Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Timing

Springtime usually coincides with my annual--no, perennial--urge to agricultivate. One recent day when NS and I returned from a walk, the garden outside our rented apartment had been plastered, Wizard of Oz-style, with a small house (a.k.a. "shed"):
The timing couldn't have been worse.

To be fair, the landlords gave me plenty of advance notice so that I could rescue the tulips and garlic that had trustingly sprouted. And just before the driver of the blue excavator leveled the perennial garden (brown dirt patch to the right of the shed) he asked whether I wanted to dig out the remaining flowers. I hastily stuffed them into makeshift planters to await transplanting at our new house:
On second thought, because I have a new house and garden in which to plant, maybe the timing couldn't have been better.

It looks like my daughter may be catching the gardening bug early...or so I hope:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Helping Out

A highlight of NS' weekend with Grandpa and Grandma was helping to pick up sticks in the backyard. She was more interested in pushing the wagon and wheelbarrow than in taking rides!

Monday, March 9, 2009


NS wants YOU!
Upwardly mobile, whatever it takes:



Last night I dreamed that NS, only 14 months old, flabbergasted us all by uttering a complete sentence.

I was elated, yet slightly disappointed that her first sentence was in English, not Spanish.

In reality, her vocabulary has been lurching ahead. Recent additions include "papa," "ball" (first object word), "bye-bye," and "amen." That brings the grand total to approximately seven (plus "woof," "moo," and "boo").

NS' communication is much enhanced by her ten-or-more hand signs. Lately she's been using two signs together, as in "water, please" or "milk, finished." "Help" is a high-frequency sign, used both to request help and to express a desire to help (i.e. stand on a chair and get her fingers in the batter, dishwater, etc.). She's started signing "music" (i.e. "sing a song!") during diaper changes, in the car, and when reading books.

I'm delving into Bill Bryson's The Mother Tongue: English & How It Got That Way--a delightful foray into the curiosities of linguistics that leaves me amazed and amused. Language--its creation, its evolution--is as strange and marvelous as nature itself.

No less wonderful is the fact that it all begins in the brains of little babes.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Last week I heard this poem read by a worship leader (a former English professor of mine) as part of a Sunday morning service. How often does contemporary poetry find its way into the pulpit? I don't remember exactly how this was woven into the theme, but for me it struck a resonant cord (or chord; choose your metaphor).

Blessed are the poor in spirit

I am not made to pray. I close my eyes
and float among the spots behind my lids.
I chew the name God, God, like habitual
gum, think about dusting the shelves, then sleep.

It is hard to speak to the capital LORD
who deals in mountains and seas, not in a woman
rewashing her mildewed laundry while scolding
her toddler through gritted teeth. I should

escape to the closet and kneel to the holy
singularity who blasted my cells from a star.
I should imagine the blood soaking
into the cross's grain, plead forgiveness

for splintering my child's soul. But the words
never find their way out of the dark.
Choirs and candles shine in his bones
while I doze at the door of his body.

Tania Runyan
--from CHRISTIAN CENTURY, March 10, 2009