The Van

An awful event occurred last night and the worst of it keeps replaying in my mind.

I’d just pulled into a parking spot at a local store and sat with my car idling while I looked something up via the mighty Google before heading in. My windows were down a tad and I heard screams. A minivan (loathe) tore around the corner with a young woman somewhere between eighteen and twenty-eight in age I guesstimate, clinging to the top. She held to the roof rack runners, laid out flat on her torso, legs splayed with bare feet flailing to and fro, I imagine due to flip-flops flying off at some point along the way. She wore khakis and a forest green crew shirt and screamed and yelled “Stop!” continuously.

My initial assessment was this was one of those foolish pranks most often played by youngish people- a stunt that freaks out nearby witnesses intentionally only to later be aired on Youtube. Why else would she be on the top of the vehicle? I saw a handful of standers-by appearing disturbed, with one guy on the phone looking after the van. I paused a moment to check my head and heart. Justice is a HUGE deal with me and can have me ready to take up another’s battle all too quickly at times. I took off after the van in my car having watched it leave the parking lot and head up a hill into a nearby neighborhood. I didn’t know if I’d catch up or not, I just knew her voice sounded wrong for a prank, and nobody else was driving after them.

“Found her by her screams,” this should not be.

As I headed up the hill, I rolled the windows down all the way so I could listen, looking left and then right as I began to pass roads that turned off to other streets. I found her by her screams at the next turn. “Found her by her screams,” this should not be. Up another incline in a cul-de-sac filled with more trees than houses was the van veering in circles, the woman’s body now teetering on the roof’s edge. Another sharp turn caused her body to tumble down the passenger’s side, bouncing off the window. Her hold broke and she fell to the ground hard on her bum and left elbow. She cried out repeatedly as the van continued moving. I don’t know how she wasn’t hit. She tried to dodge the front wheels but then tumbled under the van partially and barely rolled back out again just before the back tires would’ve hit her. I’m in the happiest shock one can be in- I just don’t know how she wasn’t rolled over. It all happened in a flash. She lay there slumped on her side wailing as the van made its way down the hill towards me. Uh, yeah. I was scared and I’m angry about that. Yet, grateful. Without fear acting as a balance, my anger would surely go bananas at times and I don’t ever wanna be one of those people that flies off the handle and lives a life of regret over a moment’s indulgence in a base emotion. Or worse, doesn’t live that life of regret because they didn’t live to see the next moment.

Instinct said block the vehicle from exiting the cul-de-sac, but I didn’t like the idea of keeping this victimized person so close to her attacker with them still behind the wheel. With short hair, a stocky build and tinted windows, I thought it was a man driving and I feared the possibility of more people in the vehicle and moreover, those people having guns. Oh, were I only impervious to bullets. I saw a roundabout ahead and pulled forward with a plan to circle it allowing the van to go on their way with me circling back around behind them. The goal, the license plate number which remained infuriatingly obscured and unclear. I did this only because a couple walking along caught the latter portion of what was happening and ran to the woman’s side freeing me to do so.

The van was gone. I heard no acceleration, and didn’t understand where the heck it vanished to. There were three immediate roads it could’ve turned down so I chose one and began the search. Did it pull in somewhere along a house as though it belonged there and I passed it somehow? I gave up the hunt and headed back to the woman. The aforementioned couple remained at her side and another woman stood talking on a phone. The victim still lay slumped on the ground repeating her story in sobs, her shirt bunched up exposing her back where a long gash had opened and was bleeding along with her elbow and her heels and toes.

It turns out the driver was her mom. HER MOM.

The woman shared that her mom had just come from a grocery store across the street where “they” (whomever “they” were, I know not) had stolen a bunch of stuff before heading over to the store I’d pulled into, where the daughter- this injured woman- and her children (!) saw her and confronted her, knowing she’d steal from there as well. It obviously escalated physically, what with her ending up on top of the van in trying to stop her mom. I fully understand rage and foolish actions stemming from that rage, yet, it’s usually a rather quick uprise and some form of rationality takes hold soon enough even if anger continues. This crazy-arse woman willfully terrorized her daughter for an extended period of time past any such claim of rage (not that it’d be justified AT ALL due to a claim, just the tiniest bit more understood.) She also didn’t stop in an attempt to NOT run her over, and in fact, looked as though she were actually trying TO run her over. Insane.

I don’t know what was true or not in the story shared, nor that family’s history together. I do know any provocation on the daughter’s part didn’t deserve the level of absurdity this lady took it to. The police soon arrived, and the children were found and told their momma was alive. Those poor sweethearts. I wish I knew the family’s name and an address to send some kindness to them via the mail.

I’m running away to the Hoh (Hoe or Hah? Must find the pronunciation, I don’t remember) Rainforest shortly- it’s been several years- with Shannon where we’ll traipse through the woods with a hope for adventure. I’m wishing for it to be generally bright and lovely and feel like beginnings despite my usual proclivity for rain and a definitive mood. ♦

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Birdly Happenings

“The

So I have this rather lovely plant holder hanging out on my balcony. It houses a fakey-fake fern complete with a bit of cobweb wisping off one of the frond stem thingies if you look closely. Had the real deal in there the first three years I lived here, but the fern up and died along with my hydrangea and some other nondescript plant all at the time. Feeling ganged up on by greenery, I stuck this faker in there and have called it good ever since. Know what’s not fake though? The little birdie family that’ve made the vessel their home this past spring. Once it’s warm enough, I throw open all the windows and such till October finds its way back around. I was hanging out on the couch at one point and kept hearing a sporadic racket from outside (The Sporadic Rackets playing in a town near you!). I happened to look up right as a little bird flew to the ledge of the plant holder, before dipping inside. A cacophony of sound arose! Out flew the bird and the sound was silenced instantaneously as though a switch was flipped.

CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEE-CHEEP!!!

And scene.

“Flowers”

“More

“Yep

“Teeny

There’s since been bits of branch scattered about on the bench cushion below and I see the little things hippety-hopping about all the time, having taken up ownership of every shelf space and bird-sized pocket to be found. This, of course, also means poop- but it’s worth it. Not much to clean up thus far. Went out to capture some pics of my newish flower box plantings and happened to see this little one hanging out in a plant. I could’ve touched the thing, it was so close. Had me wondering if it was hurt, frozen in fear, diligently protective of nearby babies or wishfully, comfortable and familiar with my presence.

“I

As for Brown ’n’ Blue, they, or perhaps another same only different pair, have begun a new nest out front. When the maintenance men washed away the plethora of Pollock poo last year, they took out the nest as well much to my dismay. One of the office goons was showing a family the place across from mine and spotted the droppings of mud on the pavement that didn’t manage to stick to the wood beam. Someone promptly came and washed the nest beginnings away. Then last week, as I took the last steps to my front door in arriving home (from holding Edie, no doubt!), the two birds flew right past me having been seated nearby. They’ve begun again! It’s been a week since, and no further progress just yet, though I’ll be faithful to sweep away any further mud remnants (and subsequent poo!) in hopes of warding off additional dastardly attempts at removal. ♦

“Nesting”

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It’s Been a Quick Journey From There to Here …

It was the afternoon of Button’s baby shower, and over two dozen attendees decided to alight upon my front door at the same time. Were they all sitting out in their vehicles, only to see one person head in and then- stampede! I believe so, more or less. I only wish I’d had everyone pause for a quick pic as I opened the door- all huddled on the porch flowing down the stairs and spilling onto the landing below. Quite the sight!

Had a small hiccup to start- nothing big, just a standard power outage. Or two, *cough*, three. Yeah, two new coffee urns, I’m lookin’ at YOU. I had most every light and appliance on in the place (my usual, when entertaining), and had just hit “start” on the coffee and hot water before opening the door to guests. When one aunt immediately ran for the bathroom and a (not Bean) pregnant lady nabbed the other, their combined light switching caused all the power to promptly cut out.

Thank goodness Bean went to town on the switch box to correct the problem, but not before it continued to trip as no one, i.e., me, had addressed the urn snafu just yet. I’d quickly returned to the kitchen where I was practically up to my elbows in meat, having roasted and shredded a near ton of pork to marinate for mini sliders aplenty and had grossly underestimated the time to build them all despite having a nifty assembly line process in place. Drat to you, NOT pre-sliced rolls. Next time I’ll read the package better, AND not fail to test any new coffee urns and the like. All of course, after I’ve grown two more arms and can transcend the need for sleep. Used to be really good at that last one, but I currently try for midnight (heavy on the ish) to 7 a.m. (more ish).

“Shower
There was much, much more where this came from

Shower Invitations” border=
In keeping with the wedding theme, style and colors

So some twenty minute hullabaloo passed by in completing the buffet prep while people got to mingling about with beverages in hand. Got the whole thing back on track and great fun was had! The group games were especially hilarious, one pitting three teams of people against each other in a relay to diaper a dolly blindfolded. At one point, my Dad was neck and neck with my Mom (my parents have made amends and we spend our holidays together in recent years with no animosity, because God is good) and good-natured jokes flew out about ex-spouses this and older folks that and they gave as good as they got, but both still caused their teams to lose big time! (This portion of the tale brought to you by team 1, the winners.)

“Cadbury
Because Cadbury tastes like chocolate and Hershey’s doesn’t so sayeth our Brits

“Ceegars”
Chew on this

“Rubber”
Would anyone like a peanut?

It being a coed shindig, a few wussy men chose to stay home, while the majority attended with their counterparts, totally missing out because they were hung up on the term “shower” rather than viewing it as a party, as it was.

Game On

“Just

“Pin

“Pencils”
a few of many more details

And at parties, there’s cake, of which I’d ordered two- a chocolate one and a good one – white with double lemon filling. I have a thing with cakes for some reason- it doesn’t matter if I order it early or late, in person or on the phone, at a chez fou bakery or a grocery- THEY GET IT WRONG. Always. For years. It’s both comical and disappointing at the same time. This cake ordering task is usually passed to someone else because of this now fact, not just common cowinky. So I shoulda known. There was a big ol’ mix up at the bakery with one of the cakes, but they managed a work around that was actually better than the original order and >>> FREE <<< on top of it because of the mistake. I KNOW to look under the hood and the pizza box aaand the cake box when picking up an order, but I believed the manager when she said she’d checked the replacement cake in the back before bringing it out.

I got home around 11 p.m. and was set to add all sorts of candy buttons I’d bought to customize it. I open the box and the lavender accosts my eyes. One, I’m happy it’s a cake! Coulda been a pie. Perhaps a cream puff. But that’s not the color we’d discussed, they’re now closed and there’s no time nor other person to drive back the next day to fix this no matter how I reason it out. I decide to scrape all the buttercream off, recolor it, refrost, button it up and call it a night. So I did. Thought I’d get around to a follow up photo the next day when the full spread was out, but as shared, time and power had other things in mind.

“Oops”

“Get

Naturally, in the journey from there to here, this brings me to Africa. Met for dinner with a friend several weeks back and she shared a story about their eldest preteen daughter discovering ways she can help the parts of the world in need, by volunteering in her immediate community as well as outside of it. This discovery led her family to decide on a trip to Africa for two weeks at the end of Mayish to help put a roof on a church and to work with the youth there on the coast of Kenya where ISIS attempts to recruit from the younger population.

Later that night, I received a text from her following up on this, that and the other that had been discussed over dinner. She ends the message with an “Oh, BTW” kinda thing, stating that I’m welcome to join them on the trip if I’d like. I stopped reading- I’m immediately ponderous, joyous, conflicted, and torn. I reread the message and see that I hadn’t even finished it- she had written on to say that she’d found a ticket online and she’d pay half for me. Because of course she would, that’s how she is. But I know that I won’t go, so I write back how very much I’d like, no, absolutely love to go, and the reason for not.

That precious perfectly perfect reason was born this last Saturday night, May 28th, around 10 p.m. just shy of her mommy’s birthday- my Bean, of course- on Sunday, May 29th.

“Cheese”

These two people in a photo from many years ago now, are the proud and exhausted parents of Edie. Edith Quinn, that is, intended to be called Edie, the newest “It” girl in town. Edith, a harsh unforgiving name, to my ears at least, is balanced so nicely by the succinct “Quinn.” Named for a number of characters in recent films and such, including Despicable Me, Downton Abbey and Crimson Peak. Now I must rewatch Grey Gardens again. Bean and Shane shared a short list of name possibilities months ago and intended for the name to be announced at her birth, but …

We were out late ordering breakfast at an ungodly hour after a trek to Grapeview, WA for my Dad’s brother’s 50th wedding anniversary. Tired, Bean calls Button by her actual name in mentioning the crib construction to Shane. He gives her a look and I pretend I didn’t hear anything, trying to determine if this is her way of telling me early. She says the name again and Shane’s face tells me this wasn’t intended. It takes her a moment to clue in, but when she does, she admonishes her brain on baby repeatedly, not believing she’s slipped. We kept right on calling her Button though, and still do!

Bean’s birth experience, the overview:

1 Hours go by, contractions occur, dilation proceeds and Bean barely talks, breathing, breathing, breathing, tense and rigid focusing on the ceiling.

2 Reaches magical dilation number and receives epidural. Continually wonders aloud how women manage a birth without an epidural having had a taste of the pain.

3 Births her daughter and then proceeds to brag like a warrior queen about how well she did. And she did! Did it quite fast when it came time to push and that epidural didn’t seem to be doing much considering the noises she made (though I’m sure it staved off a whole heap’s worth of more pain). Her incentive was to keep their birthdays separate.

In new daddyhood, Shane only left the hospital room to grab the occasional cuppa tea. He remains in awe of the female body to power through all it does in producing a most lovely munchkin. A lightweight when it comes to blood or maybe just grisly situations- he left the movie theatre and puked when we saw the arm cutting scene in 127 Hours– he relayed the story of cutting the umbilical cord and watching the entire birthing process rather than just standing up near Bean’s side as planned originally.

A birthing room favorite- just in case anyone’s clueless about why everyone’s there, the sound of the baby’s heartbeat is broadcast prominently from a monitoring machine, chugging away in a white noise of underwater warbliness.

Felt it flood in and expand filling with a sense of warmth, culminating in incredulous wonder.

I’ve been concerned as of late wondering when love would take up residence in my heart for the new little life on the way. I was surprised to find that it had not, having expected that it’d be that “just built-in love” with family that I’ve always known. When not built in, I always feel care build whether gradually or quickly, and boom!- one day I wake up and I love another person. It’s just there, and took only my recognizing it for it to be so. As I held Edie this past weekend though, I actually felt love grow. In the moment! Felt it flood in and expand filling with a sense of warmth, culminating in incredulous wonder.

Button has gobs of dark hair much like Bean did as a baby, and is in fact, much cuter than any old button. I like to give voice to her little baby movements- a twitch here, a small flail there- like the folks from Mystery Science Theater 3000 with a running commentary, but making Bean laugh is a no-no at present as she’s on the mend and laughing hurts. Hurts! So not fair, how can I control myself … I’ve had some wonderments, like why the heck don’t see-thru diapers exist? It’s been a number of years since I’ve had diaper duty, and a helpful little plastic window placed just so as to ascertain whether a deposit’s been made seems doable. (If a diaper is the lone wardrobe selection for some munchkins, please purchase the windowless kind.)

““Mister”

Lastly, in arriving here from there, a reminder of Grandpa found its way to the hospital room in the form of a rubber pillow meant for spacing the legs. The staff call it a Minion, but no sir, that, is a peanut. ♦

“Gobs”
She’s not yellow like a Simpson, just super glowy lighting

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Fried Gold

“Thwhack

“Thwhack

“Thwhack

“Thwhack

One must be prepared in all things when growing their family, so thought I’d help Shane out in protecting the home front with a gift this past Christmas. Found these gorgeous cricket bats etched with the plan from Shaun of the Dead. The designer acquired a number of them from the UK ranging in age anywhere between the 1930s to the 1970s. It arrived wrapped in burlap and smelled so ding-dang good. ♦

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