Sunday, 20 July 2014

Unexpected blooms

We spent the bulk of Friday at the pool. Thursday morning's lessons were canceled due to thundershowers, so we headed back after lunch for our own little make-up lesson on Friday afternoon. My eldest, last year's sinker turned swim addict, was to work on her back glide and otherwise be encouraging and patient. My youngest swim student had yet to enter the water, despite four mornings of lessons, so the real focus of the outing was to remove his fear-factor and get him in the pool. Which is how I found myself spending over an hour simultaneously baby-wearing and squat-running in a foot of water through endless rounds of three-person "What time is it Mr. Shark." My quads have yet to forgive me, but never mind them. Mr. Tentative walked, ran, splashed, and dunked with little to no encouragement, and had to be coaxed out of the pool when his lips went purple. I'll call it a success.

It wasn't until half-way through Saturday that I realized I'd jumped past my own fear as unconsciously as my son had, swept past remembrance in the frenzy of fun. This was the second time I'd taken my children to the pool on my own, without a friend, teacher, or relative waiting to assist. The first time was nearly four years before, and involved so much frustration, whining, and panic that I'd decided I'd never do it again. And yet, here we were - with one kid more in tow, unexpectedly blooming.

It's Sunday afternoon, and I'd wandered out to our mixed herb pot to collect some fresh poultry seasoning. It's the first time I've ever owned an oregano plant, so I'd assumed the petal-thin pale green ends were its flowers. Not so. Today, I found purple blossoms nestled within those "petals" - an unexpected bloom. And so, that leads to this unexpected post - as life leads to new life, flowers upon flowers, and brick walls crumbled into passable hurdles. We just needed to grow. 

Linking up late with Lisa-Jo's Five-Minute-Fridays, writing (mostly) unedited on the prompt "bloom".

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Twitterature, July 2014

Summer used to be my season of reading: a time to devour whatever literary treats met my eyes without all those pesky school requirements. My neck aches at the thought of my usual July posture. Not so these days. Between starting the baby on solids, reminding my two older children how to play together (and that it's okay to play separately too - really), and shifting the air conditioner between bedrooms to manage the post-solstice heat-wave, I haven't found a whole lot of time to binge-read. Unlike the summers of my youth, I haven't been stretching out with a new book every other afternoon, but I've been reading a bit every day at breakfast, lingering over coffee without the worry of getting anyoune off to school, and making the most of the odd nurse-and-nap day with Little Miss Doesn't-like-the-heat. Also, unlike last month, I really enjoyed everything I picked up, and even read some of it outside. I'll call that a win.

Here's what I read this month:

The Housemaid's Daughter, by Barbara Mutch
This book reminded me a lot of The Poisonwood Bible, but with less bitterness and more hope. It focussed on a single character caught between the world of white and black during the codification of South Africa's Apartheid. Good thoughts on the power of music, both to educate the mind and soothe the soul, and how relationship, more than blood, is what really makes a family. 

The Program, by Suzanne Young
This novel is a slightly distopian thriller where an outbreak of teen suicide is countered by forced entry into the Program, a regimen of drugs and therapy that strips sufferers of depression from all "infected" memories. Approachable and thought-provoking, it explores the fallacy of therapy without trust and the difference between forgetfulness and closure. I'm looking forward to the sequel. 

The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton
I've been meaning to pick up something by Kate Morton for quite some time, and I'm so glad I finally managed it. This novel was a wonderful page-turner, with a complex plot, and a mystery that kept me guessing right up to the final pages. I'll be reading more of Morton's work in the future.

That's all for this time around. If your reading list is lacking, do check out the rest of the linked-up reviews over at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

Monday, 7 July 2014

When in doubt, quote Anne

"I'd like to add some beauty to life," said Anne dreamily. "I don't exactly want to make people know more...though I know that is the noblest ambition...but I'd love to make them have a pleasanter time because of have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if I hadn't been born." 
"I think you're fulfilling that ambition every day," said Gilbert admiringly. 
And he was right. Anne was one of those children of light by birthright. After she passed through a life with a smile or a word thrown across it like a gleam of sunshine the owner of that life saw it, for the time being at least, as hopeful and lovely and of good report. 
-L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

There are times when a soul feels small. It took three days to clean the playroom and, in the meantime, the laundry suffered greatly. Who am I to change the world? But Anne reminds me that I can - a smile, a kind word, a held door, a side-walk chalk rainbow. All fleeting perhaps, but different than if I hadn't acted at all.

A small change, but a better world all the same.