of the house for summer. Later I took him for a drive, or he took me for one. We went after dinner, as I remembered driving with my mom and dad and sister when I was a small girl, traversing the country roads while the sun set behind the hills. It was warm and my son and I were laughing as he learned to drive and I learned to coach and relax, not panic.

Day two we gardened, cleaned the car, stacked the sleds and the show shoes, swept the garage and the drive, used the handmade garden cart to tip debris over the cliff. We lazed a little, read our books, had lunch and breakfast at our leisure. Then it was time for the lake. We SWAM. The water was warm and the beach was full and it felt glorious to be on my back in the water, sunlight glowing above my closed eyelids, arms outstretched, to be swimming laps beyond the dock and diving board, close to the ropes, not too far from my children, who swam and sunbathed nearby.

Afterwards there was ice cream at the Hardware Store, a first hug from my neighbor and one of the proprietors, ant traps for home, bread made by Skinny, local eggs in shades of blue and white and brown, in a hand labeled carton showing the chickens who laid them, or some who shared their farm at one time.

At home there was a barbecue, more car cleaning, mashed potatoes, salad, watermelon, summer, then more driving at dusk, then music around the unlit fire place, with guitar and my new book, Rise up Singing, which was fun, then another movie, The Illusionist, which made my eyes tear, and my kids sad, magical and lovely to my mind, not sure what to theirs.

And in the morning, there was breakfast as the sky cleared of overnight rain and the sun came out, a Memorial Day Parade, Ashfield style, with more singing and a band and words from local people at Town Hall, at the cemetary, where no one I know is buried, but where we ladies were given bouquets of old-fashioned flowers to place upon the graves of the veterans, and where we were invited to sing, and did, Hallellujah coming out very nicely in a crowd of solemn celebrants, This Land Is Our Land making my daughter happy as we had sung it the night before.

And then there were the leaving chores, the stripping of the flannel sheets from the beds, the gathering of towels, the cleaning of bathrooms, the replacing of bicycles and helmets and garage doors and keys each to their proper places, the emptying of the fridge, the wiping of counters, the vacuuming and sweeping, the shutting and locking, the turning off and letting go of summer in the country for our return to city life, to home, to school, to day care, to work. On our way home, my son drove us into town, where we swam a short while, put on dry clothes, stopped for one more ice cream cone, said good-bye to my mother and my friend, and the town, gathered our wits about us, and departed.

Near bedtime my daughter said, having helped me with unpacking and with finding the fans and screens for all the upstairs windows, as our house was hot and stuffy and we were tired, “At one point in Ashfield, I wished we could just live there.” Which I did, too, but we can’t, and we don’t. Our life is here.

I woke in a cooled down house near six as I always do, overwhelmed by my life, by laundry, by untidy piles, by vacuuming, dusting, by sorting and giving away, by day care chores, by impending disaster, by finances, by scheduling, by summer, by all the things I wake to in the morning which make me wonder how the day and year will end.

By the time my kids left for school I was having trouble remembering the weekend. When I got to day care, Liana let me know how happy my daughter looked on her way to school. When the kids arrived, my youngest past nine, I could feel the old normal kicking in. We went into the yard to plant things I had brought back from the country, rosemary, tomatoes, basil. I pruned things. We dug. We watered. The kids played with sticks and salt marsh hay and the prunings of small trees. They wore work gloves and dug with metal shovels into the surface of the earth. I was calmed.

On our way back from school, after I had missed the bus, which came early, marched quickly to the stop for the second bus, far away, arrived late at school, allowed the kids to play, talked with my friend who lives halfway up the hill from school to bus, heard the sad news that her father, who often stood on the playground watching the children as I did, a tall, elegant, outgoing man from Serbia, smiling always as his daughter and granddaughters do, had died, two weeks ago. I had hugged my friend when she stopped at the turn of her house, which I normally don’t do, had sensed something was wrong, but I hadn’t expected this news. He was seventy four, and he died suddenly, two weeks after returning from her home to his. She had gone there and come back in the meanwhile, and now I knew the story, I could see how hard it must be. She, like me, is a single mom. Her dad had been a great help to her, someone her daughters and she depended upon and loved. Now he’s gone and never coming back. It’s like that. When my after school kids came back down the hill, we shared the news with them. My friend seemed unsure, but I was not. “It’s good for us to know what our friends are feeling.” Her daughter is their classmate. They ought to know.

As we waited for the bus, I noticed how happy my charges were, how pleasant and deep our conversation. We talked about cigars and smoking and about my seven’s grandmother, who has gotten sick from smoking, can no longer use her words or the right side of her body. She has had a stroke and is in and out of the hospital. Funny as I write this to think of talking about being happy, but we did. I asked if the children thought of themselves as happy children. They do. The seven said she is cheerful. I agreed she is, though I also imagined outloud that she is other things, sad, grumpy, tired. We all are. Yes, she was grumpy this morning. Which I was, too. I wondered if she knows why she’s grumpy in the morning, which she said she mostly is, but she didn’t know why. Asking her made me think about my own grumpy mornings, my waking with the worries of the hour, the day, the week, the summer, the year, the world, pressing me back into bed. When I’m up and with the kids, moving through the day, responding to the needs of others, watching kids gather fallen rose petals from the ground under a bush, placing stolen johnny jump ups in a small ceramic pitcher from the yard sale in Ashfield, digging in the dirt, talking with friends at the park, sharing a meal with children, working alongside Liana, I am fine. The worries vanish. There is nothing to be done but what I’m doing.

On the way to pick up the kids from school, leaping off the bus to catch the light and cross Broadway before it changes, I think how many nights this week I’ll be home alone, after meetings and events, but still alone, and I wonder how to do it, having spent my near entire life in the company of people, I’m unaccustomed, learning this skill, which I imagine my friend Macky also learned when she was divorced and her son was with his dad, and I take solace in her story that I’ll learn, that it won’t be forever, that it’s a stage.

On the playground, my friend is there and we talk about August to June and the tests, the endless tests, and what to do. I think as we say good-bye, that I will keep on hoping, and then I add, Hoping and Working, and she agrees, tells me I ought to write something about the tests, which I have just done, in my way, having told her I don’t do well with facts, that I write about things of the heart, which I have just done. We each do our part. She’ll work on legislation. She may use our talk about the money and teachers and students time spent on tests in the upcoming discussion of Extended Learning Time in the State Senate. I’ll keep thinking my small world thoughts and working on the big picture, too. This is what I love about my city life. Here I’m connected. I have people and conversations and places I need to be. Vacation is good. City life is, too.

Yesterday we welcomed back one of our children from a week away. His uncle died last week and the family was together celebrating his life. We learned the story via e-mail and at drop-off, a hard and long one of suffering and hurt. Our boy, however, returned happy, having been surrounded by cousins,  grandparents, loving parents, and friends, ready to be back.

This morning we welcomed back one of our children from a weekend away. She and her dad arrived to tell us her baby brother had been born at home six hours ago and that they had pancakes for breakfast. We spent the morning playing birth, midwife, doctor, dancing, singing Happy Baby to You. Dad called midmorning to see if we had space for the afternoon, knowing his girl would more likely sleep with us than at home, where everything is new, and that she needed rest. We had space and my bet is she’s resting peacefully below.

For the last week or two the former nanny of our youngest girl was visiting from Germany. Yesterday she spent her last day with our girl. Today the girl was reserved. Mom stayed awhile on the couch, nursing the nearly three. We talked with amazement about the home birth, contrasted it with our own not easy hospital births. When she left the girl was fine. Shortly after, she bumped her head, and I offered my lap. She is not normally a lap girl for me, but today, I held her close and she didn’t get down til clean up time, snuggled in so close as I rubbed her back, that our four asked if she was nursing. When I said no, the four said, Oh, she’s sucking her thumb. The feeling was so similar to the feeling I had when she was first with us a year and half ago, when the nanny had left for Germany and she had entered our care, desolate and our only newbie in ages whom we carried in a baby carrier, that I said so to Liana, who agreed.

As I sat on the couch, surrounded by dancing, snuggled by my two and a five who had enjoyed a George and Martha book with me, smiling wryly at the funny parts that struck us both, the sun came out, as it does, even after a long rainy stretch like we’ve been having. Happy as almost always to do what I do.

On the way home from after school pick-up on the bus, I think about the subtitle of the recent movie screening, Bringing Life to School, and think how grateful I am that we can and do. I think ahead to tonight’s Charter School Working Group Meeting and wonder how we’ll do it there. We must, just have to figure out how.

This morning

My son is wearing his Real Men Wear Pink t-shirt. His hair is longer than mine, which is pretty long. I’m at the kitchen table, sitting on a pretty red upholstered chair I couldn’t resist at a Circle Furniture Floor Sample Sale. Beside me is a soldering kit from Radio Shack and a Took Kit from Ace Hardware. We’ve just completed our first soldering project, an amplification device for my son’s project, converting his dad’s old violin into an electric viola. I’m so proud I have to write about it. Not only do real men wear pink, real women work with solder.

At the Radio Shack where we went earlier in the week just before the stores in Porter Square were closing for the night, after a long work day and a quick dinner, there were two women on duty. The younger one, an African American who is about to graduate from Lesley College, advised me as we left on writing scholarship applications, helping me to get my son even a small portion of what she had gotten for herself before beginning college, 150, 000 dollars. She took us to the soldering iron section, advised us as the daughter of a mother who loves to solder. When I asked her what her mother does for work, she laughed and said, “She makes bombs.” Enjoying my questioning look, she added, “She works for Raytheon.”

My daughter stood beside me, having just spent the previous ten minutes with me and this woman and another young woman in the electronics aisle, choosing a long-awaited and carefully chosen ipod dock for her room. I loved being in Radio Shack with my kids and two young women late on a school night, choosing electronics, anticipating our first electrical project involving soldering. Ten steps beyond the snap circuits kit I bought when my sons were in day care, used by many summer school aged kids as a safe first foray into the world of electronics.

Now we’re using youtube to find out about converting violins to electric violas. We’re leaning over my refurbished laptop rating the helpfulness of soldering help videos. Don’t bother with Expert Village. Go for this guy. He was helpful. We followed his advice, and it worked. How cool is that. Real families do projects. Now for some silly tv to end the weekend right.

Not Forgotten

by Sheila Packa

I learned to ride
the two wheel bicycle
with my father.
He oiled the chain
clothes-pinned playing cards
to the spokes, put on the basket
to carry my lunch.
By his side, I learned balance
and took on speed
centered behind the wide
handlebars, my hands
on the white grips
my feet pedaling.
One moment he was
holding me up
and the next moment
although I didn’t know it
he had let go.
When I wobbled, suddenly
afraid, he yelled keep going—
keep going!
Beneath the trees in the driveway
the distance increasing between us
I eventually rode until he was out of sight.
I counted on him.

That he could hold me was a given
that he could release me was a gift.

“Not Forgotten” by Sheila Packa, from Cloud Birds. © Wildwood River Press, 2011. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

This poem was in yesterday’s Writers’ Almanac. I just found time to read it today. As I read I felt my dad’s hand on the back of my old teal green second hand bike, which I remember riding in circles in our two car garage the year before he died. I think. Hard to know for sure if he did this for me. He died when I was six, released me big time then, but it does seem to me that before he had to go, he helped me learn to ride my bike.

It was a joyous thing to live in the country and to ride first in the garage, then in the gravel driveway, then on the country road lined with neighbors’ houses, then around the corner and back, then down to the creek and the bridge, then around the large country block of farms and fields and houses and the rare vicious dog. By that time my dad was long gone.

My daughter and son and I spent Mother’s Day riding bikes around our fair city. We rode to breakfast at the coffee shop, poked around at the gift shop next door afterwards, then rode to the book store and hardware store, then home. The day before Mother’s Day I had taken my daughter to what I thought was a decent quality used bike shop for kids. Turned out the bikes were not used. They were high quality and my daughter fell in love with the first one she rode, and I with her on it. It was more than I had planned to spend. She was happier than I had imagined. It was one of those motherly moments where I couldn’t say no, wanted to say yes, and did. We loaded it up with a kickstand and a water bottle holder, which made her surprisingly happy, and went next door for a lock to keep all of our bikes secure on our rides around town.

Which are fine. For the first time all three of my kids and I have big bikes with gears and handbrakes and tires that keep up. My gal on a bike is as joyous in the city as I was in the country. My boy has my old bike. I felt bad at first not to have bought him a new one, too. I have a bike my friend Michael fixed up for me that makes me feel like a girl again. As my boy said, this bike is awesome. As is mine. Doesn’t have to be new to be awesome, but in my girl’s case, it’s both. As is she on it.

I woke up this morning remembering how many, many early mornings since beginning this blog two and a half years ago I have woken up to write. This morning I slept til near six, lay beside my girl feeling the warmth of the bottom of her foot against my calf, palm of her warm hand against my side and chose not to move. At age ten, these days for her are numbered. As a divorced mom, this morning was my last for three days. Time to enjoy the moment, not let it go.

Instead of writing, I lie there and I think.  I wonder throughout the day when I’ll find time to write. I hope I might find time during the morning with the day care kids to write a brief anecdote or quote of the day. The day with kids is too full. I hope I might find time as I wait for the older children at school, but there’s a light rain so I can’t write as I supervise them on the playground and e-mail to answer during the fifteen minutes I am under cover before the kids get out of school. I think I might have time after school at home, but we make snack, we talk, I read the mail, I make summer contracts, I answer more e-mails, we talk over snack, talk over pickup. No time in any of those moments to write, as there was no time yesterday or the day before to write about the fine weekend event of August to June Film Screening, about my own children and their projects, about our excitement and planning for Porchfest, about the wise and wonderful things our twos said in day care yesterday, about the deep, deep green of the leaves in this gray and rainy day. There was no time. Or I made no time. I’m back in the world. Someone at school who I hadn’t seen for a long, long time told me I looked different. Our mutual friend said I glowed. That was a fine thing to hear. I wanted to say to the friend back from California after two years or so away, I’m divorced. It’s a hard and terrible thing. My ex-husband is getting married in about three weeks. I’m ok. Miracle of miracles, I’m alive. I’m supporting myself. I’m making a school. I had a fine day and evening screening a movie the audience loved and wanted to talk about. My children love me and I love them. My job is working. The kids here with me on the playground about to take the bus and I are happy in the cold and rain and gray, as much as anyone here. I read a piece in Spirituality and Practice while I sat on the granite bench outside the school on a cushion of a laptop case donated to the day care yard sale which fits my refurbished computer perfectly. The piece talked about the power of focusing on the positive, about the ability of us humans to shape our brains toward happiness and contentment by remembering, by recording in memory the good things in our lives, and about the way that power can diminish even the hurt of trauma. Thank god for that. Thank god for music, for children, for lemon balm and the happy children who enjoy it every morning as we leave for the park, who exclaim upon it’s fine taste and smell and color and feel, for the landlord who tore out our hedges only to make room for a garden of delights. It’s going to be ok. Life goes on. I also wanted to say to my friend, I thought as I marched up the hill behind my charges to the bus, I was married to the wrong man. Which of course I wasn’t, really. We had a fine life in many ways. We made good friends. We conceived and raised three children, bought and cared for two homes, made it to midlife with careers and bank accounts which now support two households for ourselves and our children and our friends and now his fiance, found our way to the next stage of life, whatever that may be, unimagined for me, at least, unfolding day by day, one Violin to Electric Viola, Porchfest, Yard Sale, Lemonade Stand, Craft Fair, Bake Sale, August to June Film Screening, Housecleaning, Dinner Making, Friendship Refiguring project at a time. Could be so much worse. Good to know that and to feel it down deep. Recording it so I don’t forget. Though in this moment I don’t believe I will.

In the last week, I’ve purchased four books. I recommend all four:

The Cat Came Back because Arlo did and we’re singing and playing about it and it’ll be one of the highlights of Porchfest, now we have the cleaned up lyrics version. And because all kids seem to love it.

The Tree House Book, which came in the mail today, because the Tree House is finally, actually going to be built, and because the book is beautiful and the borrowed version made me and the kids so happy this fall when we were only dreaming.

Fair Play, another novel by Tove Jansson of The Summer Book, because last summer, or the summer before, I found The Summer Book for myself, and two or three Christmases ago I found Moomintrolls for my son Jonah, and we loved them both, and because the jacket intrigued me, and because the book is about love and work, and for me right now those two feel so nicely balanced, and because Tove Jansson writes so beautifully I wish you would all read her books.

Rise Up Singing because Porchfest is making me happy and music has gotten me through so much the last two and a half years and connects me to my kids and others who love to sing and listen and play and dance, and in hopes of singing more as life goes on. I thought to buy the set of 30 copies for 200 dollars to start a sing-a-long group, which the web site indicates others have done. I’m starting small with one copy. Then, who knows?

Tomorrow I’ll spend most of the day at the Somerville Theater in a small screening room surrounded by people who care about kids and education in a way that makes me feel supported, all of us trying to make things better in a world that can feel overwhelming and hard.

After many years of advocating at the early childhood level and within my children’s public school, I’m out of that loop. Here comes a new loop, and it’s bigger. This one includes teachers, family day care providers, mental health workers, administrators, writers, academics, parents, students, activists, grass roots organizers, writers, visionaries, political figures on the local and state level, film makers, community members, school founders and school revampers. It’s going to take all of us to make a change. We need to find, together, and each in our own ways, the core of what is important for children, and each of us, in our way and together, needs to find our way of fighting and creating towards that vision.

Deborah Meier wrote in a recent blog entry shared by the folks at AERO about getting mad versus sad. Hopeful instead of downtrodden is another way I feel the shift. Gathering a group of somewhat like minded people, who all believe each child is unique, every one with potential for greatness, that every single one matters, and that the whole person, and indeed all of life must come to school and be respected and understood and known. If we all believe, or if even the majority of us believe that raising and educating our nation’s children is a shared responsibility, we have to think together about how to make that work.

Tomorrow at August to June: Bringing Life to School, we’ll share another piece of the vision. I hope we’ll each leave with another step along the path do doing our part, together and on our own.

This spring more families have brought us plants. I think this may have started a couple of years ago when our homeschooler and a tiny one and then much of the group spent a morning digging chamomile from our local park. The young one took some chamomile to her grandmother, an avid gardener. Then the young one’s grandmother sent us plants in return. Three and a half years ago, just before my second to last relicensing visit, the landlord for the house next door decided to cut down and dig up our beloved hedges, which we had allowed to grow up to the second story of our house and which had also served as a fence for the day care yard. The violation of it felt profound. This spring I trimmed back the hedges my then husband and I had repositioned, clearly on our side of the property line, which had been somehow debatable enough to the landlord and his son that they had felt comfortable chainsawing our bushes while I stood by helplessly awaiting a city worker my friend on the zoning board and former day care support group buddy had sent by help. The hedges are growing back slowly, and in the front, spottily. The good news is where there had been shade and not much else, we now have sun and a garden of donated plants.

When I went to Gilchrist, I admired the flowers, could not keep my hands off them. As a parting gift, one of the staff members dug a Lambs Ear for me and the kids. Last year I missed a plant sale at the Healey School. My friend there saved me a bucket of plants, some of which she just thought we’d like, and those made it to our touching smelling garden. Liana brought us lavender. I think I bought some sage. Maybe Liana also gave us lemon balm, or maybe that was my sister, who gave us things last year, too. Many years ago a day care mom gave me some of her irises when she divided hers. They came back even after the hedge trauma. My former inlaws planted bulbs many years ago. This year the jonquils came up in spades. I hadn’t even remembered them, had expected daffodils. The tulips also returned, bright yellow and perky, following the jonquils, with more order and restraint.

We planted with the after school kids last year, who wanted to grow things to make oxygen to help save the earth. They helped me clear the space of weeds and sprinkled seeds of herbs one girl brought and we hoped would grow. Last year there was some basil, oregano, and cilantro and mint. I expect some of the mint will return, though the others are annual, and will only be back by a stroke of luck.

This year another mom gave us a pot of strawberries. The kids helped me transplant them and now they have flowers. There was a clump there already, probably from my friend the school gardener. We also gave her a gift, and she came one day to collect it and the kids helped. We hauled piles of granite pavers from the yard to her car out front, ones the kids couldn’t resist flipping to look for worms, which seemed more important for the school garden which required terracing than for our worm hunters, who could find worms in other ways.

Today a dad came to dig some raspberries from our backyard patch. In exchange he left some barren strawberries, a type of ground cover which he had gotten at a plant sale or exchange last weekened. The raspberries have been in our yard since we first bought the house and planted two canes there from Wilson Farm along the edge of our then vegetable garden. Since then the yard has gotten shadier and shadier as the neighboring trees have grown. No vegetables would likely grow now where the raspberries grow wild. We pick raspberries in the city every year. It makes us very happy.

I think of the book I had taken off my shelf and put on my bedside table this week, Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, whose author Novella Carpenter spoke at Porter Square Books last spring, where I heard her talk, bought her book, felt inspired, surrounded by others I imagine to be hopeful urban gardeners.

This spring two families have talked to me about raising chickens in the yard. I’m thinking about it. On the way back from my first retreat to Gilchrist I bought a book at Long Lake Book Store, one of my favorite book stores on the planet, about raising bees. Still thinking about that, too. On the way home from the park we talked to my neighbor, whose front yard garden we admire for it’s ingenuity and variety of food. This year she’s doing burlap gardening. My daughter, lover of fabric, thinks we ought to try.

Last year all we grew were potatoes and a weak tomato. Liana brought that tomato and I didn’t give it proper care. The kids dug holes and put the sprouting potato in the ground, dug it up in fall. We ate the potatoes in the day care that week and upstairs with my family, in honor of my dad, potato gardening partner of my own early childhood, in a fine batch of winter stew. I have two new seed potatoes from a day care family resting in the day care cupboard down below. I had hoped to buy a fancy growing bag, so we could layer the potatoes with dirt as the plant grew up and increase our harvest. We’ll see.

This morning I got an e-mail from a day care family who had seen my kids and some of our day care kids who were featured in an episode of Curious George on composting, filmed several years ago, also due to a day care/neighbor connection. Composting is another thing I’m learning. Those compost bins were managed by my ex-husband, have been my responsibility now for a year and a half, are not maturing as they used to do, part of the reason the garden last year was a bit under done. In past years, Eric turned the garden, added the year’s composted scraps to make the ground ready for tomatoes and basil and marigolds. Last year the scraps didn’t fully compost and I didn’t pull off the turning of the garden or the adding of the compost. I don’t know if the compost will be ready this year either or if I’ll manage to turn the garden. I read once about unturned gardens, about intact ecosystems versus the introduction of weeds. We’ll see. My day care gals helped me weed a bit in the garden. I pulled out the dessicated tomato plant. All around the garden there are blackberry vines, a gift from my housemate in Ashfield two years ago, which didn’t bear fruit or do much at all in their first year. I’m wondering if I should let them go or trim them back or move them around or what.

Beside them is a rose bush gone feral, a gift when we bought the house from my sister and brother-in-law, dedicated gardeners and yard maintainers both, who put my haphazard yard to shame, and a lilac in full bloom, growing boldly across the garden gate, a gift from my mother, who took cuttings from her bush to give to my sister and me, her bush itself a cutting from the bush I played inside on the farm where she grew up and where my aunt and uncle and cousins lived, a platform inside the bush we called a treehouse the closest thing I ever had to one.

On Wednesday I will go to Lowe’s with a grandfather from the day care, the husband to the gardener who gave us some of the first plants for our touching, tasting, smelling garden up front. We’re going to purchase supplies for our Tree House, which he will help us build, now the kids have raised over half the money. Also on my side yard when I returned home from bicycle shopping with my daughter just after noon was a suitcase of donations from a family for our Tree House Yard and Lemonade and Bake and Craft Sale, coming up along with Porchfest, Saturday, May 21st from 4 to 6 pm, late afternoon my time for a yard sale, where we hope to raise another hundred dollars or so toward the Tree House Fund.

Gray and rainy day again, gives me time to write and think and listen inside. That sort of thing can stir anxiety or calm the nerves. Today’s a mix of both, but the garden and tree house thoughts sure help. Small dreams coming true, little by little, step by step, with a good measure of help from our friends.

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