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BY Claire

07/01 Direct Link
We have computers that fit in the palms of our hands, phones that fit in our ears, and can track everyone we've ever known through the web. However, dental tools have not advanced since the last century. You know, that last last century. Today I had a crown done. The dentist told me to close my eyes during drilling. I only opened them once, when it reached the highest pitch I've heard from my mouth. What did I see? Smoke rising from my mouth. I now have an image to my pain as well as a sound. My mouth combusting.
07/02 Direct Link
My garden is in full swing, even though our town has had a water ban for the past two months, in spite of record floods this spring. Sadly, the garden has been largely ignored by me this season. But I've kept the weeds away for the most part and doused it with water. The lettuce and spinach are done done done, and what's left of them is very bitter. My peas crashed and are sprawled on the ground. The string beans are ready for harvest, and I have a large bag of them already. Tonight I must blanch and freeze.
07/03 Direct Link
We are taking turns doing needed things today. I need to run, shower, and clean. He needs to shower, get a hair cut, and help me clean. Oh, and the world cup is still on so that must be watched. It is the longest tournament ever. I think we still have 3 more weeks of it. I don't even know who is still in or out, but I do know one of the teams I would cheer for didn't even make it in: Ireland. The US team was defeated, so I really don't care about the rest. Call me American.
07/04 Direct Link
I'm nervous at the party because my son is sleeping in the living room. I am excited to be out and see people, but have nothing to say other than I'm fine, he's great, going well. When Kara pulls me out front to tell me about Kimmy calling off her wedding I'm excited. The topic is sad, but I'm happy to be in the loop, part of the scene. We sit around the bonfire and I am two chair away from everyone else, ears alert for any crying. I get the 4 year old to give me updates from above.
07/05 Direct Link
I like when I see signs for the library in any town I drive through. That blue background with the person holding a book with an arrow. Ahead is literacy. Take a right for a good read. My trust in a town is upped when that sign appears. I would live here, maybe.

The library in my town, clearly marked with blue arrows, is lacking in books. I order books through the e-system. This takes away the browsing aspect, but has made me appreciate book stores more. I take my notebook and write down titles to get. Active research.
07/06 Direct Link
In the woods of New England today the temperature reached 103 degrees. Now people from the midwest, west, or just not from around here may say, why, that's nothing!

Yes, I realize that other places are hotter, muggier, and whatever, but this is the northeast. We are only used to 6-8 weeks of summer, with temps in the upper 80s. Hell, any humidity is too much for us. We are cool, dewy people. We are here for crisp autumns and the first warm spring day. And of course the frigid, snowy winters.

We are not equipped with air conditioning.
07/07 Direct Link
Shoo fly don't bother me, cause I belong to somebody! I love that song. It's a kiddie song, so don't be alarmed if you don't know it. Ive been rediscovering my favorite children's music lately.

Got bit by a horsefly today. It left a red welt on my leg, but it's fine because now Dylan and I have matching welts. He got 3 shots the other day on his chubby little legs, and had skin reactions at the injection site. He smiles when we rub them for him, so I think they itch. Besides, a welt is better than polio.
07/08 Direct Link
The ideas of family, friends, and life we have in our heads are shaped by past experiences. I think most of the problems that arise in life are because we hold those ideas too closely.

I love the 4th of July. When I was a child, my parents threw the most amazing party I've ever seen on the 4th. I remember the entire day: putting red, white, and blue ribbons in my hair, seeing the watermelon boat carved, watching the first stars appear while laying on the grassy hillside, the firework show my father put on that rivaled the town's.
07/09 Direct Link
We rode in the car to the deli, chatting in round about ways. Annie's daughter was in the back with my son, and we laughed that going to the beach 5 years ago was a hell of a lot easier. Just a chair, a book, and a cooler. My trunk was currently full of umbrellas, coolers, toys, blankets, and more beach toys. We planned to stay at the lake all day, or as long as the kids would take it. It was nice getting a view into what it was like to be a stay at home mom. Tiring vacation.
07/10 Direct Link
Today is our first visit to the farmer's market this year. On the menu is cucumbers. I need 8 to begin the pickling season. I have about 4 pounds of green beans in the fridge from my own garden to pickle too. Some of them anyway. The rest will be frozen to be eaten in the autumn. With the wretched heat we've had all week our fruit bowl has been reduced to nothing. The fruit flies have taken over. The last bananas we had split open and oozed juice in less than 2 days. I didn't know bananas had juice.
07/11 Direct Link
This day is a zen day.

I will not be overly emotional in either direction.

I will watch and enjoy the scenery.

I will befriend an ant.

I will nap with my kittens.

I will be the tree.

I will enjoy a ray of sunshine.

I will look for serenity in my baby's face.

I will be serene for him if he cries.

I will inhale the clouds until I am vapor too.

I will think of the past and future without worry.

I will take the time to listen.

I will live in the moment.

I will be happy.

07/12 Direct Link
On my run today I passed a woman walking. She was walking at me, so I had a good look at her. She was fabulous. Probably in her 70s, she had a short stride and used ski poles for balance walking down the ultra flat lane. Her bright white sneakers gave her support, but clashed with her long flowing floral dress. It was definitely not a house dress. It was pretty, like something a person would wear to church. The best part about this woman, besides her polite hello as I huffed by, was her single strand of pearls. Elegant.
07/13 Direct Link
Today is another day I did not go to Walden Pond. I've been planning on going there multiple times this summer, and have even gotten in the car to go, or reserved a parking pass at the library in advance. But I have not gone.

I love Walden Pond in solitude. Going at high noon holds no appeal to me. Like Thoreau I go to escape society. Whether it be a brisk stroll on the paths circling the pond, or a cross-pond swim after the lifeguards leave for the day, the nature there is best appreciated in internal silence.
07/14 Direct Link
Last night I was given a chance to get my hands dirty in my garden. I had to take the peas down, their season cut short by the blistering heat we've had. I coiled the long vines around my arms and brought them to the compost heap, to be broken back down into rich soil. Then I pulled weed after weed from the rows of beans, peppers, and eggplants. My tomatoes are weak, but one year after the blight this is no surprise. The shining stars so far are the peppers. Large purple mysteries. Long green horns full of spice!
07/15 Direct Link
I opened my laptop yesterday and wrote a paragraph of a new story. I need to start a new story or revise the one I did last year, and get a move on with this writing thing. Otherwise I may as well have gone into nursing like my mother wanted and never even touched the liberal arts.

Sometimes it's very tempting, to go into a trade rather than rely on my wits and imagination for employment and satisfaction. If I could go into a job and do tasks for 12 hours, helping people, maybe I would have been better off.
07/16 Direct Link
The regrets of things unfinished and glossed over linger in the back of my mind, disturbing my waking hours in glimpses of what could have been. I see a lifeguard twirling a whistle, a teacher leaving her classroom for the summer, vanilla over chocolate. The times tiny windows have closed on me now make up a stained glass scene of missed opportunities. While the paths I have chosen have led me to where I am, sitting in my house with my sleeping baby, I wonder at the differences each turn would have made. Even if it's just the carpet color.
07/17 Direct Link
Looking at the books on my bookshelf, I am transported back to the times when they mattered in my life. In a Different Voice, Ways of Reading, What IF? What if what? What if I sold those texts back and kept others? I cant really remember why I saved those particular books from the school's buy back program. Why did those books not become cigarette and gas money? I haven't opened them in years, yet they are moved place to place, and always reside on the top shelf. At least my second tier books have real story to them. Gatsby.
07/18 Direct Link
I remember reading Gatsby. Seymour Glass. Lady Chatterley and her gardener lover. The lake poets. All of Margaret Atwood's books. These are more pieces of me than Virtuous Persons, Vitreous Deeds. Although I think I kept that book just for the title. How high brow of me.

I won't even get into my row of reference books, except to say I bought four of the tomes in my post-graduate year, when I had aspirations of greatness. What I then called delusions.

While I shudder at filling my precious bookshelf with summer reads, I think it's time to move on.
07/19 Direct Link
Today I am energized. I am the new week, a well rested morning, a high powered lady, oh yeah. Tomorrow I will not be so sure. A crease in my forehead may appear, and I'll need a nap. By Wednesday it will be as though a weight has been put on my knees, forcing them to buckle and toss me to the ground. Thursday I will be trembling, while faking a brave face. Your bite is worse than you think. On Friday I'll be purposeful. Moving ahead and trying to analyze what just happened. Saturday will be pancakes and rest.
07/20 Direct Link
Earlier this week I made a to-do list. Fairly simple. It hung on a magnetic pad, at eye level in the kitchen. It's presence motivated me, and when I crossed off an item I was calmer. I baked muffins at 11:30 last night just to cross it off the list.

Today I woke up and my list was on the floor. Not just the list, but the entire pad of paper that said list was composed on. My list seemed to have weighed it down, torn it off the magnet.

I haven't done anything on my list today.
07/21 Direct Link
Harry pulled the car up water as Renee looked on in disbelief.

"What is this?" she asked staring at the narrow strip of water in front of them. "Did the road wash out? How are we going to get to the ferry?"

Harry cleared his throat. "This is the ferry line."

"Are you serious? Why don't they just build a bridge."

She saw a small barge floating towards them. "That's it?" "Yeah, it only holds three cars."

"If that."

The barge docked and they moved forward.

"I used to think this was the barge on the river Styx," Harry said.
07/22 Direct Link
There is a spider living in my tv set. At first we thought it was an extremely fast spider just running across the screen. After searching the outside, we realized there was no was it could just disappear like it did. It's on the inside of the screen, or somewhere in the wires. We have a rear projection set, which was more affordable than the flat screens when we bought it. I think it has found the projection box inside, because sometimes he looks huge. It's always entertaining, especially during a boring show, when he runs across an actor's face.
07/23 Direct Link
We at first thought it was an ad for a bug terminator or something. My mind then flashed to the movie Aracnaphobia, when poisonous spiders invade the town. Was this a sign of things to come? Our house really has hundreds of spiders. When we first moved in the house had been vacant for a year or more, so the spiders ruled the roost. Knowing that spiders only live where other bugs are, I usually let them live so they can eat the other pests. Maybe I've been too forgiving. We now have house spiders, jumping spiders, daddy long legs...
07/24 Direct Link
...it's like all the spiders sent out a spidergram saying we were spider friendly. We had to kill a few this year though. There is only so much we can take. But the spider living in the tv really intrigues me. What is he eating in there? Is he bothered by the sound and lights? How did he get in? I love when he crawls across, even as the chills run up my spine. Then I had a thought: what if it is a she and she has eggs in there? Will a hundred spiders soon skitter across the tube?
07/25 Direct Link
And if there are baby spiders ruining Gray's Anatomy for me, what do we do about it? Finally get that flat screen TV we've been talking about? Wait it out and watch for the pile of spider carcasses to appear? Call in the exterminator? It's nearly too much to even think about really. For now I'll just laugh as he moves from side to side. Oddly enough he never hangs out in a scene, just steals it. Like a streaker running onto a game field. You point, giggle, then settle back into it. Maybe I'll miss him when he's gone.
07/26 Direct Link
The neighbor's kids have a party. The parents must be away. As the evening rises the teenagers debate moving inside, but remain on their pool deck, singing and laughing. From my couch I listen to their chatter. I'm lounging tonight, relaxed against the pillows with my feet up. Enjoying their off-key singing and shouts, I neither envy them nor wish I could join a scene such as theirs. I am comfortable in my skin and situation. I can close my eyes and join in my memory times when I was there. Or focus and be here in the now.
07/27 Direct Link
Since I started baking a few years ago I have this need to make things. Warm gooey things mostly, but also a savory mix. But this summer, the heat has prevented me from going near the oven. My flour and sugar reserves are full. Even with the berry picking we've done no pies or crumbles have been created. Instead I'm planning my fall menu. Crisp apples, pumpkin soups, cinnamon spice. The heat is supposed to break in the next few days, and I think it may be a signal to start up the ovens again. I need to caramelize soon.
07/28 Direct Link
Today I changed it up a bit. Instead of my usual tea and cereal, I had tea with eggs and an English muffin. The menu had been feeling a bit stale for a bit, but it's breakfast. How exciting can it really be on a weekday? Now the weekend is a different beast all together. I myself am a fan of the Sunday brunch. Not that I've been to any day brunch in a while. But while I was growing up, Sunday brunch at Bishops was great. We'd stay all day long and friends and family would come meet us.
07/29 Direct Link
One thing I took for granted growing up was my large extended family. I feel bad for my son because he only has six cousins. My husband only has four. I have over fifty. I think I've met them all, but am not really sure. My family is spread out over five continents--it used to be six, but the African contingent dispersed back to Europe and the US. I like having the option of a home anywhere I travel. That's what you get when your mother is one of nine and your father is one of six. And Irish.
07/30 Direct Link
Today I feel lucky. I got to spend time with my two best friends, something that rarely happens now. It's odd going from seeing people every day all the time, like when we were all roommates in college, to just the occasional meet up. I didn't see one of them for three years at one point. Considering we were joined at the hip for three years in our late teens, early twenties, I wonder what our younger selves would think about this gap. But when we are all together it's like no time has elapsed. The mark of great friends.
07/31 Direct Link
I am visiting my in-laws today in their new house. They are moving back to Connecticut after five years in Pennsylvania, into a 1979 custom built ranch, with no updates. It's on the opposite end of the architectural spectrum than their last two homes: gorgeous colonial farm houses. This ranch is orange, and has a nice deck that overlooks their 28 acres of land. The reason why they bought it. The land abuts conservation areas, and the sun sets over a forest of maples. I can't wait to see the view in the fall. Orange from the orange house.