a snippet from the past

Found this in my childhood journal while going through old papers… apparently I’ve always been meant to do science 🙂

child-me wrote, “I love Daddy. I love Daddy because he is a fun Daddy. He does science and fun things.”

Posted in sqt

{sqt} – little happy things

  1. When I was younger (maybe until partway through high school), my Grandma would bring delicious Spanish turron with her every year for Christmas – yema quemada, mostly, but occasionally the alicante and jijona varieties as well. I’m not sure why she stopped, but I missed it – I haven’t seen it out here. But this year my coworker brought big blocks of all three types back with him from his visit home to Spain and it made me so happy 🙂 Such a special treat, such a good taste, such good memories coming along with it.
chef flaming the top of the yema turron to caramelize it
This is the brand my coworker brought back (and the photo source). It’s really good.
  1. I get home from work late three nights a week and I have the Christmas tree on a timer so when I walk in the house is illuminated with this soft glow and the warm beauty of the tree welcomes me in. And for the first week the smell of fir greeted me as well!
  2. We had a heavy frost here earlier this week, and the whole world was icy and white with it – not a common occurrence. Fortunately, I didn’t have any frost-sensitive plants to worry about other than the basil, which took a pretty serious hit but went out in a blaze of glory, absolutely beautiful with its dark purple leaves edged in shining ice.
Leaves and budding flower stem of a purple basil, white-edged with frost
  1. Aubade got to do sparklers for the first time in her life for New Year’s Eve and the look on her face when the first one started sparking was so perfect – just pure astonishment and delight all in one, and then she got to hold her own and she was in bliss.
Paul lighting two sparklers from the one that Aubade is holding, so the three meet in a shower of sparks in the center of the picture, illuminating her face
  1. Limerick is a solid reader now. I can give him a book he hasn’t read before (picture book or early reader level) and he can get through it! He has definitely inherited some perfectionistic tendencies, however – he will silently work out each sentence or page as a whole before reading any of the words out loud.
  2. Rondel has his first loose tooth! It wiggled for the first time on Christmas day and it’s quite wobbly now but still definitely attached.
  3. Aubade will pretend to be Cinderella in a sparkly dress and Rondel will dance with her, holding her hands and twirling her around the room, both of them singing together. He always hugs her at the end ❤

Head over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for the rest of the Quick Takes linkup! They’re doing a New Year’s theme, but I already posted my New Year thoughts 🙂

Posted in musings

pastor barbara and the out-of-sync girl

Once upon a time there was a church which had a female pastor. Now, this pastor wasn’t the lead pastor, or even the primary teaching pastor; she led the family and children’s ministries, actually, and spent most of her ministry time with women and youth. But she had the title of pastor – Pastor Barbara.

She was beautiful. She had long, curly brown hair and a nose with that perfect spark of defiance bringing its straight lines singing up from her face. She had a gentle way of moving – never too fast or too sudden – and a gentle way of speaking – never too loud or too harsh. And when she saw the children she loved and taught and prayed for, her whole body would glow with that love and light, like an emanation of the Holy Spirit through her presence.

There was a small girl at this church who adored Pastor Barbara wholeheartedly and unstintingly, although mostly from a distance as she was a quiet child. She enjoyed above all the new songs that Pastor Barbara would sing with them! For her, songs were a release from the uncertainty of social interactions, because the songs (at least the children’s songs that she knew) would specify how you were supposed to act. Take for example “Father Abraham:” no one would ever move that way in everyday life, but the song says to do it so everyone does it and no one has to worry about being out of sync.

Continue reading “pastor barbara and the out-of-sync girl”

Posted in musings


Once upon a time, long long ago, someone tried to bully me. He was a scrawny little red-headed boy who I don’t think ever smiled, and I was a skinny little girl with huge glasses, and he was hurting and confused from the turmoil in his own life and tried to pass it on by calling me “four-eyes.”

I don’t think I was really that insulted by it. I’d read about things like this in my American Girl magazines and was partly delighted to be experiencing something I’d only read about, and partly disappointed that he hadn’t come up with anything more original. It didn’t make me self-conscious about my glasses… I think I just gave him a look like, I’d rather wear glasses than be an idiot! And that era in my life passed away.

But I know people who have been deeply wounded by being bullied as a child, whether because it was more long-lasting than my encounter, or more focused on an area of vulnerability, or less understood by the victim, and it makes me sad. I wish I could go back in time and find those people I love as children and tell them, you are worth so much more than this! They just don’t see – or don’t care to see – the real wonderful you inside the awkwardness and quirks of growing up that make all of us look warty and weird at different times. And I don’t know if it would help, of course. I have never taken my self-confidence and sense of worth from my peer group; it mostly comes from inside myself, from pride in my own abilities, from seeing myself accomplish my goals. But many people are different by personality, and need the camaraderie and acceptance of a social circle to make them feel worthy and complete. Those are probably the ones who would be hurt most by bullying.

I hope that as my children grow older they will not experience bullying – but if they do, and if they aren’t able to shake it off, I hope they will be able to come to me with their hurts, to be loved and strengthened. I hope they will have at least one close friend to stand by their side and fight for them when the world seems to be against them. And I hope that they will make it to adulthood without the scars of childhood alienation and pain that I see on too many of my peers now.


Posted in musings


When I was in elementary school, I loved peanuts. Especially the kind roasted still in the shell, papery and crumbly at first, then rich and buttery on the inside.

My grandma used to love peanuts too, and every time she came to town we would buy a bag or two to set out on the kitchen counter. I remember what a treat it was to stand around the counter with her and whoever else was around (my mom working in the kitchen, perhaps, or my dad sharing in the snack), crushing the shells and slipping out the brown nuts, accumulating a pile of dusty debris, the slow process of unshelling the perfect companion to conversation.

She must have held those moments dear as well, because every summer when I would go away for summer camp she would send me a care package with a bag of peanuts. Every summer, every time, without fail. To get a care package to a week-long summer camp on the other side of the country reasonably early in the camp requires much forethought, but she never let me down: I could always count on her peanuts and Maria cookies.

We don’t eat peanuts much together anymore, and haven’t for years. I had forgotten all about it until Rondel discovered roasted peanuts this week, actually. Her diverticulitis makes it much less enjoyable for her! But I’m glad I thought of it again, that I have those simple rituals of our relationship to remember. Because things don’t have to be complicated or extravagant to be important, and love colors even the most mundane things with beauty and value.