What We’re Up To

Besides doing as much of this as possible, of course.


Jane is thirteen and busy, busy, busy. Art class, piano,
ballet, Journey North, Shakespeare Club. The number of activities makes
my head spin but is delicious to her. She's learning her lines for a Taming of the Shrew
scene. Mastering the jump attack in Zelda: Twilight Princess. Beginning
to polish her repertoire for Piano Guild auditions. Enjoying the Think
Piece questions from Julie Bogart's Bravewriter Boomerang. (Today's Murder on the Orient Express
think piece led to a long and hearty discussion of the death penalty.)
Reading all the Agatha Christie she can get her hands on (which, thanks
to a kind librarian, has been a lot). Reading Jane Austen. Quoting
articles from Muse magazine. Making dolls. Reading stories to Rilla at
naptime. Plugging away at Latin and algebra. Baking cobbler when I'm
too busy. Crocheting hair scrunchies by the dozen.

Rose likes life at a mellower pace. Her fiery personality
adds enough spice to her life, I think. One by one, she has chosen to
opt out of the activities her sisters enjoy. She still takes art and
piano lessons, which seems like a lot to me, and is one activity more
than Jane was doing at her age. She has a small vegetable garden out
back, thanks to my mother's labors during my postpartum days, and she
spends a lot of time outside playing with bits of leaf and twig. She's
writing quite a bit: journal entries, stories, letters. Has been (like
the others) glued to the Warriors books lately. Is deeply attached to
her horse in Zelda. Clamors to be the one to hold the baby during his
morning nap. Chops all my potatoes and onions for me. Still loves to
play dress-up. Practices Amazing Grace on the piano ten times a day, as
long as I don't tell her to.

Beanie: busy bouncy Beanie! Loves to start her day with a
snuggle on the sofa, just me and baby if possible, but she'll make a
space for the other wee ones if they're awake. Just finished reading Understood Betsy;
said it had a very satisfying ending. (I agree.) Loves copywork with a
passion that is enchanting to behold (and mystifying to her mother, who
loathes writing by hand). Doesn't go to piano lessons any more (her
class was canceled due to a drop in enrollment) but is learning here at
home, with her sisters' help. They've been through the book before her.
Likes to fix my breakfast for me: a bowl of strawberry yogurt, almonds,
granola. Wishes we had a trampoline. Is learning to draw in 3D from
Mark Kistler's book. Writes me coded messages. Wishes she got to hold
the baby more. Wants to have a tea party with her friends: key event,
facepainting. Is looking forward to receiving her First Communion.
Can't help being drawn into Little Bear when her younger brother and
sister are watching. Wishes we had a pool. Forgets the job you gave her
even before she's out of the room. Is reading the Redwall books.
Listens to Suzanne Vega every chance she gets. Spends long minutes
smiling into the baby's eyes. Says she doesn't remember ever being
cooed at before, and that being cooed at is the best thing in the whole

As for me, besides all the usual mom stuff, and the
crammed-in-when-I-can writing stuff, I'm fiddling with fabric, working
on a quilt square for the online bee I'm part of. And (as you know)
I've been reading a lot lately. Not as much this month as I did in January,
but then I'm on my own again as sole adult in charge. Last month I had
my mom for two weeks and then Scott was off work for another two weeks.
Nice. Now I read in the very early mornings and late at night—on
the iPod, as often as not. I am finally, finally working my way through
Ulysses. Very slow going, yes, but oh my what a treat. I find myself staring at single sentences, single words even, tasting them over and over, scarcely able to believe that they've been there all along, ripe for the picking. Warm sunshine merrying over the sea. Birdsweet. The void awaits surely all them that weave the wind. DailyLit
tells me I am 4% of the way through the book. I can't think of books in
terms of percents, but I know I'm only just getting started, though
I've been at it for weeks, a page or two at a time. Every few days I
sit down with my big fat Ulysses Annotated
and unpack quantities of allusions, and then I have to go back and
reread what I read before with better understanding. I am loving this.

Am also reading via DailyLit the YA thriller Little Brother
by Cory Doctorow. I look forward to each night's brief installment.
There aren't many books I would like to read this way, parceled out in
small daily doses, but for these two—for dramatically different
reasons—it's working.

Have not yet finished rereading Portrait of a Lady, long way to go. Started Inkspell Inkheart
right after Christmas and set it aside: still mean to finish that one.
Have a TBR stack as high as the moon. You know how it is.

Well, that's half the family. More than enough for one post, eh!