Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Walking With Scarecrows

My Mom-in-law comes up with the coolest activities for us when we go to visit, and this latest weekend had one of the best yet. A town nearby her decided to invite ordinary people and business owners to outdo each other with scarecrows, displayed on the town's main street; we spent a fun afternoon wandering among them. Here are some of our favorites:

The Werewolf of London scarecrow. It took the boys a long time to feel comfortable standing in front of him, he was so realistic! And now, the song is stuck in all of our heads, not a bad thing really.

Luke snuck into his favorite scarecrow set-up:

She has a disco ball above her head, too!

Isn't it amazing how creative people can be? We'll put up our usual scarecrow for Halloween - that is, if any leaves have fallen yet to be the stuffing. And this year, we will do it with a real admiration for what you can do with a scarecrow if you put your mind to it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Obladi, Oblada...

Life goes on, rah/
La la, how their life goes on/

Even though it has been a tough few weeks, there has also been much to be thankful for. Here are some pics of our life going on, this lovely, lovely autumn.

Hiking at a place called King Philip Rock (the name, incidentally, has raised some curiosity about who King Philip was, and finding out has been yet another cool part of this fall):

The tree with the reddish leaves is called sarsparilla, and someday I am going to figure out how to make root beer from this tree.

Here's the view from the rock itself. It's so nice to be above the trees in our very tree-ful neck of the woods!

Here's a preying mantis that hung out on our doorstep for a while one afternoon. He was at least five inches long; I love how he's looking at us in this pic that my Dad took.

I made amazing apple jelly with apples from a friend's tree. Isn't it a pretty color?

We visited friends up in Maine, and one highlight of our visit was a ride in their motorboat:

My favorite bird, the loon. I love how they look, how they sound, and where they live... of course, my family thinks it's because I can really relate to a bird with a name like loon! Heh.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What Matters Most

I have had a health scare these last few weeks. Without going too much into it, somewhere in the next decade I'll need to undergo one - or, possibly, two - life-altering surgeries, and it's taken some time for me to absorb the news.

The problem started as a direct result of me being too chicken to get my wisdom teeth out as a late-adolescent, and I am telling you this so that you can run, not walk, your 17-20-year-old to the nearest oral surgeon and save them lots of bad problems later.

At times like this, it comes in really handy to be a yoga instructor; I have some good weapons in the get-to-sleep-even-when-you-are-freaking-out department. Even better, when ten-year-old Luke has trouble getting to sleep, we have a routine of breathing exercises to get him ready for sleep, and mental exercises to give him good dreams.

I don't know if his trouble sleeping recently is from the distinctly panicked vibe I have been unable to hide, or if it's just pre-adolescent angst, but we've been doing the get-to-sleep exercises frequently of late. And they've been helping me, too!

The good-dreams mental exercise Luke favors is actually designed to promote creativity; you imagine a plain old drinking glass, and then you shape it, change its color, what it's made of, turn it into the perfect cup for your needs right then. Once you get it looking just the way you want it, you then have the option of inscribing words or designs on your cup. Finally, you fill it up with whatever liquid you want - Luke's is usually hot chocolate, mine is tea, sometimes hot and sometimes of the Long Island variety - and drink it down.

I always enjoy this way of helping Luke get to sleep, for the relaxation we both get from it and especially for this unusual way of connecting with my boy. He always asks me what my cup looked like, what was inside, and then tells me sleepily about his own before giving my hand a squeeze and mumbling, 'see you in the morning.' It's a window into a child's mind that I think few parents enjoy.

But a couple of nights ago, I designed a cup that changed my whole outlook on this ticking time bomb in my jaw. I should say, Luke and I have done this exercise dozens of times, plus I teach it in yoga class frequently, and I have never had the same cup twice; my brain keeps coming up with new things, which I just think is so cool.

Anyway, this cup: an Old Sturbridge Village barrel mug, in that lovely red clay, with twiny lines encircling the upper and lower thirds. Usually I don't have writing on these mental cups, but my brain chose a question for the middle of this one - "What matters most?" In tiny letters, over and over again.

What matters most?
What matters most?

It's such a simple-sounding little question, and thank goodness for that - it's helped return some perspective to my thinking. It's helped me to remember to be thankful for all that I have, especially for the wonderful, amazing people in my life. It's helped me to try and be strong for them.
It's helping me remember how lucky I am.

Because I am really incredibly lucky.