Thursday, June 28, 2007

We have a bike in the family

He really did it. He went and bought himself a bike. It's all Ewan's fault.
'93 Suzuki 750

Monday, June 25, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

Screened-in Porch

The boys got this far in only a few hours.
This porch will be our life line during bad bug months. Can't wait.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Off by a few CC's

Aidan will be riding a 750. Above.
I will be riding a 600. Below.
BIG difference in weight and power.

Monday, June 11, 2007


This has been building for awhile. It was a piece of Aidan trivia I filed away at the very beginning of us, but was able to keep in the recesses of my mind until . . . Ewan McGregor came along and opened a door that I would have been comfortable leaving shut indefinitely. . . Motorcycle dreams. This winter some friends of ours had passed along a series called "Long Way Around," involving Ewan and his best friend taking a trip around the world on motorbikes. I watched Dave and Aidan stare at the screen with hungry expressions on their faces and I knew that the dream was about to cross a threshold. You see, when one boy loves motorcycles, the dream often stays loitering within the realm of dreams, never moving on. But when two boys love motorcycles, they begin to talk about it, and pull up images on the laptop, and recite incredibly complicated model numbers, and make plans, and get licenses, and buy bikes. Ewan was the catalyst, and now we're doomed. I have to admit, though, it's a thrilling kind of doom.

Just over a month ago Dave came by with a shiny red bike. After that, Aidan began to show visible signs of restlessness. When he heard an engine in the distance he'd perk up and glance out the window. I would find him researching bikes on the computor. And then he came home with his M1. He and Dave had gone for "breakfast" that morning at a Cora's conveniently located near the license bureau. Now he's riding every chance he gets. Dave throws him the keys and off he goes while I pray for his safe return.

It won't stop there though. Aidan's missing a bike, and they are both missing their ladies. The guys have been increasingly insistent that Kate and I learn how ride the things. And, because I don't like being defeated, I did it. I drove a motorcycle, if you call puttering along in first gear "driving." Dave took me to a long narrow parking lot in the south end of the city to teach me the basics. I cannot express to you how intimidating this was. These bikes are so HEAVY. And so DANGEROUS. And this one did not belong to me, so when I dropped it. . . "How many times have you done that?" I asked Dave, with a nervous laugh. "Never." Hmph. Why do men get this stuff right away? Anyone who knows me is aware of the competitive streak within me that demands sucess. By the end of the session, I was riding back and forth in first gear, but the experience will always be tarnished by the DROP. But hey, Ewan dropped his bike too. (Yeah, he was off-roading it through mud flats and sand dunes, but still.)

Our future with these scary machines seems unavoidable. Aidan says it's for the good of the gas budget, but we all know that is just an excuse. The plan is for Aidan, Kate, Daniel and I to take a course. It will help lower insurance costs, (and the mortality rate among us.) So, please add safety to your list of prayers because if all proceeds as planned, I will eventually be riding around on this:

Nest Graveyard

I have got to toughen up. When we arrived at the lot this Saturday Aidan, without batting an eye, grabbed a long stick and began systematically smacking nest after nest from our unfinished porch trusses. I watched with my mouth open, flinching as little blue eggs went splat all over the ground. Oh! "What?" Aidan refused to feel guilty. "We can't let them think they can live in our roof." It was a little unnerving to see how easily he could smash tiny robin's eggs. But I was soon called on my hypocrisy; "Do you eat eggs?" Um, on occasion. . .

Note: My tough husband did have a moment of discomfort last week when the occupant of the nest he was in the middle of destroying perched very nearby and watched him, with it's head cocked . . . Would it call for it's other little robin buddies and dive bomb him in revenge? "It was just watching me," Aidan told me, looking around to see that he didn't have an audience this time.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

What remains

Memoirs about love, fate and death are easy to come by. Everyone in the world could write one, and many have. Though many are written badly, and for evil gain, the good ones have much to offer. If the author is honest, not prone to embellishment or over sentimentality, you get a glimpse into what another person thinks life is about. Some would say that Christians already have a book about what life is about, so why read about life through another lense, especially through the lense of an unbeliever? Well, I would tell you that the merit of such a read is a broken heart. As our hearts ought to be for every single person out there, stumbling through life in the dark.

I had wanted to find a book on New York City. A historical novel about the city's era of birth. Yet somehow, I ended up with the name Carole Radziwill, perhaps because much of the book was set in New York. I began reading it knowing nothing about the story, but it turned out that she was married, indirectly, into the Kennedy family. Her husband was John Kennedy Jr.'s cousin. I have always avoided reading anything on celebrities or their lives, under the assumption that these things are spawned purely from a desire for publicity, but this book didn't seem to fit the usual mold. It was so understated, the cover muted. And it was haunting from the very first paragraph. I read on.

The author, Carol Radziwill, is a journalist. She writes like a journalist. She didn't wax and wane or play on the emotions, she just told her story. And her story utterly devastated me. Against all odds, born of a blue collar family with no connections, and without remarkable beauty, she married into the Radziwill family, a Polish royal line. Because her husband, Anthony, and John Jr. were like brothers, she becomes entwined in the lives of both John and his wife Carolyn. The four of them became deeply connected, and clearly grew more dependent on one another as the story goes on, but by the end of August 1999 Carol was the only one of them still alive. In one month Kennedy and Carolyn died in a plane crash and her husband died of cancer.

These bare facts are hard enough to digest as they are, without any meat hung on them, so to read the words of the more complete story, I can tell you, physically hurts. She starts out as an empty woman without direction or meaning, and ends an empty woman without direction or meaning. A hollow shell. An empty husk. Everything in between is what she came to believe really meant something. And then it was all taken away. Her book is called What Remains but I found not a trace of anything remaining at the end of her story, once they were all torn from her. I felt her panic rise as she realizes that the three people she has come to believe are her life are gone. Don't leave me! Don't leave!

How do godless people survive the pain? How does this woman still walk and breathe and appear on Oprah saying things like, "I'm dating again, yes, it's been long enough." Like all people without God, she must have invented a means by which to be comforted. Reading between the lines, it seems her comfort of choice went by the name of Fate. She must have talked herself out of utter despair by embracing the concept of Impersonal Happenings, as though an ancient goddess exists, who flicks her wrist, with a blank face, to impart good or bad fortune to the world. Oh, what comfort!

I think I am learning a bit about the pain of the prophets crying spare them in their hearts. I found myself praying for this woman who I do not know. Please break into her empty heart, Lord, and show her something that has meaning. My second heart response was praise for the deep, rich meaning our lives have, no matter what we endure, when there is a God that loves us more personally than we can comprehend. Thank God that the events of this world are indeed personal. That we are not left to free float in chaos, meaninglessness and pure chance. That we are loved. And that when the whole world is taken from us, everything still remains and more.

Big things

Big things are happening in the next two weeks:

We will have our well dug. Our house is not located in good water country. The soil is clay-based, and beneath it lies sulfur. Lots of it. The question for the past two months has been; Drill or Dig? The benefits of a drilled well are cleaner water, and a more stable supply. However, being on a bed of clay, makes drilling very costly. Because you pay by the foot, to drill past the clay in search of water can break the bank. What's more, once you get to water, it WILL carry the signatuir sulfiric egg smell that, untreated will blanket our beautiful home in an unwanted odour. To treat sulfure is an added cost, that we truly hoped to avoid.

Digging is the method we have settled on, but it comes with it's own set of problems. A shallow well is at the mercy of the water table's monthly fluctuations. During hot months, when the water table drops, the contents of our well will too. Practically, this means that we will have to live conservationally during the summer. Part of me thinks, no problem, we can do it. But part of me thinks about the string of visitors we hope to have during the summer, all wanting showers. And the gradens I had hoped to have that will require watering. And the predicted warming of the climate. Hey, our lives and our water are in God's hands.

Contamination is another possible problem with a dug well. Ground water runoff from the road and farmers fields seeps down into earth and makes it into a shallow well without much difficulty. This really concerned me. We are surrounded by farm fields that are likely sprayed with chemicals, and it doesn;t help that I just recently watched a horrifying documentary on U.S. Agribusiness and cancer rates. We were assured that, with proper filtration, we would have nothing to worry about. Once again, our lives and our water are in God's hands.

Our floor will be poured. Big step, since not much else can be done until that is in place. Most of you know that we decided to put inground heating into the first two floors of the house. This means that coils are laid down, and cement poured over. Because we have other things to spend on, we've decided to keep the floors cement for the first year until we can afford to put hardwood down. Sounds bleak and industrial looking, but Karin and I went to a restaurant last night with cement flouring. It was tinted dark brown and buffed. Very nice...

Recently, we aquired a new phone number! I got a call last week from a mystery number, and when I picked it up, Aidan said; "Guess where I'm calling from?" We also discovered an internet provider for our area who will be able to set us up in the near future. We were worried for awhile because the provider we thought was our only option is currently backed up until October!

Crazy days, these are. What a rush.