posts tagged with 'memories'

moments from the year

the Archibalds posing atop Parkman Mtn

the family that hikes together poses together

I didn't really take any pictures this past week, so instead of moments from the week I'd like to present a few highlight moments from 2016. I looked back though all the pictures we posted on this blog in the last year, and picked my favorites—either for aesthetic reasons or because of how much fun the moment was (usually a mixture of both). I limited myself to three photos for each month, which was really tricky for some months. For others—July and November—the pickings were surprisingly slim. I think it's all pretty representative of the best parts of our year. Take a look!

January

Harvey and Zion on the front porch, lying in a box sharing a comic book

at 18 degrees farenheit

Harvey, Zion, Hendrick, and Eliza climbing a fallen tree above a frozen stream

homeschool coop explorers 2

Harvey on his bike with his pant legs rolled up

back in the saddle in late January

February

Harvey in his snow gear, including a muffler totally covering his face

he swears he can see

Leah holding Lijah, who's wearing a monkey costume hat and eating a banana

monkey with banana

the three boys in a tree

another tree pose

March

Zion sliding down a sandy concrete slope head first on a piece of cardboard

now that's a playground

Mama, Lijah, and Zion smiling in the snow

winter's last

Lijah crying, with mud all over the front of his suit

not happy

April

a reenactor offering to shake hands with Lijah and Zion

interactive history

Harvey reading to Lijah on the couch

comfey brothers

Zion airborn, leaping from a rock into very shallow water

jump in!

May

Harvey riding his scooter into a puddle, about to fall over

there's a lot going on in this picture, actually

Harvey, Taya, and Zion sitting on a log, Taya putting her hands on the boys' heads

friends

Zion licking a vanilla ice cream cone

big lick

June

naked Lijah standing in a mud puddle with a trowel

in the mud

naked lijah walking with Mama in the shallow water at Walden

by evening he decided he liked the water

Harvey and his friends looking at his birthday cake on the picnic table

party time

July

Harvey riding down a country road

Harvey's independence

the three boys hiking way ahead of me, walking into a clearing

look at them go

Zion, in his clothes, standing with his back to the sprinkler stream getting soaked

cool down time

August

Harvey sitting on a rounded cliff edge way above a road

relaxed and happy

Leah and I wading on the cobbles in Bar Harbor

Maine feet

the boys looking at the choppy surface of Walden pond

Walden waves

September

Zion and Harvey silhouetted against the evening sky at the ice cream store

september ice cream

Lijah sitting in a big blue bucket on the beach

now that's how you swim in the ocean

the illuminated tree and the buffet table

party night

October

Zion swinging on a rope swing in the woods

new swing

the boys and friends running into the fall woods

fall energy

Harvey and Zion wading in the stormy ocean

wade in the water

November

headlamps on Harvey and Zion and the moon over the marsh

night hiking

me and the boys holding up our Thankful posters (and a squash)

thankful and joyful

Lijah in pjs and sweatshirt holding a soccer ball in front of the house

getting out early

December

Harvey and Zion standing on a dock looking at the bridge

peaceful

the boys in pjs playing in front of the Christmas tree

Christmas tree play

the kids lookin silly in front of Grandpa's tree

Christmas cousins

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partying like it's 1992

Leah and I don't really do movies. But thanks to their culture loving grandpa, the boys get to experience all the greatest animated hits of the last half-century or more; two weeks ago it was the turn of Aladdin. For the most part, Grandpa provides a complete service: he shows them the films, and talks about them, and plays through the imaginative reenactments, all so we don't have to. But Aladdin's music is a cut above the rest—several cuts above—and it's leaked through to daily life here in our house. After two weeks of requests to sing the songs, including on almost every car trip (our car stereo is out of action, so singing is all we got), yesterday morning I finally broke down and procured the soundtrack. We were treated to three and a half playthroughs before I called a halt and told the boys they had to go outside.

Not that I minded the music: Leah and I wouldn't remember it if it weren't so catchy, and while they were listening (and dancing and acting) the boys left me alone to do work. As Leah remarked, it's funny how they constructed the score as by layering a few stereotypical Arabic instrumental sounds (not entirely racist in effect) over some 20s-style jazz. It sounds good, and would have sounded even better if Robin Williams had sung his lines rather than acted them. Good, that is, except for the Magic Carpet song. Guess which one I had stuck in my head as I was getting ready for bed last night?

And the funny thing is, as I heard the saccharine tones playing in my mind I didn't think of the movie at all; no, what came to mind was listening to KISS 108 radio back in 1993 or whatever. Up next "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by the Proclaimers, or "All For Love" by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, and Sting. Good heavens the early 90s were a tough time for music. I had to resort to Wikipedia to recollect the details of the latter gem; but clearly the concept still haunts me. Thank goodness I discovered Sonic Youth a couple years later, and free jazz shortly thereafter, and was able to leave commercial music behind forever.

But yeah, "Friend Like Me" still sounds pretty good. At least for the first three plays in an hour.

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a long run

When Leah and I moved into our first ever home together—well, the first one where it was just our names on the lease—a friend gave us a pair of dish towels. They were wonderful examples of the genre: colorfully striped in durable cotton. They served us well for that year in Arlington as I slowly learned to cook, then made the move to this house the following year and continued to do noble duty. None more than the last year when we've been getting by without a dishwasher, for no reason other than a bizarre intersection of ideology and laziness that I can't figure my way around. But alas, after 11 years of hard service their race is nearly run and, rent in numerous places, they're destined for the scrap bin or even the trash can. It's a little sad—they were great dish towels—but no towel lives forever.

The colander we got in the same gift, on the other hand, is still going strong—and we got a pair of new towels from my mother for Christmas. So that's ok.

objects in the rearview mirror

We are currently working on selling a car and buying a bigger one. Both cars are used and crappy. The potential difference between their prices is well within the range of our federal tax refund. Which is all to say this should be a low stress transaction. This shouldn't break my ability to cope with normal life.

But Oh God I am so completely stressed out.

The first car I bought was a '91 Toyota Corolla. To say "I bought it" is speaking loosely. The fact is, when I turned 16 my father searched for a used car. He located a good one, went to see it, and negotiated the price. He wrote a check, added the vehicle to his insurance, drove the thing to our house and handed me the keys. My part consisted of turning over $2000 I had saved from my Bat-Mitzvah. I didn't have to write a check because our accounts were linked. This was technically "my money," but it's not like I did anything to earn it. I showed up one day to a party with all my relatives and there was the car money three years in advance.

I learned to drive on that car. I drove it for a year after I got my license. Then I crashed it into the back of a SUV while I was trying to change the song away from "Istanbul not Constantinople." My Dad bought me another used Corolla the following week. No one yelled at me. This is the sort of thing that happens, my parents said. Everyone was glad I hadn't killed myself or my younger brother who I was driving to advanced math class at the time. Really good I didn't kill my brother, actually. He always had a higher earning potential than me.

In college I studied abroad and my parents sold the Corolla to a friend who needed a car for his daughter. My dad called me long distance before I was to return home from France. "I'm thinking of buying a new car for you," he said. "What do you think of a Jetta? All the cool kids are driving Jettas these days."

"Um, okay? Sounds good?"

"You can go online and pick the color."

This is how I obtained the car I am currently selling. A dark green VW Jetta, asking price: not my money anyway. Our new family van will be purchased with the proceeds (a tenth of what my Dad paid for it 12 years ago) plus money my husband earned through his work, or money from an inheritance he got last year, or money we get free from the government for having two cute tax deductions. I can send emails and set up showing times and think about a negotiation strategy, but really I am playing a part I don't deserve in a game that does not need me in it.

I have been called a great many names over the course of my life. People routinely call me fat, for instance. And though this is rude and irritating it does not cut to the core of me, because despite my vile self-mockery on this blog or when I'm naked with my husband, I'm actually secretly happy with my body. But there is one name so terrible that no one has ever called me it. No one has thought to say it because I'm always flitting around cleaning or crafting or making snacks, always working as fast as I can to run away from the label I secretly believe is true. In the dark secret corner of my heart I know that I am USELESS.

Unhelpful. Unnecessary. Not worth my salt. Extraneous to the process, and yet pretending to belong somewhere within it. Selling or buying or owning a car reminds me that this has always been true.

I want to end the blog post here, but perhaps that'd be a bit unfair. It feels EMOTIONALLY true of course, but it cannot literally be so. There are a great many things each of us gets that we don't deserve. The list should probably start with "salvation," but it could also include food stamps or the baby monitor my mom just bought me or the free public wifi network that's available in many parts of the US but not in other countries.

That we have not done something to deserve these gifts merit some reflection, though perhaps not a complete breakdown into self loathing. And that is the rational side of my brain talking. Making itself useful, if you will.

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continuity

Just now as I struggled to put the comforter cover on the comforter without waking Harvey I had a flashback to six years ago, back when the bed was new. I was super-proud of myself back then, I suddenly recalled very clearly, the first time I wrestled the thing together without disturbing the sleeping Leah. Isn't that a touching family connection?

(It's not that we do our laundry late at night, it's just that we usually have better things to do than put the bed together until the point at which we want to go to bed. Somethings, clearly, we wait a little bit too long.)

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