Friday, June 30, 2006

Where there's smoke, there's fire

My computer sits on a desk facing the windows on the south wall of our dining room. Since we live in the woods, at night, it's very dark outside... we have no street lights or lit up buildings or traffic lights or vehicles with their lights on driving by to lessen the night's blackness. Just the moon and the stars, and if it's a cloudy night, like tonight, not much from them.

We do have a mercury light (a yard light). It's a large light that sits atop a 25-foot post. It has a sensor, so it comes on automatically when it begins to get dark, and it shuts off in the morning. It's very bright and lights up a great deal of our yard. It's located north of the house, though, so it doesn't reach anywhere near my south-facing window view. The house blocks the light.

I can see the outline of trees and the shrubs near the house. We have a very tall purple-leafed smokebush right near the window. Usually smokebushes get large and very round, very... um, bushy. But this one just shot up straight and skinny. It must be about 20 feet tall now, or more. It's begun to encroach on the side steps leading up to the porch, but I don't care. I love this smokebush, and no one is going to trim it.

So tonight I am sitting at my computer, just cruising through some web sites, listening to a CD mix that Joyce made for me... the kids are watching TV & Kev's at work on a midnight shift. I see a light out the window, just a quick blink. I think it's a car coming up our drive. Since our driveway is not at all straight, I figure the headlights are just getting blacked out by the trees and ferns. I see the light again and again, but it's not getting any larger. What the heck... Then I realize, I've been sitting there watching a firefly flit around the smokebush.

So I spent about 20 very zen minutes just enjoying watching the little guy and listening to my music mix that Joyce made for me... until he finally flit out of sight.

This is the compliation Joyce came up with for me recently, and I love it.

My favorites are 'Wild Blue Flowers' and 'The Highest Tree'. Love 'em.

These are the lyrics to 'Wild Blue Flowers', as I hear them, anyway... no guarantee to correctness.
Found me a home in the plants and stones
the rain and snow
the flesh and bone
found a home between heaven and hell
I found a voice I could always tell
when you're down in the dirt
with the rain and the earth
and the wild blue flowers
well I love the ground she walks upon
I love the ground she walks upon

Banshee's bones and the singing stones
the mirror of a simple soul
the glory of a golden sky
the mystery of eternal light
down in the dirt
with the rain and the earth
and the wild blue flowers
I love the ground she walks upon
I love the ground she walks upon

Found me a home in a circle of stones
the mother of all charms
someone else's arms
found a home between heaven and hell
I found a voice I can always tell
down in the dirt
with the rain and earth
and the wild blue flowers
I love the ground she walks upon
I love the ground she walks upon

The guy singing on 'Wild Blue Flowers' has an Irish accent (or similar) and a wonderful voice, one that makes you go Mmmmmmm... and when he sings, at the start of the song, 'the rain and snow' he really rolls the R in rain... I think I have a crush on him.

Here are the lyrics to 'The Highest Tree', as near as I can figure... the woman singing also has an Irish brogue thing going, and a beautiful voice. I don't have all the words... some I just cannot understand, nor can I come up with words I think are apt to the line and sound like what she's singing...
When first you came to me
my father had promised me away
I swore to love you still
until my dying day
Foreswore and I led you on
and hoped that mild man could never know that
I loved you long and then sent you away.

You heeded not my words and from my bedside
would you take your leave and you said to me I would not
him to see ??
For if I had loved you I have not nothing in this
lonely world and I would not live to see another day

I pleaded long to you my dear they'll hang you from the
highest tree and you would not move, you listened not to me
Soon in my father came along with he that I was promised to
and when they saw you I tried to take the blame
My father held me fast while my betrothed with his better strength
took you to the floor and down he staggered too

Scarce he could make a sound
before that dagger cut your throat and too ? and
he murdered you before he really knew

I cried and tore my hands and hair
I was as one in great despair
when they took their leave
again I clung to you
Lay ? your body
now the blessed body that I did adore
and I weep to know I'll see it never more

Joyce tried to help me figure out the lyrics, and still between the two of us, there are gaps. Joycie said, as if surprised, this song is really sad. She had liked the song a lot, just like I did, from the first time hearing it. I had to listen to it several times to figure out the story. Now, we both like the song even more.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Wave belongs to us

It was a beautiful day at Comerica Park for a Tigers ballgame yesterday.

Our friends, John & Canice, organized a group to go to the game. There were 30 of us total, including friends from Texas who came up for the game, Jay & Sue and their kiddos, all 5 Cardinals fans.

Brooke and Mikayla:

Molly and Sammy:

Noah and Jack:

Canice did her part to get the kids fired up for the game, dancing to the tunes:

Drew and Kelsey:

Don't Miss the Ball, Hit the Ball.
Don't Fear the Claw, Be the Claw:

It sounds much better when a group of little boys are hollering it at the ballpark.

It was one quick inning after another, with a score of 1-1 going into the 8th. Tigers pulled ahead with 3 runs, and shut down the Cardinals in the top of the 9th.

It was a great game, from a Tigers fan viewpoint... Jay, of course, had a different reaction:

The Park was packed, since the Tigers are doing so well and the Cardinals are a great draw. It was Kids Day, and after each of the first several innings... lost count of how many, the Tigers gave away an electric Hummer to some lucky little kids. It was awesome. They had a bunch of give-aways going on. Not sure how many they gave out, but they were giving away bobble-heads of Polanco. Throughout the game, they'd announce the seats that got free pizza, hotdogs or whatever. One fan won a 7-day cruise. Then at the end of the game, the kids got to run the bases. Lots of fun.

The Tigers fans rule when it comes to The Wave. One time it went around the entire stadium at least twice. Cool. The Tigers rule!

On the way back to the car, the 4 of us decided to go have dinner in Greektown, so we went to the Pegasus Taverna. We went there once before after a Tigers game. Love the flaming cheese... Opa!

During dinner, I noticed that Joycie's nose and cheeks were getting more and more red... though we had all put sunblock on, Joycie somehow missed her nose and cheeks, and she got burned.

The drive home was great. Joycie and Sam kept finding the same song on each of their iPods, timing it so they started at the same time and then entertaining Kev and I by singing the songs together... for us, of course, sans music.

When we turned down our road, there was a doe standing there... she walked across the road, and then decided to hurry on into the woods as soon as I got my camera up. I managed one photo of her. She looks like she is on her way to her fawn (or fawns), because she's full of milk. I thought it made an interesting photo.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Sammy, Sammy, Sammy

We got our boy back yesterday. Ahhhh......

We arrived at SpringHill Copper Country about a quarter to noon, and they wouldn't let us in until exactly noon. It was very frustrating. They finally opened the gate, and we walked up the long, wood-chip-covered trail through the woods, uphill most of the way. We had to walk right by the Fort Michilimackinac where Sammy was, and that was really frustrating. So close, yet so far...

We had to go to the dining hall and go through the steps of check out. It was very organized. To get the "camper release" card for Sammy, I had to show a picture ID. They are a very secure camp, and that made me feel even better about the place. After going through those formalities, we were free to go to Fort Mich.

When we got into the Fort, which is situated in a circle, several boys were outside of the various cabins. I could not see Sammy, and while I was looking and looking, Kev walked directly over to the cabin where Sam was assigned. I realized what he was doing, and that Sammy was probably still in there, so I practically ran there. Kev still beat me to the door. No one on the ground floor, where Sam's bed was, but we could hear the boys upstairs. Kev started up the stairs with me right on his heels. Sammy saw us and came charging down the stairs at a run, a quick hug to Dad, and then slammed into me (and me into him) for a nice, long, squeezing hug. Ahhh...

It kinda freaked me out when I saw him, though, coz his nose was painted all blue. All the boys in the Fort, and several of the counselors, had painted various designs on their faces in blue paint. To show solidarity or something. Collectively, they looked really cool. The blue nose on Sammy, though, was a little strange. One of the counselors was helping to paint a lot of the boys, and he did Sammy's nose. (Thanks, Steve... ya couldn't've went with stripes?) Steve gave Jacob a goofy looking mustache. Anyway...

It was kind of weird, to wait so long to see my boy, and then to have him looking so strange with a blue nose...

This is the cabin, Ft. Gratiot, that Sammy stayed in while he was at camp.

This is Sammy & Jake inside the cabin, at their bunk beds. They both had the lower bunks.

Joyce took this photo of me and my boy, happy to be together. I can't believe how much I missed him. Well, yes, I can too believe it.

After getting to see our boys, all the Fort gathered in the center at the campfire site. The boys all sat on the big logs surrounding the fire pit. The counselors each did some talking about what they did each day. Then they sang some of the songs the boys learned, and the boys really got into it.

It was really fun to watch. They did quite a bit of learning about Jesus and the Bible, focusing on that more than I realized they would. It was good how they did it, and Sammy was with a good group of boys. The counselors (college students) were great, too.

All the activities they did at the camp focused not only on fun, but also on messages for the boys, like trust and faith. Some of the activities they did were going on a super long zip line over the lake, horseback riding, archery & riflery, a thing called the flying squirrel where they were in a harness on a wire & took a running start and the other boys pulled them way up into the air (Sammy loved it), a huge, twisting, turning water slide that dumped them into a swimming pool, the Blobs in the lake which were big, colorful baffle-like things where the boys sat on one end and one of the counselors would jump on the other end and send the boy flying into the lake, canoeing, going on the Gusher which was a straight shot of like a parachute with running water that the boy would go down, twirling the whole way into the lake, and crafts at the new crafts building. Sammy made a tie-dyed kerchief for me (that I love!), a candle and a leather wrist band. They also had a band come in and give the kids a concert. They did so much, and Sammy had so much fun. He loved his week there.

After the campfire bit at the Fort, the whole group of Fort boys each assembled in front of their respective cabins where the lead counselor gave each boy a certificate. This is Sammy's group, and the lead counselor, Josh, is on the far right. (All the counselors wore those green t-shirts.)

The awards were for things like Bravery, Maturity, Enthusiasm, Meekness, Creativity, and the like. Sammy was last, and he got the Good Natured award. His counselor said he could have given Sammy all the awards, he was such a great kid. Kev and I talked with Josh, and he had so many good things to say about Sammy. My good boy.

After the Fort "mini-rally," there was a Copper Country assembly at their amphitheater. It's a wooden stage at the bottom of a hill, and all the parents, etc. just sat on the hill. It was really cool, and I'm glad we stayed for it... we had contemplated skipping it because it was going to take so long, but I could tell Sammy wanted to stay for it. I did, too. I wanted to see what it was all about. Thankfully, we had heard about the set-up and brought a blanket to sit on. We had about a half-hour wait, but it was pleasant. The weather was perfect. This is Joycie and Kev during our wait on the hill.

After the big closing rally, we turned in our "camper release" card, picked up a t-shirt for Sam at the general store, and then headed for the car. On the way out, they had all the boys' luggage organized at a pavilion area, and it went surprisingly quick to get Sam's stuff. That place is super-duper organized. Sammy wants to go again, and we will likely let him.

When we arrived back home, we had Sammy stay outside and Joycie went in the house and let Reilly out. When Reilly saw Sammy, he started wagging his tail and twisting and turning his body so much with delight. It was adorable. Happy, happy dog. Happy boy, too.

Kevin had to leave for work, and I made Sammy hit the shower. Before he got in, I wanted to check out the little bump on his head we thought was a bug bite. Sammy had flinched and did the "aw, Mom, why do you always have to pick" thing. He didn't want me to check it, coz he didn't want me to pick it. But I told him I wanted to make sure it wasn't infected. I put my glasses on and took a good look. I told him the good news was it wasn't a bug bite, infected or otherwise, but the bad news was it was a tick. Sammy didn't know what a tick was for sure... I told him it was a small bug sucking the blood out of his scalp as we spoke. Yep, grossed him out Big Time. I got the little bugger out, all parts intact. It was small. Sammy took a long shower.

So good to have our boy home. So glad he had such a wonderful week.

Feline model and morning view

Joycie took some photos this week of N.C. that turned out very nice. N.C. is one of those cats that you will find sitting or laying in the oddest placest. No place is sacred, and if he can gain access to it, he will. He'll twist and turn his skinny body through and around things, and he will look like he is about to lose contact and fall, but he doesn't. Very feline of him.

This is N.C., the reclining ruler of all he surveys.

N.C. of the gorgeous eyes.

While getting ready for work the other morning, I had a beautiful reflection in the bathroom mirror... uh, nope, wasn't myself (duh!)... it was the pond. In our bathroom, there is a diamond-shaped window facing the pond, and when I stand at the sink looking into the mirror, I can see out that window. I hadn't planned this when we drew up the floor plan, but I love it. The sun was well on it's way up, shining behind the trees and through the mist rising off the pond. It was beautiful, so I ran outside with my Sony and took some photos.

Still lovin' that silver button on my camera...


My nephew, Michael, turned 16 this past Wednesday. He's officially a legal driver now. Though I am experiencing the same feelings of worry that I felt with Joycie, I am also again aware that my nephew is an excellent driver... he's too smart to be otherwise.

Family got together on Thursday evening to wish him Happy Birthday. His presents were mostly all in cards... the influx of cash made the new driver pretty happy. When Mike opened our card to him, he clued into the fact that I was taking photo after photo with my magic little button on my Sony. Like a photo shoot for a goofy model, Mike really hammed it up.

It was hilarious, because Michael letting go and acting goofy while at the center of the family gathering is not his usual style. Michelle was snapping photos, too, and she got some really funny shots of him... her and Joycie were reviewing them:

Happy Birthday, Mike!