So…it’s been awhile. I always feel weirdly awkward about posting after time away, like I need to explain what’s kept me silent. I feel like my first post after a protracted time away needs to be somehow worthy, like where I explain that we’ve been busy building a nuclear reactor in the garage or milking the new flock of goats we acquired or that I was trapped under a teetering stack of books that I’ve read but never got around to reviewing. (The last one is the only one close to the truth.)
In reality, all that has been going on is a little of this and a little of that. School. Work. Way too many activities and obligations. Some fun field trips. Birthday celebrations. And a bout of what I’m pretty sure was the flu for me. Nothing terrible exciting and yet at the same time all of it is what makes our lives full and rich. A few highlights:
*We’ve been on several adventures. We attended Homeschool Days at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore where the boys both took a class on Geology in Space and we all watched an Imax on Forces of Nature. We also went on a co-op sponsored field trip to Dulles Air and Space where all three kids got to take classes about flight and space. *I went away for my now annual birthday “retreat” weekend. I stay in a hotel downtown, go to some museums, read a lot of books, take a bath (or two) and generally enjoy some lovely long hours of solitude. This year I went to the Piero di Cosimo show at the National Gallery and spent some time slowly wandering through the excellent sculpture gallery at the National Gallery. On a whim I also went to the Postal Museum (it was near the hotel) which was really interesting. I plan to go back with the kids, I’m sure they would love it. While I was downtown, H. and the kids also ventured into the city to see an exhibition on bird-themed art, The Singing and the Silence, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum which they said was fabulous but has now closed. I planned to go to it on Sunday but by that point I was feeling pretty lousy with what I believe was the flu.
*When you are a reader, you remember experiences often by books that you were reading at the time. During my birthday weekend, I was reading Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel’s amazing post-apocolyptic novel. The novel takes place after a global flu pandemic and interweaves multiple stories through flashbacks before the pandemic, during the initial days of the crisis and years later through the eyes of survivors. It is without a doubt the freshest, most new-feeling novel I have read in a long time. It was one of those books that you are sad to finish because you know you’ll never be able to inhabit that world again in the same way. The experience of reading it was made even more memorable for me by the fact that as I read about a character trapped in a hotel room with the beginnings of the flu, I realized that I had a fever and an achiness in my bones and the beginnings of a cough.
*We’ve all been reading. I’m in the midst of All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte. The boys participated in out library’s new Boy’s Book Club (there were only three boys and I think the librarian was thrilled to have them all there). As a family we’ve begun listening to The Sisters Grimm series in the car which so far is a worthy follow-up to our months of enjoyment with Gregor the Overlander. For read-alouds, Ruth and I are still working our way through the Ramona books and the boys and I just began Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three (a fantasy series that I somehow missed as a child).
*Life sometimes feels like this, a whirling crazy dance but it’s mostly good. Today I sit in our nice warm house while the boys build me a fire and there is a nice amount of snow outside. Enough to have canceled all our daily obligations and give us a day of rest and play. But not so much to be too troublesome.