Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hawk in the 'Hood

Last night on the way back from an emergency stop for toilet parts and Chinese food, we spotted a hawk on the baseball field fence. I had Joe drive me home so I could run in to get my camera and then drop me back off at the field. We often see hawks circling the sky in the neighborhood, but this was the closest I've ever come to one, and it was kind enough to sit still so I could capture some pictures. The gentleman across the street sitting on his front porch with his granddaughter informed me there was a pair of great horned owls in the woods behind him as well. We've heard those two in the middle of the night. He said the hawks stay well fed on the squirrels.

There is a blogger that regularly shares updates on a family of Red-tail Hawks in Downtown Raleigh: I don't know if this bird is part of that crew or not.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tying Rafts Together

Yesterday I posted the following on Facebook, which seemed to resonate with fellow moms and women in general:
If I could give any advice to new mothers it would to tie your rafts together. When the waves get high, don't cut each other loose. Those friendships are precious and there will be a time when the waters calm and you get to float for a bit and sip your margaritas, but don't go at it alone when times are hard, because nothing is sadder than drinking alone when times are good.
Early in motherhood, probably in the first six months of my firstborn's life, I felt isolated. Whether this was by my own design or a result of changing life circumstances and relationships, I didn't reach out to other women the way I should have, the way I needed to. I didn't want to be a burden; I didn't want to admit I needed help. I didn't feel worthy of help considering I only had one kid who was comparatively easy, and I was able to work part time from home. Family was great about coming into town to check in on us, but it was the day to day, the seemingly endless tunnel of broken sleep, assaulted ear drums, and piles of diapers with very little adult communication that wore me down. I had many friends in town who were all in their own homes with their own babies of the same age, but they felt worlds away. A January birth leaves a long stretch of cold until warm summer days when mama bears crawl out of their dens. I had friends without kids whom I assumed would feel used or awkward if I asked them to come over. I projected all of my own insecurities onto the community around me, cutting them short of the opportunity to help. Social anxiety built up and I even baby snots, naps and sleep as ways to duck out of church, parties, etc. We were all brand new to this phase of life, and it was hard. Change, no matter how you cut it, isn't easy.

Help doesn't always mean bringing meals and changing diapers. It doesn't necessarily involve doing at all. Sometimes help sometimes a text saying "I am thinking about you." It's a friend being real about their own struggles. It is not saying, "You
were created for this," but saying "Yes, this is hard and I'm here with you." Help is pursuit. It's communicating to another person that they are worthy of friendship and love. My second time around, I had some of these helper friends. A fellow mom with very few opportunities to sleep would send me texts at 4 am, as I would to her as well. Another mom and I would have incredibly boring but life-giving "play dates" where our little blobs would lay side by side on a blanket and wave their chubby arms around their baby-bobble-heads. Help is when a soul opens a connection to another soul and says, "You are welcome here."

Perhaps the biggest change for me as I've grown older is to trust the ropes between our rafts... or to trust those friends are still holding the end of the rope even though we are spanning across the waves. When those insecurities pop up, I'd like to say I'm quicker to give a little tug and make sure my friends are still there.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

More Garden Pics


Coneflowers from Walmart

Compost pile sweet potatoes

Monday, July 6, 2015

Raven Rock State Park

This past weekend, Joe and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. At the pool this evening, a friend asked me if we had done anything, and before I could answer, the kids chimed in, "Yes, we did! We had fireworks with friends and went hiking ..." We gave each other knowing looks. In kids' minds, "we" is all of us.

On Saturday, we went hiking at Raven Rock State Park. It was Joe's idea, and we had just bought ourselves hiking backpacks with hydration packs, leading to excessive use of the phrase "my water bladder" by my oldest. The weather was supposed to hold out until 3 pm. We left home a little after 11 am loaded down with our bladders full of water and our backpacks full of chips and granola bars. We probably hiked between four and five miles, during which the rain came an hour or two early. Joe got to use his new Buck knife to carve the boys hiking sticks, and I got to take pictures of the forest. On the way home, we stopped at Pizza Hut, and Joe and I sent the boys to the other side of the mostly empty restaurant while we stuffed our faces and pretended it was a date.

Raven Rock State Park is south of Raleigh near Lillington, about a one-hour drive for us, and has really nice facilities and a variety of hiking trails. If we make it back again this summer, we will try the section of the Campbell Creek Loop Trail that starts at the visitor center and do some wading or try to hike to the falls. If we don't make it back until fall, we may bring our tent and make a night of it if we feel the kids (and mom) are ready to do a backpacking trip! There is a canoe-in campground that would also be so much fun for the family or a group of families.

Rock - Raven?

End of Raven Rock Trail

Fish Traps


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Handbuilt Gardenware - Leaf Imprints in Clay

Over the past year or two, I've been using vintage lace doilies to make handbuilt pieces. Before this, I used some garden herbs to make spoon rests, but had not used them in a few years and had never used them with an underglaze on white clay. With the garden booming, I've tried different foliage to see what turns out well. Some leaves like pumpkin and okra are huge, which is why I need a slab roller or at least a day at Pullen Art Center with one. Two weeks ago, I took in a bucket of garden clippings, a bag of clay and tools, and made 6 platters and two soap dishes. I really like the round platter with citrus basil. I love seeing my two hobbies come together and am happy with the results! I used Little Loafers clay, medium green Speedball underglaze, and clear glaze. The dill blossoms look a little like fireworks when pressed into the clay. The spores on the backs of the ferns created a stunning effect.

Other projects:
Bead Tree (I)
Spoon molds:
Cake Stands:
Bead Tree (II):
Making Ceramic Ornaments with Cookie Cutters


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