We had a lovely and busy weekend, one of those big bright sunny ones filled with milestones and smelling of lemonade. On Saturday, I conducted my first story time of the summer at the library. I was a little nervous because it’s been almost two years since I’ve planned one; I used to read every other Saturday or so at this little bookshop in Eagle River. That seems like such a long time ago now. It went well, even with only two very small two year old girls in attendance. They seemed to enjoy the story and the craft – we made seed bombs out of air drying clay, a bit of mushroom compost, and wildflower seeds. One of the little girls put the compost in her mouth, thinking it was something to eat. I am not the sort of gregarious story time lady that smiles loudly and claps to get the children’s attention. Xander and I were once at a story time in the library in Eagle River and the lady was so loud that some of the children jumped. During another story time at the main branch in midtown Xander demanded that we leave right now because the lady was loud and scary and was making him sing. My way is a bit mellower, a bit gentler. I usually read two or three books, tell the story on the feltboard, and then invite the children to do the art project that I’ve set up. I used to do the musical instruments, but usually so much time is taken up fighting over a tambourine that I ended up just playing some music and letting the kids dance, if they felt like it.
While I was finishing my story time, Xander and Gary had started setting up the lemonade stand at home that Xander had been planning all week. He had in mind to earn some Pokemon money, and thought a lemonade stand would do the trick. It was a hot day, and his friend Scarlett came over to help along with her brother and their mom, who is one of my best friends (hey there, Polly). Scarlett and Xander have known one another since they were babies, and it was cool to see their friendship pick back up after our year and a half in Alaska.
Once the money had been made (around $10.00), and cheeks were red from playing in the sun all day, we ordered dinner from one of our favorite restaurants downtown for an early Father’s Day celebration.
Gary is going to be out of town most of June and July, so we wanted to make sure we celebrated before he left. In fact, we dropped him off early Sunday morning (very, very early Sunday morning), and spent the rest of the day trying to fend off the lonely feeling that descends over the house the first few days after he leaves. We walked the dog in the drizzling rain and I bathed her later…she jumped out all soapy before I had rinsed her off and she tore through the house. I finally caught her and lifted all sixty-three pounds of her back into the tub.
After drying her off, and letting Xander play a bit of playstation (okay, maybe more than a bit…the kid’s on a roll with Lego Harry Potter years 5 through 7), I painted this odd floor mirror a sort of silvery white. It’s an odd floor mirror because my aunt Dorothy picked it from a dumpster before we moved back from Alaska, and gave it to us to use in our new house. It wasn’t ugly or anything before, just dark, wooden, and heavy. The white paint livens up the corner of the dining room that it’s in.
After I was finished Xander and I went for a hike at Ijams, where we found a vine hanging from a tree that was perfect for swinging on. After about twenty swings his arms were tired so we finished the hike and went into the visitor’s center. Knoxville people – they have coffee in there now! It’s Vienna Coffee Company (my favorite coffee out of Maryville) and I couldn’t drink a drop! I was sort of re-diagnosed with Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease last week (I suffered from it terribly when I was a heavy drinker in my teenage years), and it’s probably reared its acidic head because I’ve been drinking way too much coffee. I cut it out completely for the first few days, and now I’m only drinking one cup a day. With almond milk. Ick. I’m not allowing myself any dairy except for yogurt and tiny splashes of cream for my ONE coffee and cups of rooibos tea, red meat, butter, citric foods, fried foods, onions, spicy things, saucy things, cheesy things, meaty things, peppery things, etc. Mainly I’ve been eating very simple sushi, rice, salads (no tomatoes or onions or mandarin oranges or creamy dressings), oatmeal, berries, chicken, whole grains, etc. It’s the way I should be eating anyway, but now I have a medical reason. It hasn’t been too painful yet, I haven’t even missed chocolate (did you know chocolate is terribly acidic?)…I do miss coffee with real milk or cream, though. Almond milk is so thin and watery and blehhhhhhhh.
Xander ran into a girl he knew while we hiked back to the car, while we were visiting the tree with the swinging vine again. She watched Xander swing and said to her mom, “Oh. I don’t know if I can do that. Girls can’t do everything that boys can do.” Her mom was aghast and so was I. Where the fuck does this come from? From the shocked look on her mother’s face, and what I gathered of her personality, it was clear this little girl wasn’t being raised to be some delicate flower who couldn’t hammer a nail or cannonball into a pool, you know? Where on earth does this come from and how can we stop it?
After the hike, we ate on the patio at one of our favorite restaurants on Market Square. It’s one of those sorts of places where you tick off on a pad of paper what you want in your salad, and they mix it up in a giant bowl. As we were eating, we watched some sparrows pick at cashew nuts and breadcrumbs that were left on the ground. At one point I got up and got a refill of my green tea (all the while eyeing jealously the beautiful carafes of coffee laid out on the counter next to the pitcher of green tea), and when I returned to our table on the patio Xander had picked off pieces of his grilled cheese sandwich and laid them on the ground for the birds. He’s a sweetheart, that kid.
When we got home, I asked Xander if he wanted to try riding his bike again. He and Gary had been working on it, but to not much success. Gary had especially been working on helping him with his balance, and it must have stuck into Xander’s brain a bit, because the kid took off and was riding without any help. I pumped up the tires on both of our bikes after he worked on it on the concrete patio in our backyard and in the grass, and then we took it to the street and rode together. Our street is very quiet, with little traffic, so he was able to be a bit wobbly and remain safe and confident.