This Memorial Day weekend we went to the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville with the kids.  We went to see what was billed as the most complete/largest/omg! remains of a t-rex ever found.  Sue, what they named the t-rex even though no one is sure its sex, seemed a lot smaller to me than I imagined.  I’ve experienced so many versions of dinosaurs in pop culture, I had given into the vision of the beast about the size of the Empire State Building.  Another thing that took the luster off Sue was we weren’t in the presence of the actual carbon remains of the dinosaur –what we were looking at was a plaster cast (Wikipedia tells me the real Sue is in Chicago forever).  The kids really enjoyed it, which is what matters, and the rest of the museum was excellent and free.

We also went to Madison Blue Springs.  We were there early enough to have the spring to ourselves for a few hours before the Memorial Day hordes arrived.  When they did arrive, I indulged in a good amount of people watching (which I love), and some silent judging as I watched moms chain smoke by the shore around their kids and mine.  All of this instead of reading the book I held in my hands. There was a butterfly under the branch next to me that didn’t move for a long time.  The branch reeked of urine.  I sat there, marinating in the smell of urine. I looked at the women smoking, and at the hole in the branch someone had been using as an ashtray; at the plastic bottle someone had hung from one of the branches like a christmas decoration.  All of this in the paradise before me, and I hated humanity, just a little.  That feeling was strange for me because I don’t usually feel that way.

Life is weird always.




photos: Seth






These, too, were taken on Mother’s Day, in an unlikely patch of bamboo on the farm.  Naturally, it was strewn with horse shit, but I was on a high from swimming in the creek, getting all the lovings, wearing lipstick, and generally feeling fabulous, to mind.  We all need days like that!


Photos: Seth


LIBRARYHAUL11. Madeline And The Gypsies by Ludwig Bemelmans 2. This Day In June by Gayle E. Pitman 3. Joey And Jet In Space by James Yang 4. Library Lily by Gillian Shields 5. The McElderry Book Of Aesop’s Fables by Michael Mopurgo

For our trip to the library this week (actually last week) we picked some books we intended to bring on our trip to the yurt. However, when it came time to pack, the only book Foos wanted to bring was Two Silly Trolls, which she got as a gift from her grammy.   We have been reading these this week instead.

Madeline and the Gypsies is only the second book in the Madeline series we have read. I mentally prepare myself to be disappointed by children’s books written in this time period because racism and sexism sometimes subtly pop up (Babar, ugh).  This book indulges a bit in gypsy stereotypes (the untrustworthy gypsies will hide your kids and make them work, gasp!), but Foos is not attuned to any of that and enjoyed it. I like that books with questionable content give me the opportunity to explain things which may not come up otherwise.  I used this as an opportunity to talk a little bit about the historically unfair treatment of the Roma, and tried my best to explain how this book was a bit unfair to the gypsies and why. Madeline is generally, is a good choice for Foos, and it is very likely she will continue to choose books from this series on future library trips.

This Day In June is a brilliant book! the subject of the story is a pride parade and the happenings. The book itself never mentions pride or homosexuality, it leaves that to the illustrations. This book focuses more on the collective humanity on display during joyful gatherings (such as this parade); babies crying, couples smooching, dancing, chanting, and the like.  Honestly, reading this book started so many conversations about the nature of families and love, leather daddies, and drag queens.  I cannot recommend it enough, it was wonderful!

Joey and Jet in Space is simple and beautifully illustrated.  Joey loses his dog, Jet, in space and goes off in search for him. Spoiler — the story takes place in Joey’s imagination, but you don’t get that until the end.  I did find myself wishing Joey was a Julia because there are so many books about boys in space, but I am the mother of a little girl and a rabid feminist to boot, of course I feel that way.

Library Lily is about a bibliophile who goes to the library with her mom and would rather read than do almost anything else, including sleeping and playing.  Then she meets Milly, who is the flip side to the Lily coin; she hates reading and loves real life adventures and playing.  Lily teaches Milly to love books, Milly teaches Lily to love playing, they become great friends for life and even write a book together.  The illustrations were not my favorite, but it was a cute story.  If the characters of Milly and Lily were combined, they would equal Foos; there was a lot in there for her to identify with and I know she was delighted by seeing versions of herself, of us, on the page.

The McElderry Book Of Aesop’s Fables is perfect for introducing young readers to Aesop’s classic stories.  I must admit, when she  picked up this book at the library, I frowned because it looked like a text book to me.  Thankfully, the versions of the classic stories in this edition are short (perfect for bedtime and self-reading), amusing, and contain a clear explanation of the moral of each story.






Enjoying the frigid waters of Laurel Creek on Mother’s Day.  Laurel Creek was not deep enough and too rocky to actually “swim” in (at least the area we were in), but it was great for wading, rock collecting, sitting, and hopping from rock to rock. The Laurel River Trail was suggested to us because it makes for good hiking with little ones in tow, and indeed we spied a lot of families hiking the trail adjacent to the creek. On a personal note, I have trained myself not to care about Mother’s Day.  My first Mother’s Day was a couple of days after my ex-husband left us, after that it was just me and Foos, and she was too little to care. This Mother’s Day is already a memory, but it is one I will keep in my heart and mind for a long time.  Seth and Foos sung me a Mother’s Day song (to the tune of happy birthday, in case you were wondering). I got so many kisses, and hugs, and I love yous.  It was beyond tender.  This is the first year I have not been a single parent, and as cheesy and meaningless as it may be in the grander scheme of things, it felt great.


Photos: Seth



We spent five days last week in a yurt, in the middle of a hundred acre family farm, deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It was perfect. The mornings were filled with rooster songs, wet air, and a sun rise that stunned. At night, the fireflies lit up the mountains; it strained the eye to detect where the fireflies ended and the real stars began. The woman who owns the farm, Anna, and her partner Marco, were wonderful and welcoming. Anna’s father, Jim, also has a home adjacent to her property; he was beautiful and gentle. Mr. Jim was soft spoken, and I wanted to hear all the stories he wasn’t telling, because I knew they would be good and true. They gave us a run of the place, and a lot of privacy, too. It was awesome to see Foos have so much fun being completely herself, in a different environment. Seeing her interact with the farm dogs, Lucy and Beagler, her little eyes widen in both curiosity and fear at the sound of the coyote’s melancholy howl, and her delight at the fireflies, made me so grateful Seth gave her this experience. I can hardly wait to return.








Photos: Seth