Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pussy Willows, Roller Coosters, and an Unwelcome Guest

Sometimes it's the little things that make the big news here on Laurel Lane.

Pussy Willows
The weeping pussy willow tree is in bud.

 I remember reading about pussy willows in books when I was a child. They seemed so exotic to me then because there are no pussy willows that grow on the central California coast. I still remember the thrill I felt when I first discovered a pussy willow tree a few blocks from my home after I moved to Oregon. About 5 or 6 years ago, Mark and I bought a weeping pussy willow tree at a plant sale. Now I have pussy willows in my very own yard. I clipped a few branches to bring indoors today, and I feel like a wealthy woman.

Roller Coosters

The mail carrier brought such a treat this week: a letter from Lala! Love her 3-year-old penmanship.


"Hi Grandma, I made you a roller cooster. (heart) Olivia"

I turned her letter over to see what a roller cooster might be:

Yup, it looks like a roller cooster to me!

Actually, when I went back and took a closer look at her letter, I realized that she had attached a little tail to the second "o" in "cooster," so it probably really says, "coaster." But I think "cooster" is pretty cute, so I'm sticking with that for now.

It never ceases to amaze (and embarrass) me when I see how many of my grandchildren are able to read and write before they ever reach kindergarten. I do not remember teaching my children to read before they started school. Some of them could write a little, and I do remember teaching them to make letters by drawing dotted lines in the shape of letters for them to trace over, but nothing like a whole letter like this, written without any dotted lines. Katie said she did help Olivia with the spelling, but Olivia actually held the pen and wrote the whole letter herself. And addressed the envelope. And drew the roller cooster.

(Just for the record, all of my children did graduate from high school in spite of having a pre-K slacker mother.)

I have an early childhood memory of "writing" of my own. I was probably about Olivia's age. I was sitting at the dining room table, across from my mother, who was writing her weekly letter to my paternal grandmother. Mind you, my mother did not get along very well with her mother-in-law, but she was a good daughter-in-law, and she wrote a letter to my father's parents every week. I remember sitting at the table while my mother wrote, with a pen in my hand and a piece of paper in front of me. I remember making whole lines of looped "l"s - lower-case cursive-type l's. Or maybe they were e's. I remember thinking "Whoa, I'm writing!" and simultaneously knowing that I was only pretending, not really writing. Not like Olivia (or Arora, or Abbi, or Katie, or Seth, or Becca, or...).

I guess kids today are just a whole lot smarter!
(And, of course, they have brilliant parents.)

An Unwelcome Guest
Mark and I have a pretty set routine in the mornings. One of us hops in the shower while the other one heads downstairs to get breakfast started. A week or so ago, I ran across this fellow, making his way from the dining room to the kitchen.


Uggghhh!!! Yes, it's a slug. He was about 2.5 inches long. Skinnier than a big, fat banana slug, like we see on our hikes. This was just a little garden variety guy. He was actually making pretty good time across my smooth floor. I was surprised at how quickly (for a slug) he was moving. But still. It was a slug in my house. Not acceptable!! He quickly became a resident of the (outdoor) trash can.

Mark and I can't figure out how he got inside the house in the first place. Our house is generally pretty bug-free, except for the occasional swarm of fruit flies in the summer.  (Except, of course, for a couple of memorable yellow jacket infestations in long-ago summers...those are stories that will have to wait for a future post...)

Mark thought maybe he rode in on one of our shoes, but that just didn't make sense to me. Could he have come in all the way through the sump drain into the basement, and then all the way from the basement into the kitchen? That would be quite a hike for a little critter.

I've lived in the house nearly 34 years, and this is the first time I've ever had a slug in my kitchen. Maybe he's a harbinger of climate change??

Time will tell...and in the meantime I'm not walking barefoot in a dark kitchen!

4 comments:

Polly @ Helping Little Hands said...

Katie chewed on a slug once that was tracked in on the missionaries' shoes once. She was about 9 months old. Yuck!

timetravelersdefinitiveguide said...

In your defense, Mom, I do have pre-K memories of you efforts to encourage both my reading and writing before school started.

I remember when I expressed interest in reading to you, you pulled out one of your old early reader books to teach me the fundamentals. I'm not sure how long it took me to catch on, but I remember being quite excited at how soon I was able to read words like "cat," "bat," and "rat."

As far as writing goes, I actually have physical proof of your efforts to get me writing young, including a story you helped me write that is still in my old green journal you kept for me when I was little. (I think the story is from when I was around four?)

In any case, as you said we all graduated from high school and turned out just fine. I just thought you should know that you were no slouch in the pre-K development arena either!

Katie Lewis said...

Haha, when I saw this I thought, "Mom, you spelled roller coaster wrong." :) In fact, Olivia did spell it right (with an "a"). It just looks more like an o with a tail. Whatevs. She's three and it's cute.

Also, for the sake of full disclosure, I held her hand to help her write, "Hi Grandma," the heart, and the date. Probably a couple of the other letters too. But the rest is legit 3 year old Olivia handwriting. :)

And a legit Olivia roller coaster on the back. She draws those all the time. I think she saw one in a show once.

Also, that's cool that you have your own pussy willow tree now. I don't remember living so close to one as a kid. They always seemed exotic to me too. Except for those pussy willow sprigs that were in the downstairs bathroom on the back of the toilet for, like, half my childhood. At least we didn't have slugs then.

Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...

Maybe I am the only one who remembers the vat (Mignight?) who used to leave mice, birds an slugs as gifts?

Glad LaLa is turning into an early letter writer doing her own designs.