Attitude

At the end of our cul-de-sac, there is a large tract of property with an adult family home on it. I’d estimate it’s a few acres of mostly grass. Well – at least, it was, until earlier this month, when a crew of construction vehicles rolled in and started work on some new houses.

This work first entailed ripping out a large screen of trees that had been planted on the edge of the property, a noisy and depressing process. The work continues to progress from there, with a great deal of extremely loud rumbling, beeping, crashing, smashing, and general noise and mess you expect from construction sites. Oh, and of course I have to mention the rumbling of trucks up and down our formerly quiet street. It’s like garbage day every day, all day, and especially intrusive and onerous when the weather is nice and we open our windows.

When this all started, I immediately began feeling resentful and angry. It’s going to go on all summer, making having windows open miserable, and even after summer who knows how long it’ll go on; when the trucks are done, we’ll just switch to hammering and banging of the actual home building. And then we’ll have people moving in, and lots more traffic in and out our (as previously stated) formerly quiet dead end street. Oh, and the folks in our HOA voted not to include this development in our HOA, so they don’t have to adhere to our CC & Rs.

Grrrr! Put on my curmudgeon hat, with a NIMBY scarf.

But some of my friends have been helping me see the bright sides:

– Entertainment for a truck-obsessed preschooler within easy walking distance.
– New neighbors means we could meet new friends!
– Better construction here in the ‘burbs than clearing some forest land out in the foothills.

I’m trying to keep these upsides in mind wherever the huge trucks are especially loud. And when I start feeling angry or resentful, I pray. I pray for the construction workers, who do have a very dangerous job; and I pray for our future neighbors, who we don’t know yet but hopefully we’ll get to be friends one day. This helps somewhat.

But, honestly, it’s just going to take time to resign myself to these changes. Development is happening everywhere around here, on any property even remotely suitable. I guess it was only a matter of time.

“If you can’t change something, change the way you think about it.” I’m trying.

Imaginary Airplane Indicator Lights

A while ago Benji got really into warning and indicator lights in the car, and then we started noticing warnings everywhere. Today he asked about airplane warning lights, and we started brainstorming possible lights. I drew little icons, Benji colored them, I cut them out, and there you go: the Airplane Warning Light Game was born. The airplane flies and then an indicator comes on – oh no!

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My favorite: "Running into a pillow indicator"

Couch Gymnastics, and more

Benji has started doing some kind of isometric exercises using the couch and coffee table.
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The new kids’ pastor at church is pretty enthusiastic.
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Last but not least, Benji and I have biked to school the majority of the days so far this year, but I’ll be honest — we rarely look as cool as we did on Tuesday:
Ready to ride to preschool!

In unrelated news, my avocado tree is threatening to grow too tall for our south-facing bay window; and, if last summer’s growth spurt was any guide, too tall for our ceilings, too.
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So Simple a Three-Year Old Could Do It

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Ian and Benji playing a modified version of Apples to Apples, where Ian has picked out cards we think Benji can understand, and they’re a team where Ian defines the words and Benji picks the match.

Sometimes, this goes slightly awry. For example:
Ian: “Ancient means really, really old.”
Benji: “You look ancient.”

I’m loving the choices Benji makes – some of them make total sense, while others are odd or quite a stretch. For example, I agree that “Lightening” and “Magical” go together well, as do “Baked Potatoes” and “Painful.” However, “Shark” and “Spicy” because “sharks are in water and water is spicy”? Or “Feathers” and “Harmful,” because “you can’t eat feathers”?

Then again, that happens pretty often in real games of Apples to Apples, too. It’s never too early o start learning gaming!

Things in our week

Last week we went to Aunt Dana’s house for a hair cut. This was totally surprising to Benji: That a person could have a hair cutting salon in their own home.
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Overall everyone seemed to actually have a decently good time, and Benji’s head now looks 50% smaller, so that’s all for the best. We’ll for sure be going back, because it was also nice to get to see family and catch up at the same time we’re getting something productive done. Double whammy!

On the drive home, Benji read our Prius owner’s manual, and he and Daddy read it together later in the day.
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Now we are all experts on what each indicator light means. Actually, we’ve passed through the expert phase and entered into the “please, please, please get tired of this topic” phase.

Later in the week, we colored a bunch of things in rainbow colors, including this Q-related page. Benji thought Grammy should make a quilt like this. That would certainly be rainbow-licious.
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Today I discovered a new cookie recipe where you bake one gigantic cookie in a cast-iron skillet and then slice it up like pie.
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Pretty amazing, actually. I bartered this in trade for a discount on new tires from my bike shop. We have a good symbiotic relationship going, I think.

Also today, Benji had a playdate with his little friend Catherine from school, and they both thought “two kids in a slide” was hilarious. Catherine said, “Two kids in a slide! What could be better?” Benji laughed hysterically. You just never know what will tickle their funny bones.
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(For those of you concerned that they went down the slide together, have no fear: Benji is too scared to go down most slides. He just climbed into the bottom of the slide when Catherine got there.)

Oh, and riding home, we were going up a small hill near our house and I’m riding slowly and panting, as I’m wont to do. Benji pipes up: “Nana never has any trouble driving up this hill!” No kidding?!

What I Have Got In My Pocketses

Today I had a dentist appointment. For those of you who are moms, you know this involves logistics — in our case, Ian took the car in the morning to drop Benji off at Grammy’s house, while I rode my bike to get my teeth cleaned. I decided that, while I had some time and the forecast looked tolerable*, I would follow up my teeth cleaning with a bike ride from the dentist office. To that end, I brought water and some on-bike snacks (not something I usually bring on a 2-mile commute). At the last minute I noticed it was actually raining, so I rode my rain bike and wore my rain jacket.

What I didn’t account for was at the very end of the appointment, after finding no cavities and noting that I needed a couple sealants replaced, the hygienist (Erin; she has a son Benji’s age; I see her every time and we chat) painted fluoride onto my teeth. That always feels a little weird and gritty, and tastes odd. But the reason it mattered to me was because of her instructions:

Don’t eat any sticky or crunchy food for the next few hours.

In my pockets as fuel for my post-appointment ride:
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For those of you who don’t know, that top one is a Kind bar, almost 100% crunchy nuts held together with something of a honey-like consistency. The bottom two are extremely sticky gummy squares of energy “food” — so sticky that bike racers actually lick them and gum them to their handlebars or top tubes before a race, and then pluck them off for nutrition during the race. What a mess.

So what did I have for my bike ride fuel? Water. And, not pictured, one Clif Shot, which is a kind of jammy goo that I decided didn’t qualify as too sticky since I can swallow it without it touching my teeth.

* About the forecast. Yesterday was forecast to be pretty nasty, so I drove Benji to school and went for a walk. During the walk, it got nicer and nicer, until by the time I had to get Benji, it was sunny and lovely. I rode our bike for the commute home, anyway, and spent the afternoon weeding. Today, however, was forecast to have a few hours of dry-ish clearing between 9 am and 11 am. Unfortunately, that dry-ish-ness never materialized. My “waterproof” jacket left me looking like this when I got home:
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Shoulders and fronts of my arms, the places that tend to get the most rain? Soaking wet, and not from sweat.

Dulcius Ex Asperis