Dear Friends (including those I have yet to actually meet in any fashion):
I’ve missed you, and I’ve missed coming here to commune with you, and to tell you what I’ve been thinking about and what the [current] “haps” is with our family. And yet, in the last couple of months, I’ve barely had a moment to spare to even consider what I might say when I did have the chance… Why? Well, let’s just say I have been one hyper-employed little bee, to begin with.
At any rate, as I began to see the proverbial light at the end of that metaphorical tunnel, I got to wondering — just what would I say when I did… I was anxious to do so, elated even — if a tad nervous — but I just couldn’t figure out how I would get started.
Then I realized, of course, that any place would likely do, so long as I was being me. In the end, I decided that the best place to start was just to tell you a teeny bit about what the heck has been going on around here (including the story of “the absent blogger”) in the last several weeks.
So, in no particular order… here’s the List of What’s Been Up:
1) We tapped our city-owned boulevard trees this early Spring. They are Norway Maples (not Sugar Maples, as one might normally tap), but the syrup is absolutely wonderful. We got started a little late in what turned out to be an extremely short tap-season in Missoula, but we got almost a quart of syrup from the four trees we tapped. Mind you, that is the result of gallons and gallons of collected sap boiled down over hours and hours. I was fairly amazed by the rushing rivers flowing up and down those trees everyday during the big flow. There were days when Natalie emptied our half-gallon collectors three times. I have also been delightfully impressed with the sweet results! Another delicious perennial food item to add to our little yard’s repertoire.
2) Due in large part to a warmer and longer than average version of the annual Sucker-Spring that Missoula gets, our garden is up and booming already. And although I hadn’t had the time to do much with it until last week, I got out there for at least a portion of every day, and the majority of some. The result is we are already waaay ahead of our normal gardening schedule, and we have yet another year under the belt of our sweet yard’s development (perennials have returned larger and more abundant than ever, strawberries continue to proliferate, apple trees are more robust, etc.), so it looks absolutely gorgeous out there. And even though this week has been (and likely next week will be) too chilly and drizzly to enjoy much gardening, this year I am resting easy, knowing we got the full enjoyment and use out of that early “unseasonably warm” period that comes and goes every April. And any second now, peas and beans are going to be erupting from the earth!
3) Speaking of good uses of warm weather… Xi and Echo wasted no time in getting the proper McTague family rites of Summer going during Sucker-Spring. On the very first day that was even marginally warm enough, and even though they were rather depressed about it (as you can tell from their heavy expressions), they jumped out there with the McTague Sisters’ Famous Lemonade Stand and opened for business.They have a fairly novel business model, as you may have noticed from the sign above. I’m not sure exactly how it got started, but at one point, Bella (the senior lemonade exec.) announced that they would give away the lemonade and let people donate whatever they wanted (if they wanted) for the free drink. Aside from helping them avoid any run-ins with the so-called Health Department, their not-for-profit operation has been ridiculously successful. This past Winter, the girls bought themselves a new American Girl doll with some of their proceeds. This inaugural lemonade stand of the season was, for the first time ever, done without the senior lemonade exec. on hand. It was a big step, but the younger McTague Sisters decided they could take one for the team, and handle the first run on their own. I told them to stop growing.
4) During the last several months I have worked diligently, and at times relentlessly, to produce, direct, and (perhaps absurdly) perform in a production of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Just being in a production of this play has been an aspiration of mine for no less than 9 years. But when it came time, and I saw clearly that the only way I was going to be able to do it the way I wanted (if at all in the foreseeable future) was to take the reins myself, I decided (almost without thought of the implications) to grab hold of the whole horse — and away I rode… We had a two week run, of truly beautiful shows, both hilarious and heart-rending, as the culmination of 100′s of hours of contemplation, toil, and practice. And even in the moment I knew it was all going by too fast for my preference. Until those last few days… by then I was ineffably high on the success of our efforts, utterly depressed by the turn out (or lack thereof), and totally ready to do something completely different! Only now, two weeks later, do I find myself really missing the friendships I’d formed with those characters (including my own), and the process of our making them palpable to an audience. If you click on the stage-photo above, you can read an article in Missoula’s weekly paper, the Independent, about the production.
5) Echo is steadily closing in on being 5. In just ten blindingly short days, our baby will be a full-fledged adult-kid. Not just a “toddler”, or a “little kid”, nope, not even just a plain old regular “kid” any more, really. She’s so far ahead of the game in some ways that she’s technically a late teen, but even in the most ordinary ways, this little girl is BIG. And getting even more ready for the next amazing adventure in her life.
6) Don’t tell our kids, but Natalie and I finished watching the Harry Potter series a week ago. What a harrowing tale! And what a wonderful and too alluring world J.K. Rowling created for all of us to enjoy for so many years to come. It’s like the Tolkien Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series of our children’s time. And for me and mine, it is especially endearing because we all believe so thoroughly in magic that the stories take on an almost archetypal quality. I am reading them all to the older girls — we are on book 5 — and Echo is still memorizing the audio-story version of book 1 that she keeps rechecking from the library (she has listened to it upwards of 50 times). So at present, even though Natalie and I know how it turns out, we are all feeling Potter-pated to keep reading more.
7) Natalie and I have decided to release the written material from our parenting workshop Parenting on the Same Team, in book form! We plan to launch that next year, and we’ll keep you fully informed as to the details of it’s release. In the meantime, we are going to be offering not only a new version of that same workshop, but we’ll also be offering some continuing workshops for those of you who have already joined us for the 6 weeks of Parenting on the Same Team. The workshop, as well as the book when it comes out, is ideal for parents, grandparents, and care-givers of all sorts, and provides a basic understanding of the processes of “working with” children to achieve mutually satisfying cooperation (rather than “doing to” children to try and force their compliance). Click here to see more details on the next workshop offering, and to sign up!
Well, that’s (almost) all the news from here for now… Sure am glad for all that has been going on, and glad to see and share what comes next!