Friday, August 18, 2017

walking the shoreline

I am too sick too hike. But with nothing but time spilling out ahead of me I had to do something so I went for a walk. BC has taken Beach to Idaho to see Fisher in Smiley Creek.  They will stay through the weekend to see the solar eclipse on Monday. They won't return to Utah until Tuesday. 

That's a lot of time left to me.

 I waited until after dinner, waited for rush hour traffic to die down.  Then I loaded up the dog and drove across town to the shoreline trail.  We walked slowly through the tall grass.  I could lie and say it was really great but it wasn't.  It was hot and I am pretty damn sick.  The heat and the dust, a fever & a sore throat, they don't all go well together... but it was beautiful.

The kind of beautiful you can forget exists.
 In the last true light of the day I looked back out over the SLC valley.  The interstate seems to flow west like a river of gold.  It bleeds out into the haze of desert dust and city heat.  At the end of it all far, far away a lake so ablaze with the colors of the sky it looks like it is on fire.

Now, let's go home.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

the return of Baby J and her family

They drove 4 days.  Across 9 states.  They stayed in cheap motels and ate on the road.  They called late and they called early to let us know where they were: a hotel in Georgia, somewhere in Missouri, all the way across Nebraska, through Wyoming, and across the Utah state line....
They drove 4 days to move back home.

Welcome back to Utah, Conner, Lexi, & Baby J!

walking back to school

As I sit down to think about what to write about the beginning of school this year I can clearly see the image in my mind of 6 year old Beach playing on the floor.  Around her a recreation of James Towns created from a hybrid mix of blocks and Playmobil. 

That was our Kindergarten on the first Monday after I withdrew her from school.  Three months of state school and state rules had been enough for both of us.

I remember walking her home in the middle of the day from school.  She had been the only half day kindergartener out of 3 classes, 23 students each.  She had been the only kid reading in her class.  The one arguing for taking home library books.  The only one not eating school lunch- the only one who threw-up on the first day because of the smell of the cafeteria food.

I would walk her to school in the morning and a few hours later return to walk her home.  That day she was complaining again about the unfair rules, about group-think, about the baby playground, the standing in line, about the slow pace the classroom moved.

It was October.  Grapes left on the vines that over-poured the fence lines on 10th scented the street with sticky sweetness.  The Oregon grape and oaks were turning.  The stubborn Elms holding green.  The sidewalk was a mecca of tiny twigs and fallen chestnuts.

"Beach, would it break your heart if you stopped going to school?" I asked her as she stooped to pick something up off the ground.

"No, Mom, it would set my heart free."

That was 8 years ago.  On Tuesday, quietly and without fanfare she started 8th grade.  It began on my bed.  Soft August sunlight drifting through the window pooling on the blankets.  Together we listening to Selective Shorts: Curiouser & Curiouser, A Celebration Of Alice In Wonderland.

Later, Beach researched her latest project, her Browning Box camera.  We played board games, we baked, and we read.

On the second day of 8th grade she wasn't even here. Beach and 2 other friends had a sleepover that spilled out into the mall the next day.  Beach spent her time shopping and lunching.  She used her debit card to buy a shirt and a pair of tiny shorts.  She figured out how to split the price of "buy one get one" sales between the 3 girls.  Noted to us later that she had covered the tax because it had been too hard to explain to the others at the time.

Today is the third day of 8th grade.  First on the schedule is to review the Utah State Fair Photography rules and begin preparing her entries.

Baby J and her family have moved back home to Utah (!!!!).  A fieldtrip to their new little blue house only a few minutes away is a must.  There will be reading and writing and a sit down hot lunch.

6 yr old Beach blowing bubbles at a Brownies science camp U of U

On Tuesday of next week we will get serious.  Math, Science, and Shakespeare will come out but until then we are slowing, peacefully, taking our walk back to school.

 E. Beach Ries
Grade 8

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sophie's 15 yrs, 15 acts of kindness party in the park

For Sophie's 15th birthday she wanted a random acts of kindness scavenger hunt.  The girls divided into 2 teams and headed out into the park to complete 15 acts of kindness.  Acts like tell a joke, teach a cartwheel, give a couple a flower... They had one hour to complete them.

Each team was given a younger sibling, losing them along the way would have been a 10 minute penalty.
 The girls setting their timers and syncing their phones!
Of course there was great food and lots of family & friends.
Happy 15th birthday my sweet Sophie!