June 30, 2006

Week in review

I spent Monday and most of Tuesday and Wednesday trying not to do
anything. I was generally successful, and except for allergies, I'm
feeling much better.

Those allergies...I saw a news article a day or so ago that said our
lovely state is currently the WORST PLACE in the country for allergies,
measured in pollen counts and conditions. Yay. So if you're
suffering, and you live nearby, now you know why (N.B.: Grass is
particularly pernicious at the present time). I'm planning to finally
break down and get some of those goofy paper masks for when I work
outside; I borrowed a bandanna to wear over my mouth from Matt today,
and "looked like the gardening bandit" while I trimmed the camellia.
But you know, it really helped!

Since I've basically taken a two-week hiatus from getting absolutely
anything done outdoors, there's grass in the garden, weeds all over,
and all the things that needed to be done before, are needing to be
done still, only worser. On the up side, it's not supposed to be over
100 degrees again soon. I did get my herbs hacked down to size
(cutting the feverfew completely to the ground; it'll be back, and
besides, it had babies all over! Anybody want some?), curtailed some
nasty interlopers back to the property line (English ivy and
blackberries....shudder.), and watered thoroughly.

Yesterday was when we finally got my computer to the hospital; it was
obviously released today. Since we were in town (and the workers
needed to turn our water off again), we spent some time at Grandma Pat
and Grandpa Bill's. Among the highlights was seeing one of the local
raccoons feeding on their back porch. They have quite a few outdoor
cats who mingle with the raccoons; and the latter are happy to eat
close by, even right next to the sliding door, as long as it's closed
and the people stay on their own side of it. So we watched from only
about sixteen inches away. I was amazed at how opposable the raccoon
thumb is; the one we watched was scooping cat food out of a plastic
bucket quite tidily with her hand.

Wednesday we went to the library for story time, and to report the
girls' hours for the summer reading program. Two things of note there:
One, my girls "read" freakishly a lot. The girl (a young volunteer?)
who recorded their hours and distributed raffle tickets was wildly
impressed. I mentioned that we don't watch TV and that books are
Laura's favorite toys (Emily's pretty fond of them, too). While Matt
was gone, she easily got in four hours of reading a day; we would all
sit together for at least an hour in the morning (I read a board book,
and then we always hand it to Emily; she manipulates it while we read
the next one....), and she spent many of her spare moments, especially
while I was busy keeping things together, poring over books. (She has
recently graduated to being allowed to handle books with regular
paper--not cardboard--pages. A favorite now is one of Scarry's books,
"The Best First Book Ever!"--called the kitty book around here, since
there are giant cartoony kitties on the cover and starring in the story
(such as it is.) ) Now that things are more normal, she doesn't get as
much time in, but it's still two to three hours a day. True, she may
not always be technically interpreting the letters into words out loud,
but I figure it counts when she's turning the pages, pointing at
things, and (sometimes) repeating the story to herself. So she's
racking up those hours that translate into raffle tickets and "book
bucks".

The second notable thing was that there weren't very many kids at
reading time (ten?), and Laura was a happy maniac, dancing and singing
with abandon. Very different from our last trip (when she pretty much
stood and stared the whole time); I guess she just doesn't do crowds.
Emily, on the other hand, crawled around to strangers and tried to use
them as levers to help her stand up.

Speaking of which...the reason I say she's kind of a daredevil is that
she's so focused on the task at hand that she endangers herself
constantly. I swear, she's got an Olympic (gymnastics?) trainer on ice
somewhere, and she's on a deadline to get her regimen perfected. She
wakes up in the morning, and wants to stand up, or, preferably, walk
(except she can't yet.). From then on, anytime she can, she wants to
practice standing. The fact that she can't stand unsupported, however,
seems to get forgotten quickly. Typical event: she pulls herself ever
so carefully up by the edge of the couch (hardwood floor and rug
below). There are two board books on the couch (deposited there by
Laura, who "cleans" the rug rather quickly when she's in the mood to
dance). Emily grabs one in each hand. Wait! There are no hands left
to hold on! Boom. Bonk! Waaaah! [scoop. "Oh, Emily", said with a
sigh and a shake of the head...]

O.K., I can see this happening once. But she'll get right back up and
do the same exact thing again, over and over. Perhaps this is the
universe's way of teaching me that stubbornness and stupidity start
with the same letters for a reason....I am now actually hoping she'll
just hurry up and get strong enough to walk. She'll probably still
fall down, but perhaps not as often!

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