PRATIE PLACE

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sunday fun

Yesterday was great. It started wonderfully well with my son Zed practically bouncing out of bed feeling zesty for the first time since his surgery.

He always has trouble deciding what to have for breakfast so, as usual, I had the combined fun and torture of watching him cycle back and forth between refrigerator and pantry, with lengthy meditations in front of the open freezer. He looks over and snaps: "stop WATCHING me!" I pretend to look the other way. He growls when he catches me watching again. I like this game. It's close to one we would play if one of us were in a high chair.

Then I walked Loki, my neighbor's gigantic chocolate lab, and for once he was not recalcitrant. He might even have been enthusiastic.

Then the elliptical trainer, set up in our little studio with a tv and Netflix DVDs to drive away the boredom. Was that a touch of drool on my chin as I gazed upon the perfect beauty of Tom Welling in "Smallville"? More proof I am becoming a lubricious old crone. "Somebody SAAAAVVVVVE me..."

(Part of the fun of watching Smallville is surfing over to TelevisionWithoutPity.com later to read the recaps done by Omar G., who detests the show and most everybody in it except the extremely evil and cute Lionel Luthor. Here is Omar's recap for the episode I watched yesterday. Here is my earlier homage to Omar G., from my second week of blogging.)

Next, Zed was willing to sing with me in preparation for our expedition up north to Village Harmony Singing Camp (here's our concert schedule). He even liked it, which made my heart soar like an eagle...

Then Zed went off to his dad's house and I had fun dubbing songs from an old Macedonian LP for one of my students. This album has no title. It has no credits for the singers or musicians or songs. The front cover features photos of hideous cold-war area high-rise Bulgarian hotels arranged like the petals of a daisy; the back has extensive information (in Bulgarian) about the magnificence of industrial Bulgaria, black type on dark red backround.

Then I picked up my mentee and we spent the afternoon in a canoe on University Lake, since she so enjoyed the wafting last weekend.

When she's having a really good time, she asks every two minutes or so: "what time is it?" I used to think she was bored but now I know she is obsessively worrying about the fun minutes running out. So I keep saying, "there's tons more time."

We saw a big blue heron flap out of a shallow hidden place and, because the water is so high this year, we saw a lot of flooded bushes with pink flowers. The lake was peaceful and lovely. The paddling was easy until a wind came up.

The wind grew so strong that a small ten-year-old in the front of a canoe could not help me keep it facing in the right direction. In fact, despite our efforts the boat eventually swung a complete 180 degrees - so the simplest solution seemed to be to reverse directions on our seats and paddle the boat wrong way around for a while.

Along with asking what time it was, she kept asking if it were going to rain. "What do you think?" "Over there (points) it's going to rain; over here (points), sun." "Which are we going to get?" As perplexed as the weatherladies who prognosticate on tv and the economists who advise Alan Greenspan, but without their ability to equivocate, blather, and hedge, she is silent.

The eventual answer: after big wind -- rain.

Luckily, we had anticipated all possibilities. "Well, what if it DOES start to rain?" "Well, once we're wet it won't really matter, right?" "What if there's lightning and we're far from the dock?" "Then we can pull in on shore."

We triumphantly fought our way back to the dock, turned in our paddles, and went off to see the tortilla machine at the Armadillo Grill. I love that machine. We ate and then walked (in just a little rain) down towards Chapel Hill and there I spotted the paint-yer-own ceramic store (Paint the Earth) and it was open, so we went in and she painted a bear. And she finished three minutes before closing time! What luck! They'll fire it this week and we can pick it up next Sunday.

Then to the new satellite store of Mapleview Farms, best ice-cream in the area, for little sundaes. I don't like the day-glo maraschino cherries, so she ate hers and mine too.

On the way back to the car, talking about how nice it had been to spot that ceramics store and just instantly decide to go in, I got to yak a bit about "serendipity." She is patient with me and even a little interested in vocabulary.

It's been so long since I had a kid around who didn't already know what serendipity is! It's been so long since I watched a little head, bent happily over clay and paints, with a sober and absorbed expression, making hearts and shooting stars! I'm so glad I joined the mentor program.

At home, sunburned and a little sore - not because of paddling, but because Loki knocked me down hard that morning when he went from zero to sixty, suddenly, taking off after a cat - I marvelled at all the blessings that can be packed into one day.

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