Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Small Talk

It's true, I've never been good at small talk. I'm socially awkward that way, even though I try hard to overcome this trait. I'm like a little kid who wants to hide behind a parent's leg, and squirms with discomfort when forced to make small talk with someone she doesn't know. I like the comfort of hiding behind a strong something. That's why I often search for Jon, who is  comfortably conversing, and I give in to the urge to intrude into his conversation, wedge my arm around his and clasp on for dear life. His arm is like that strong leg. It annoys me when I hear people say that shyness is a form of pride. Clearly they don't get it.

I guess this blog is a safe place to hide behind, a comfort zone where I can make a little small talk with ease. I can show pictures, describe thoughts, and tell of the things we've been up to without having to see some one's reaction, or try to read what they don't say. I just write to remember our days. It's kind of small talk for the pleasure of it, knowing that behind the casual words there are deeper memories and impressions.

So doesn't small talk often begin with the weather? Yes, today was drizzling for much of the day. Jon and I hung out way too late this morning before getting on with the day (one reason I love homeschooling) because the grey weather was so cozy and un-energizing. Jack complained of a sore throat and tummy ache, and by breakfast time he clearly had the stomach flu. All over.

The day's plans were pretty much cancelled, except for schooling the older three. The power even went out for a couple hours. I spent much of the morning and early afternoon next to the toilet bowl with my little boy, stroking his hair and rubbing his back as he hurled. He would rest his head against me, crying, until he'd fall asleep and I'd carry him back to bed. He would sleep for twenty minutes and we'd repeat.

My days aren't always so. No, last week as the kids played outside and I reveled in the beauty of the afternoon light and the blessings all around. As I happily chopped fresh veggies for dinner in a relaxed kind of way, I noticed a small movement from the corner of my eye. Behind the refrigerator, I was pretty sure I saw something peek out... something like a large lizard or a snake! I screamed.

You must understand that I can tolerate the lizards the boys bring to me like prizes; I can get up close to "admire" their finds, and I even pet their little heads or stroke there bellies. I'm fine with small lizards. Not so much with snakes, though maybe very small garden varieties I'll get up close because I love my boys.

But wait. A snake in the house?! No way. Yes, I screamed loudly and sincerely, and the boys came rushing in. They were thrilled with this adventure, pulled the refrigerator away from the wall and out came a loooong Alligator Lizard! These are pretty much like snakes with legs and they have a snake head, in my opinion. I hate snakes, and I strongly detest alligator lizards making their home in my kitchen. I surprised even myself and repeatedly screamed with horror from the counter top. The kids laughed and laughed at me, saying that the only thing better than finding a really big lizard (about 1 foot long?) was watching my reaction. They said it should have been recorded and sent in to AFHV. They were just lucky I didn't kill the thing with the tazer we recently found on our walk.

I haven't been the only crazy lady in our home, either. A couple weekends ago we had a group of people over from church, and in walks a real crazy lady. She just let herself in, totally confident that she was at the right address for a meeting with a certain lady, and she couldn't be convinced otherwise. She was not all there, obviously, but felt right at home with us. One of the boys said if she comes back again while Jon is away, they just might have to tazer her. Oh boy. I have made sure the door stays locked.

We've been gardening some more. Flowers make me happy. They brighten and beautify even the dumpiest places. You could live in a shack, but with a little bunch of fresh flowers, it can be a place of beauty. I have always thought so.

After gardening this weekend, play.

Michael's a neat guy. He knows what he likes with certainty. He doesn't look around to see what other people like and flip-flop on his preferences. He likes old things, unusual things, and unexpected uses for objects. His favorite Christmas gift was a fountain pen, and he has been wanting to create an unexpected/secret case for it. We took him to a thrift store where he found and bought this $3 book...

...and he carved this spot out to store his pen. He was determined to do it himself, even though Jon had suggested a certain drill bit, and was a little regretful that the old book with cool type was ruined. Still, he is very happy with his fountain pen holder.

It now sits on the shelf between the American poems and Dickens. (The thought just came to me now that this would book would have made a good prop for Andrew's St. Patrick's pictures!)

After I took the above picture this afternoon, I looked out the window to find Jacob up and out of his sickbed. In my garden boots, no less. I was glad to see the illness had past.

Here's Andrew's recent gift to me made from twisty-ties. He has decided he doesn't like me to kiss him anymore (but he squeals out laughter when I smother him with kisses at bedtime), or run my fingers through his hair in public. He's growing up, so I savor his little gifts.


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