October 10th, 2011

Well that was lovely. We went on an extremely uncharacteristic beach resort family vacation and a wonderful time was had by all. Technically, we were in Jerba, Tunisia, but because we were in an all-inclusive resort we could have been nearly anywhere with palm trees and bougainvillea; had we wanted to, we could have gone the entire week without a dinar passing through our hands. Five years ago I would not have imagined myself taking this sort of a trip, let alone enjoying it so very much and contemplating returning next autumn, but at this stage of family life it was just right. The boys went to the kids’ club two hours each morning while R and I lounged at the poolside and then we collected the boys for lunch and spent every afternoon together on the beach.

The boys, particularly the Boychen, loved the beach – it was their first time on a shore of any kind – and spent happy hours building sandcastles and jumping over waves. R and I lounged on beach chairs, helped with sandcastles, took the boys into the water and made sure they didn’t drown. It was pretty perfect.

We did leave the resort bubble one day for a trip to Houmet Souk; even so it’s hardly honest to say I’ve been to Tunisia.

Now we’re back and it’s 10 degrees celcius and raining and Small Boy has hockey training “Intensive Week” – on- and off-ice training every day this week – and the hockey school opens on Saturday. Summer is well and truly over.


September 13th, 2011

It’s been quiet here, I know. I wonder, sometimes, how to keep this space alive, what to make of it, what exactly it is I am doing here. Very little, at the moment, it would seem. There’s nothing for it but to jump back in, come back to this space and see what happens.

I am writing, but most of my writing is in my notebooks these days, is geared towards producing poems that I hope to publish and now that more and more journals classify poems posted on personal websites as “previously published” I am reluctant to make any drafts public.

I’m spending a lot of time in hockey rinks these days – the Small Boy has been practicing three times a week since August and is only now settling into a more manageable and regular twice a week schedule. I think the program was just loading up on the practices because the ice was available and they figured they might as well take advantage of it. But it was a lot. And the practice times were so irregular – 3pm one day, 4.45 the next, sometimes a Wednesday, sometimes not – that the sheer logistics of figuring out who had to be where when was exhausting. The upside of all of this, however, is that the Small Boy has made tremendous progress. He scored another goal in another tournament, and was allowed to play goalie in a real game. He is happy, and still completely into it.

Small Boy lost three top teeth, two on the same day and one five days later, and has a huge gap but still smiled like crazy in his first grade pictures, which are adorable. One of the parents at hockey asked me if he was going into the second grade or the the third and was surprised when I said he’s just started the first grade. He is tall, so long and tall, and with all the sports he’s stretched out to bone and tendon. It will be the shock of my life when puberty hits and he has enough testosterone to sculpt muscle. I see the older hockey players around the stadium, the 14 year old boys, the 16 year old boys, and it’s hard to imagine my Small Boy morphing into one of those young men with broad shoulders and straight backs.

There is also the first grade. After a rocky first week, he settled in and is doing well. There is homework, but not very much, and Small Boy accepts the rule that there is no playing and no hockey practice until the homework is done. This means starting homework over the lunch hour on Thursdays, when he has school in the afternoon and practice shortly after school lets out, but it’s working so far. (If he keeps up with hockey, third grade, say, will get interesting but I’ll try not to borrow trouble until then.)

The Boychen has started going to Spielgruppe (playgroup) which is a bit like pre-K but only one morning a week. He, too, had a rocky start including tears and refusing to stay one day but I see now that it’s more of a power-play than genuine misery at the thought of playgroup. When I stay firm, kiss him goodbye and leave, he generally cheers up and the teacher tells me he plays happily. He’s still going to the babysitter one day a week and all of this seems like I should have more time to get my work done, to write, to blog, and yet somehow it feels like I have less time than ever.

Boychen is out riding tractors with his Grosvati today; they’re bringing the corn to the silos. According to my copy of the Small Boy’s class schedule, he is in NMM right now – Nature, Mensch, Mitwelt – which seems to cover both the natural world and social studies. Soon the bell will ring and he’ll walk home, either quickly or slowly as the mood strikes him, for lunch. Then there will be homework, and some time to play, and then it will be off to the rink where Small Boy will put on all his equipment himself, carry his own water bottle to the players’ bench, and jump out onto the ice.

What have you been up to?


August 21st, 2010

Wow. The change-over from Small Boy waking up around 8 and being dressed at some time in the general neighborhood of 9 to Small Boy waking up at 7:25 and being out the door for Kindergarten at 8 kicked our asses last week. Fortunately the transition to Kindergarten itself has gone smoothly. It’s his second year, he’s in the same room with the same teachers, and about half the kids in the class are his classmates from last year so all of that is familiar. But getting out the door on time? That’s been quite the transition after our lazy summer mornings. 

If you’ve got kids going back to school, how’s that going? And whether you’ve got kids or not, what’s the hardest part about summer drawing to a close for you? And what’s the best part? (Yes, I dread the grey days of winter here in the flatlands, but winter vacation skiing and sledding in the Swiss Alps? Bring it on!)

Postcards from a changing season

October 14th, 2009

Ten days ago we were having a glorious Indian summer, a last hurrah. Summer is surely gone now, it’s leaving goodbye notes everywhere.

    This morning I went to tip water out of Small Boy’s wheelbarrow and a thin layer of ice slipped off.
    We had our first hot chocolates of the season; I love steamed milk.
    At the zoo Boychen’s hands were red and cold
    We bought Small Boy’s snow suit today
    Hockey camp starts on Saturday
Another Swiss winter is on the way.

Too much on my mind

August 5th, 2009

Poet Mom recently asked how much social networking is too much? I guess the answer is going to be different for each of us, but for me it seems to be “when I forget my SheWrites login two days after creating the account.” Thanks to the kind people at Ning who helped me find myself again.

Painting the studio is on hold for a few days. For some strange reason, my husband doesn’t want me inhaling paint fumes two days after discovering I have pulmonary emboli. I think he’s being unreasonable, but you know loved ones, what are you going to do?

Since I’m not painting, I’m trying to get other things done. I donated two bags of clothes today and sorted out where to donate several large bags of books before the move.

Many journals, journals associated with colleges and universities, don’t read over the summer. A whole bunch of journals I’m interested in are about to start reading again and I haven’t finished all the revisions I wanted to make. I should be doing that right now, I suppose, instead of bloging. 

And yet I blog.

My family, see also Apocolypse, four horsemen of

April 15th, 2009

We are sick. Oh, yes, we are sick. Small Boy, Husband and I all have bronchitis and are all taking antibiotics. (Hey, we hit the trifecta!) Boychen, miraculously, was proclaimed bronchially fit but with a red inflamed – “not an infection, yet” – inner ear. The left ear, for the curious. He’s got ear-drops and nose-drops and cough syrup. A part of me is wondering if we shouldn’t just throw him on antibiotics anyway because, really, like he’s going to get out of this without deveoping bronchitis, too? Seriously, you think? Most of me, however, is cautious about using antibiotics, as is our pediatrician Dr. Norwegian (which is one of the many things I really like about him). But really. Seems to me like the poor boy is doomed.

Talk to me, oh Writers of the Internets

April 1st, 2009

So it’s not just my hard-drive. My computer, the actual box and wires, is dead. It was an IBM ThinkPad and it was good to me. We had a good run. But it’s dead now and I need a new computer and the field is wide open.

So talk to me, writers and poets and bloggers of the Internets. What do you use and why. Pluses, minuses, regrets, love-affairs. Has anybody out there switched from a PC to a Mac and how did that work for you?

Looks like I’m going to have to get used to the idea of doing real work on R’s loaner. This could take a while.

Randomness and the odd attachment to a machine

March 25th, 2009

It’s official. My hard-drive is fried and R has given up working on it and has gone ahead and ordered me a new one. It should arrive by the weekend and early next week I’ll have my old computer back. I’m looking forward to it. I didn’t lose anything because of our backup system and I haven’t been left without a computer – and a laptop at that – but I’ve had a hard time working on this machine and not just because the European keyboard keeps me backtracking and searching for the apostrophe. I have a hard time doing thoughtful work on this loaner because it’s a loaner. It all feels so strange and temporary and unreal. I’m using notebooks for my poetry but I’ve been reluctant to blog from this computer. How strange that a hunk of wire and sturdy plastic has become a comforting item.

Disconcerting, too, and a wake-up call not to get attached to the tools.

* * *

R is taking a little getaway to recover after writing his master’s thesis while holding down a full-time job and never once shirking on the homefront.

* * *

R and I recently decided that we should each get at least one solo vacation a year. I’m thinking Prague. Talk to me, readers, about Prague. (Especially you.)

* * *

A journal that passed on a poem seven months ago emailed me out of the blue and said they’d like to use it in an upcoming themed edition. Seven months. An editor remembered a poem of mine for seven months. There is a wrinkle I need to smooth out, but at any rate it’s flattering.

* * *

I hope to get out of the short snippets mode soon, I really do.


February 27th, 2009

We’re off for a week vacation in my favorite place in Switzerland. Don’t know if I’ll be posting or not (probaby not), but stories and pictures when we get back.

Keeping pace

January 13th, 2009

I love when my poem for the week comes to me on a Monday. Not that I can’t write poems every day of the year, of course, but the fact of the matter is with two small boys running around the house playing fireman I’m not very likey to. I’ve set a goal of fifty-two poems this year – that works out to one a week. I know there will be dry weeks and I know there will be times when the river is rushing but still, it works out to one poem a week and I wrote a decent first draft yesterday and that sends me off into the week with a certain peace of mind. I also did the recycling – we only have curb-side pick up for paper and cardboard so we have to bring the glass and aluminium to a collection station; there are two within five minutes so it’s not that hard, it’s just a matter of actually thinking to do it – and made a double-batch of bolognese sauce. Yum!