Here are two small watercolors that I completed this week.
It was the week of the practice bus ride for incoming kindergartners---and a most beautiful and joyous bus ride it was. The driver had the bearing of an ex-military man. He congratulated the kids on getting big enough to ride the bus and told them the rules. The drive itself was a fifteen minute loop on a beautiful back road that we've never seen before. Out the window, all was lush and blooming. I was pleased to find that the bus was as I remembered them to be from my youth---with the screws visible in the ceiling and the the khaki-coloring seats, repaired with fabric tape. Louisa and Pippa were radiantly happy, as you can see in the picture. Having spent their lives traveling buckled into carseats, a humpty-bumpty ride on a school bus was an adventure and a welcome taste of freedom.
It was a good week for hospitality. Thursday evening we hosted two young friends that we met through church, and Friday we had our friend Patty over for the first time in over half a year. Lately, we've fallen out of the habit of hospitality. For us, it is really best if we host regularly. First and foremost, it helps us to get out of ourselves. Another benefit, is that it helps us get the house straightened out. Finally, when we fall out of the habit of hosting, we become rather anxious about it. I try to remember that hospitality is ultimately about sharing what you have---not about achieving heretofore unachieved heights of cleanliness and culinary excellence. Really, it's best when we serve soup and let things be casual.
Our young friends are UConn undergraduates in the pre-med program--"pre-doctors," we call them. It's a delight to talk to them. They are more level-headed than we were at that age. Patty is our neighbor from when we first arrived in Connecticut and lived in a rental house. She used to have dinner with us once a week, reading and talking with the girls while I got dinner ready. We've benefitted from her age and perspective --her forthright approach to living--not to mention that she's helped us find many of the workmen who have helped up keep our house liveable. She's a bit of an adopted grandmother. During this last visit, she brought a bunch of treasure to share with the girls---tins of vintage holiday magnets, feather necklaces from a Native American organization, and a real silk cocoon complete with a dead silk worm rattling inside.
One of the girls' favorite standby activities is "playing jinx" or doing "jinx class." As far as I can tell, it involves Louisa making elaborate rules that Maria often resists. Then they put on costumes and jump around shouting "jinx." This was Louisa's jinx costume today:
The girls also played museum this week. Maria made something like a paper doll, stood it up on a block and labeled it "stachyoo" (statue). The museum also had a starfish and a stingray and about a thousand little paper clippings. The Louisa is rather fond of turning sheets of paper into small bits of paper at the moment. Neither she nor Maria could tell me what the paper clippings represented, or why they were in the museum. They are so very prepared for the world of modern art.
Pippa has been resisting bedtime these days. Most nights, we gets storms and tears, and hear the back and forth of little feet long after she has been officially "put down" for the night. When we go up to put her back in bed, she makes of pretense of going to the potty and then asks us to rub her belly for the nth time. The late bedtime makes her a regular grizzly bear in the morning.
Maria lost one of her front teeth on Friday. It's good to have that tooth out; it was been sitting awry for a few weeks. At our house, the tooth fairy is a rather unreliable character, who sometimes shows up a day or two late. She did not show up the night Maria lost the tooth, and since then the tooth has been misplaced. The fairy will probably come tonight, providing some kind of nursery magic by way of reparation. She'll probably give some excuse about being blown off course by all the wind we've had, or that her cricket-pulled coach got mired in the mud, or maybe she got herself caught in a mouse trap yet again. We shall see.