Thursday, January 18, 2007

Random Thoughts on a Pleasant Day

Well, the snow has finally melted enough at our house for me to feel comfortable driving down off of the plateau. Like most West Coasters (not to be confused with the West Platters), I am a complete wimp when it comes to bad weather driving, and I cower behind four walls until slipping on ice is a very remote possibility, rather than an at-hand probability. So, I took advantage of the betwixt storms situation to hie myself and the Bug out to Bellevue for some mother-daughter bonding time.

Everybody come and play! Throw every last care away! Let's go to the mall today!

At the mall, Sadie and I got our customary Strawberry Julius and soft pretzel. This little ritual was one I observed with my mother, and it is a wonderful tradition with the Bug.

Then we went to Gymboree. I have a love-hate relationship with Gymboree, because every clothing line is absolutely adorable -- and a wee bit on the pricey side -- and I always spend too much when I go there. It is so easy to avoid buying myself clothes (in fact, I hate it), but Sadie looks good in everything, and it's hard not to indulge. I love dressing my little girl.

After the mall, we went to Lakeshore Learning Center, where I got Sadie a new phonics game. She's caught on that her other phonics games are really learning tools, and in her recalcitrant way has begun to refuse to play them. Even promising to get her a dog when she can read at the second grade level has failed to inspire my contrary Meck. She's been like this since birth. I remember coaxing and encouraging her to talk and feeling like a miserable failure when she celebrated her one year birthday without having said a word. Then, when I let go a bit, Sadie exploded with complete sentences and hasn't been quiet since. If I gave up on teaching her to read, she'd probably have her own library card with 100 books checked out within the year. Stinker.

Speaking of books and children, here are two recommendations: The Let's-Read-And-Find-Out-Science series by HarperCollins and Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins. Sadie's Auntie Sabina got her hooked on the former, and I got Sadie the latter for Christmas after reading a review in the Wall Street Journal. Oooh! And another great storybook is The Runaway Dinner by Allan Ahlberg. That book never fails to crack me up, and, as parents well know, finding books that appeal to you as well as your children is a great boon when you're stuck reading them over and over again.

One thought of books leads to another. I just re-read L.M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle after seeing it mentioned over at Joelle's. I just love that story. And I love, too, how Montgomery's writing really holds up. I loved her as a teenager, and I love her now. Granted, reading her brings me back to those youthful days, but I think she has more than a little to offer the more mature reader. Especially The Blue Castle -- one of the few works of Maude's that I can call to mind where the heroine is an adult when we meet her.

Libraries: All the fun of shopping for books without the reality-check moment at the end when you have to shell out money for them. Awesome! Whenever we pay our property tax, I pretend in my mind that all of it goes to public libraries, which I love (though, from a moral standpoint, I admit really ought to be private), rather than the wretched public school system, which I hate on principle. How fun it is just to cruise the aisles, pick up whatever catches my fancy, and then breeze out the doors with them all, not a penny poorer!

Dinner tonight will be BBQ Chicken Salad -- one of Jason's favorites. This was one of my New Year's Resolutions: Write out two months in advance what I will make for dinner. Because, that's really the hardest part, isn't it -- thinking at 3 or 4 PM what you ought to make for dinner at a time when you are not at all hungry? Now that I know what's on the menu for any given day, I can just go ahead and start making it; there is no need to wait for the dinner muse to come a-knocking. It has worked out fantastically so far, and it is definitely one of my favorite and most practical of New Year's Rezes I've ever made. It helps streamline grocery shopping, too.

Speaking of which, here's kind of a cool thing: Cozi Central. It's a free, on-line family organization center. It puts family members' appointments and messages into a forum that can be easily viewed by other family members via the Internet or mobile phone. You can also keep running shopping lists which can, then, also be viewed by your, say, husband before he leaves work. So far, I really like it.

One of my dearest friends, Princess Holly, is coming up to Seattle this weekend for business, but she's staying with us -- so any down-time becomes hanging-out time. It's always so fun to visit with her. She speaks four languages fluently and has traveled everywhere. Plus, she's a big reader, so there's always something new to discuss. We agree on very little politically or epistemologically, but we share a mutual respect for each other, and there are other bonds that keep our friendship strong. She and I have a standing appointment to make a pilgrimage up to Prince Edward Island and pay homage to Ms. Montgomery one of these days. Now, whether my first trip there will be with Princess Holly or with my other fellow Montgomery-fan friend, vermonster, remains to be seen. Holly is my "Emily" books friend and vm is my "Anne" books friend, and I guess you could even say that Joelle is my "Blue Castle" friend (though all three love the other works, too). Maybe we four ought to plan a simple LMM hootenany to celebrate all aspects and heroines of that enchanting wordsmith's career and life up on PEI someday.

What a lovely, pleasant day!


vermonster said...

I adore The Blue Castle. I have always felt a bit "Valancy" actually.Most likely due to her being an adult at the onset of the book as Justine suggested.

You honor me, Justine, that you consider me you "Anne" books friend. It is a joy to have such a Kindred Spirit.

I am Island bound again this year..something to consider...

"And if we never have any adventures we'll have nothing to remember when we get old" - LMM

Serena said...

Well, I knew you were "of the tribe that knows Joseph" the first time I read your blog. Don't leave me out of your PEI trip! Please! We really tried to figure out how we could fit it in when we went to Quebec last summer, but it was just that much too far (something like 600-700 more miles one way) so we trashed the idea. I'd have to say that I've been more of an Anne reader, just because I haven't had as much time to read the others. I'll have to borrow them from Joelle sometime and fit it in somehow. It is just too hard when you are a mom and wife and have so many things to do. I want to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy, too. The list can keep growing if I think on it too long.

"Not the penny poorer" is only the case when you remember to turn them back in on time! I think I have some fines to pay on my card. Good thing it isn't that high so they let me still check stuff out.

Love and shalom,

Joelle said...

Count me in for the PEI trip! I'd probably beg, steal & borrow if I had to just to make it! :D

I like your meal-planning idea. I need to get into that myself. I need more organization all around, though, and not just in the food/kitchen department!

It's probably good I didn't have a girl, because I think it's easier to go overboard on girlie clothes than boy clothes. And Sadie is a doll in just about anything!

My older sister taught me how to read when I was around 6. Haven't looked back since! I remember the first library book I checked out - about a very slow mouse who took a very long time to get from place to place. One day he came home to find out his family had moved away and he didn't know where they were. I can't remember the title of the book at all, which really bugs me!